Bushra and the Rice Tree

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Bushra and the Rice Tree

Rumi, a 13th-century Persian Spiritual teacher, was asked: What is Spirituality?
Where God wants Us to Be
A Different Sort of Birthday!

Dadi had been observing that Bushra was growing up to be a very short-tempered young woman. Moreover, she would take out her anger on someone else, who was not at fault!

One day, while coming home from school, a student raced before Bushra into the school bus and took her favorite window seat. That made her very angry.  On reaching home, Bushra grumbled at Mummy for cooking vegetables that were not her favorite!

“Bushra! Stop grumbling!  I am not going to make potatoes everyday!  You have to eat other vegetables to be healthy.”  Mummy told her sternly.

That made Bushra angrier. She just glared at the cabbage and peas on her plate.

Hope you are not like Bushra!

Dadi was very pious. She passionately believed in the Quran.  So, she was very worried about Bushra’s short temper.  After all, in the Quran, God has told us to control our anger.

While Dadi was praying for ways to help Bushra learn to manage her anger, coronavirus attacked the whole world!  There was a lockdown!  It was (and perhaps still is for many people) a difficult time.  During the lockdown, Bushra had lot of time on hand.  She started spending more and more time with Dadi.

One day, Dadi  told Bushra a rice fable:

“Long long ago, the rice used to be quite different from what it is today.  Each grain of rice would be as big as a sweet potato and grow on trees!  Naturally, then, three or four grains of rice were enough to make a meal for a person.  Moreover, farmers did not have to work hard at the time of harvest.  When the rice was ripe, it would fall off the branch and the farmers gathered them in sacks.

“One year, a farmer had quarreled with his wife and was sitting under a rice tree.  At that very time, the rice was ripe in the tree and began to fall off the branches.  As the huge grains fell on the farmer’s head, he lost control of his temper.  He yelled and shouted at the grains!  The grains were hurt. Each grain split into many small grains.  And the farmers across the globe heard the vow of the rice: ‘From this day onwards, we will not grow on trees.  You will have to sow us, remove our stalks, replant us and then when we are ripe, you will have to thresh us out! You will have to do a lot of hard work.’ And the rice has kept its vow to this day.”

Dadi ended the story and asked, “What do you think is the moral of the story, Bushra?”

Bushra kept quiet for a while.  Then she said, “The moral of the story is:  Control your temper.”

Dadi smiled.  She kissed her granddaughter’s head, knowing that henceforth she would try to keep her anger in check.

And Bushra began to just that. As a result, what a different, and much more pleasant, girl she became!

Shahin Ashraf Ali is an author of children’s books and freelance journalist.