His Sense Of Fair-Play

It was D-day – the boy had a test to give for earning a scholarship.

The grandma did what most grandma’s do – she taught him a simple Hayagreeva stotram (a mantra in praise of and seeking blessings from god of learning). It was sure to help him ace the test.

The boy quickly learnt the stotram.  To grandma’s delight he could recite the Sanskrit stotram with great spashtam (fidelity).

It was time for them to leave for the school-bus.

As he boarded the bus, she reminded him to recite the stotram without fail just before taking the test.

The boy was in good spirits when he returned from the school in the afternoon. The family mobbed him immediately to know how he fared in the test.

The boy confirmed what was already evident – he had done quite well, he thought. Much better than he had expected.

Amidst the excitement all around, ‘I knew all along,’ beamed the grandma. ‘It had to be so and nothing else with the blessings of Hayagreeva.’

‘But, Paatti (grandma)…’


‘Am sorry…I did not recite the stotram.’

‘What? You didn’t? You forgot the lines?’



‘Wouldn’t be fair for me to benefit from the stotram. None of my friends has learnt it.’

Paatti’s explanations, arguments and theories that followed till-date have not won him over unreservedly.




PS: Based on a real-life story. The youngster is growing up in UK away from the traditional Hindu eco-system (though the household is) and its influence and edicts.


12 thoughts on “His Sense Of Fair-Play

  1. I love this story! And you know, I have this feeling I could dig out a story like this from my own Catholic background. I think this sens of fair play runs deep not only possibly in the human psyche but in many other species. The study of primates suggests that it is not unique to us. Sort of encouraging. We’re not born 100% self-seeking self-aggrandizers. Maybe love and fair play comes more naturally that we give it credit for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your observation that this is not unique to us is v interesting. Though I’ve seen no of images of unlikely friendship between diff species in animal kingdom I’ve not seen the same so far thru the lens of fair-play, a necessary element of any relationship. Thanks.


      1. Raghu, did you really mean to say you’ve seen no images of unlikely friendship between different species in the animal kingdom? I have seen so many personally and heard about so many more – that I am wondering if this is what you meant. I have even seen myself examples of fair play between animals. It has had a significant effect on my view of what life really is in the larger context.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No, that’s not what I meant. Yes, I’ve seen many cute images of friendship between animals. I had not seen or imagined fair-play as a part of this relationship which must be.



    2. Often your observations are truly advaitic- a philosophy that emphasizes universality of life. It kind of shakes up human-centered thinking at unexpected times!! And why not?.


      1. Your suggestion that my thinking is often advaitic surprised me. But on reflection, I see your point. I do see our individual consciousness as a small part of a whole which is beyond our comprehension. I don’t like to give that whole a name – like God or Brahmin or whatever because for me it tends to reduce it to a human conceptm and so to let go of the mystery at the center of it all is to miss the essence.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting story and even more interesting discussions. But moving away from things like over-my-head Advaita, let me take up the ecosystem.
    What is this eco-system that makes children retain their basic nature in West? Is the System orientation in UK (West in general) which enforces adherence to law and societal responsibilities the key as opposed to our reliance on mythologies, which also justifies the killing of Vali and excuses some of Krishna’s actions in favour of Pandavas (Dharma)?
    The same kid in the west who will not copy in class may take a dive in a soccer match later for securing a penalty. Why?

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  3. I too wonder. And the west is turning away from its religion – if it can be called.

    And so what works? May be the elders, the social norms…and it seems to come easily. May be we abdicate from good parenteng leaving it to mythology?

    Though the impressions created by the media on the whole is negative, the society is deviant, etc. etc. In my visit earlier this year, I saw politeness, grace, sensitivity in many interactions that I feared I would fail miserably by their standards. Frankly it leaves me confused on what’s real.


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