Thursday, 23 July 2015

Two Hands and Twenty-Four Hours

There was once a herdsman, who traded in goat’s cheese. He took it to a village where the people couldn’t get enough of the delicacy. Every evening, the horde of customers, in front of his shop, was so large that it was impossible to keep up with the demand. Even though he left with a bulging bag of coins as he returned home, he wasn’t a happy man. He was saddened because many customers left unserved, after waiting for hours for just one ounce of cheese. Hard as he tried, he couldn’t make enough of it and on the days that he had a good showing, nightfall still caught him struggling to satisfy the impatient villagers.

The situation was so frustrating that, one day, he decided to seek help. He went to the temple and prayed for two sweat-pouring hours before a medium appeared to him. “Mortal, what do you seek?” she asked. Straight to the point, he replied, “O benevolent one, I wish you could give me more hands so that I can quickly milk the goats, cut the cheese, wrap it in leaves and sell to customers.” The medium, who felt that his request was vague asked, “You mean like the octopus?” Excitedly he replied, “Yes”. The next morning, when he awoke, he had grown three more pairs of hands. He went to the pen and, like lightning, he was milking, boiling, stirring and wrapping at the same time. By noon, his baskets were full and he opened the doors to serve the eager buyers. But, he was met with screams and fainting spells of frenzied villagers. “There’s a monster in the cheese-shop!” they cried, and none ventured near for another week.


Sahara is the largest desert in the world. If a chopper were to drop you in the middle of this desert, all around you, as far as the eye can see, will be miles and miles of nothing but rolling sand. The only other companions you’d find are the hot unforgiving sun, above your head, and the whistling dry winds, blowing dust into your nose and sand into your eyes. But from the Beginning, it was not so. Sahara was once a green belt full of trees and shrubs, and nectar-seeking butterflies and bees. There were prancing goats across its plains and calving cows in its valleys. Many civilizations rose and fell in the expanse that is now forgotten by everyone and forsaken by all. 

In one word, what happened to the Sahara is change. As the unfortunate wind of change blew away the rain-bearing clouds, Sahara’s destiny never remained the same again.