The Sunday Story

It is Important to Learn

The kitchen tap was leaking so John called a plumber to fix it. John was watching him work.
He took out a wrench (spanner) from his bag – it was broken. John quietly watched how he would work with this broken wrench. He separated the tap from the pipe. The part of the pipe that was rotten needed to be cut off. He again put his hand in the bag and took out a thin saw. The saw was also half broken.
John sighed, thinking to himself, ‘What kind of plumber have I called for repairs! If he does not have proper tools, how will he get any work done?!’
But he was very proficient in his work, and held the saw skillfully in his hand, slowly running it over the pipe.
He continued for a few minutes, and the pipe was cut into two. He removed the rotten portion and attached the tap to the remaining pipe.
It took him a total of ten minutes to complete this work. As John handed him a hundred rupee note, he said, “No Sir, you don’t owe me so much. Just give me half of this.”
John was very surprised at his words and asked him, “Who let’s go of money like this?” But his reply stunned me and made him realize certain truths of life.
He said, “Sir, there is a fixed rate for every piece of work. Today if you pay me a little more, I will be happy on receiving it. But I will not get the same rate everywhere, and then it will be a problem for me. There is a fixed rate for every task, so please only pay as much as this task is worth.”
John replied gently, “Buy a new saw and wrench. It will become easier for you.”
The plumber laughed at this. “Oh no Sir, tools are bound to break while working. But this does not hamper the work, they still do their work.”
“But wouldn’t it be easier to work with a proper, intact saw and wrench?” he asked with surprise.
“Probably, yes. But sir, when you work in your office, how does it matter which pen you use? It is more important that you know how to write.
If you know how to write, you will be able to write with any pen. And if you don’t, then you would not be able to write with even the best pen in the world. The skill is in the hands, not in the machine. It’s a mere tool, nothing else.
These for me, are same as a pen for you. They are a little broken but are coming in handy. If I buy new ones, again the same portion will wear off. When this portion breaks off, there is nothing else left to wear off in these. Now they are working smoothly.
John listened to him silently. The sense of satisfaction that was visible on this hard-working daily worker’s face, was truly surprising. He used to think that we run after money our whole life; but when we have the tools of hard-work and honesty, we don’t really need a lot of money.
We need to learn from so many people – and not just the ones who teach in schools or colleges. You may meet them at anytime, anywhere in the journey of life. You just need to recognize them and learn from them. Bow down and respect their thinking.
John did not say anything else, but just asked him if he would have tea. He said, “No Sir, there is a lot of work pending. A lot of leaking taps need repairing. Sir we all have to take care that water is not wasted.”
He left, and John was left thinking for a long time. He wished; we were all plumbers like this!
How we use our resources defines our character. Our resources are our internal faculties like mind, intelligence, ego, then time and external resources like money, power etc. We should use them in a better way for the right purpose.
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