Thursday, April 07, 2011

Akbar Birbal - Finding The Right Balance

Once it happened that Birbal and Akbar exchanged some hot words and Birbal took off in anger.

After a few days the Emperor cooled down and realized that he had treated Birbal unjustly. Also he was missing Birbal's scintillating wit and his intelligence in solving the daily issues in the court.

But even though the emperor was ready to call Birbal back the problem was that Birbal had left no forwarding address. He had simply disappeared. Also, Akbar didn't want to have to apologize to Birbal even though he wanted him back.

Having lived in Birbal's company for so long, the Emperor had also gained some craftiness. He devised a plan that would find Birbal without having to make an announcement that would give away Akbar's eagerness to have Birbal back.

Soon, all the district Sarpanch's in the kingdom received a goat from the Emperor. With the goat was a message - the goat was the property of Emperor Akbar and was being entrusted to the district for safekeeping for a month. The goat must be well taken care of and returned at the end of the month. The most important thing was that the goat must not gain any weight during the month nor should it lose any weight.

Sarpanch after sarpanch watched as the messengers from the Royal Court weighed a got in front of him and told him that it should be the same weight 30 days later, within a reasonable limit.

And once the messengers were gone, the Sarpanch invariably scratched his head. The message from the Royal Court was as baffling as it was clear. The whole thing sounded like a riddle.

Even though a huge crowd collected on each site to watch the sight of a goat being put in a balance, no citizen had any ideas to keep the goat's weight constant.

I am sure some smartasses would have suggested sending it to a slimming clinic had such been invented back then.

Some villages tried smart methods like feeding the goat for fifteen days and then not feeding at all for the remaining fortnight and other variations. Invariably the goat either died or lost weight. In some cases the goat actually gained weight.

On the 30th day, there was only one goat that weight almost exactly the same as a month ago. The Emperor was extremely interested in that goat. He found out which district the goat had been sent to and went there immediately.

On questioning from the Supreme Ruler himself, the Sarpanch gave up the secret - "Sire, we fed the goat very well, as the rations were kindly provided by the Zille-ilahi, but after a day's feeding the goat was then taken away and tied in front of the tiger's cage for the night."

Akbar smiled at the clever solution. Fear of the tiger would counteract all the goat's feeding without starving it. It was ingenious! Then the Emperor asked the million-dollar question - "Who told you this solution?"

The Sarpanch gave the name of the wise villager who had saved the Sarpanch from going crazy with the insoluble puzzle and in a short amount of time Birbal was standing in front of Akbar accepting Akbar's weak apologies with a tolerant smile.

Moral of the story: A full stomach does not equal happiness if the heart is not free of fear. 


Always Happy said...

I like it!

p00ja said...

Nice...Ive alws loved Akbar-Birbal, but then in humans we even put on weight in depressions. Why so?

Sunil Goswami said...

@AH, thank you. :)

@Pooja, Thanks. I am not a dietician but I think that would have to do something with the eating habits and what you eat. For example, if you eat a lot of ice-cream when you are depressed, there's no wonder if you end up gaining weight. :)

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