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What do You Want to be?
November, 2008

A friend, who has attended a couple of those "Good Living" seminars, asked a question all of a sudden. "Samty, what do you want to be? Rather, what do you think you are - a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

I was dumbfounded for a couple of seconds at the question thrown abruptly at me and did not know what she was hinting at or wanted to say. After a brief pause, I replied hesitantly, "an egg".

This is how she analyzed my answer - Carrot is strong and hard. However, when you boil it, it softens and becomes weak. The egg is fragile. It has a thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior. But when you put it in boiling water, it hardens from inside. The ground coffee beans are unique. When put in the boiling water, they change the color. Now, what are you? How do you respond to pain and adverse situation determines what you are. Are you the carrot that seems strong but wilts under adverse situation? Are you the egg that hardens and becomes bitter and tough when it undergoes hardships? Are you the coffee bean that changes the very circumstances that have caused it pain and undergoes a transformation when things are at their worst?

I'm certain this analysis must have appeared in several books and sites and would have been covered in several of such seminars but it was the first time I heard it. I quite enthusiastically agreed with her analysis of the human character. However, later when I reflected upon it, I realized I was not in complete agreement. It is not possible being a coffee bean in all situations. Sometimes you have to be the carrot relenting to the situation, sometimes you are the egg that becomes tough with hardships and sometimes you're the coffee bean that fights to change the adverse situation.

Recently, I read a book by Teri Thatcher - "Burnt Toast". She is the actress who appears in the much acclaimed television serial "Desperate Housewives". She feels most women are like burnt toast. If a piece of toast is burned, they'll eat it themselves and leave the slices for others. That's true to an extent. I have myself been in the same boat so often. Our society is full of such burnt toasts. But then, it has its own share of cheesecakes. Some women would jump to grab the largest piece of cheesecake without any concern for others sitting at the table.

Please don't be a cheesecake and don't be a burnt toast either. Both are extremes!

Try to be a glass of juice instead. It takes the shape of the tumbler it is poured into. Be flexible. Don't give up what is rightfully yours but in the process, don't try to snatch away from someone. (I'm talking about both living and non-living, girl!)

Be emotional to others' feelings; understand their pain. When you love someone, love with all your heart; and if you find yourself longing for someone (something) who (that) doesn't belong to you, restrict yourself. If you go too far, you may end up hurting someone; and most importantly, you may hurt yourself. Pause and think about the pain you'll go through when put in the same situation; for when you learn to understand other people's pain, it is then you become a better person. By all means be selfish; but not at the expense of other people's happiness, not to the extent that there is someone out there cussing you all the time. Always protect your rights but do not snatch away someone's unfairly.

Be a good person my child! This is all I ask of you. Now what do you want to be?

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