Yayati was a powerful and handsome king of the ancient times. On being cursed with premature old-age by a sage, Yayati loses all that his youth had been giving him – pleasure, fame and riches. He approaches his dutiful son Puru to exchange his youth for his old-age, to which the boy readily agrees. Thus Yayati indulges in excessive passion for over a thousand years. Eventually Yayati realises the fruitlessness of lustful excesses and returns his youth to his son and renounces worldly pleasures and turns into an ascetic. This story from mythology is a beautiful depiction of the futility of youth if not constructively used.
As I was awaiting to enter the airport the other day, I saw two burly security guards checking our passports to let us in. Ahead of me was an elderly lady, perhaps coming to the airport for the first time. The guard asked her in as rude a manner as possible in a language she was not familiar with, to display her identity. The lady smiled at them and asked in her rustic language where she could find her flight. The guard simply shouted at her for her ‘ignorance’. The smile vanished from the lady’s face as she fumbled hurriedly for her passport in her bag as the man continued to press her to be quick. She did manage to show her passport and enter the airport perhaps more overwhelmed by the sophistication in an airport than was needed, especially at her age. The scene is imprinted in my mind. Here was a wonderful opportunity for the man to be simply nice to a lady perhaps old enough to be his grandmother. All he required was a little patience and a smile. He chose simply to do just his ‘job’ instead.