O.K., this is not exactly a fairy tale, but it’s a story with a moral.
Rajeev was tired. Of working for 16 hours on weekdays and the so called enjoyment on weekends. The work pressure on weekdays was intense and his deadlines were always tight. He hardly had time for anyone at home, and on most days, he didn’t have time to even speak to his wife or daughter.
The only unwinding he did was to listen to music on his way back home, and see the loud debates on news channels once he reached home. Home seemed to have become a destination to relax for a short while so that he could start working harder, the next day.
Weekends, supposed to be fun, was another tragedy. He wanted to live the life that he lost over five days, on Saturday & Sunday. Saturday mornings and afternoons were spent either completing the remaining office work or sleeping over-time. Sunday mornings and afternoons were spent similarly, but he also had to deal with hang-over.
That left only two evenings and two nights to live his life to the fullest. And live he did by drinking alcohol adamantly, with a vengeance. Often, he continued drinking for many hours at a stretch. That liquid was magical – it had the capacity to pack so much fun within a short duration, especially when combined with loud music and uncontrolled dancing.
He was already getting a fat paycheck, but was not satisfied. He wanted a bigger house, a bigger car, and yes – a costlier cell phone. His only professional goal was to make more money, every month, which he was sure was the way to achieve happiness.
Sneha was tired. Rajeev was no longer the man whom she fell in love with, many years back. He was now married, first to his work and then to his alcohol. Whatever meager time was left, he devoted to the family. Sometimes she wondered whether he was even aware of her presence, except on those two nights during the weekends, that too when he was fully drunk.
He did not attend her phone calls on weekdays and even if he did, he didn’t speak to her for more than 30 seconds. Even when he was coming back home in his car. Even while being glued to the news channels on TV. Whenever she tried to start a conversation, he either ignored her or replied rudely. She tried switching off the TV and forcing him to talk, but that didn’t work – it only ended with a quarrel over some silly issue and both of them argued until they lost their (respective) peace of mind.
At last, she found solace in make-up and shopping. Ah, those two activities were such fun. At least that’s how it started. With time, however, she had to constantly increase her expenditure and spend more time on them, in order to derive the same fun. Her craving only kept increasing with her spending, and this became yet another reason for conflict between them. But she was sure that lack of sufficient money was the problem and more shopping was the solution.
Arpita loved the carrot halwa. She always pestered her parents Rajeev and Sneha to make it on every special occasion. Then, she started pestering them to make it on every weekend. Tired of this, her parents decided to put and end to her craving.
They made a lot of carrot halwa on her birthday and allowed her to eat as much as she wanted. They encouraged her to eat some more. They prodded her to eat even more. At last they forced her to eat more. This continued until Arpita threw the cup with carrot halwa, out of the window.
“Do you understand now Arpita?” her father asked, “Too much of anything will never give you happiness. It may even result in you losing your interest in it or even hating it, like what happened just now.”
Arpita was too young to understand philosophy, but Rajeev wondered if this advice was more applicable to Sneha and her shopping. Sneha, in turn, wondered if this advice was more applicable to Rajeev and his alcohol.
They were themselves leading perfect lives, of course.