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Horegallu, a very simple and sweet yet meaningful and thought provoking anecdote that begins with a stone bench and ends with a great moral.
A Break from Life’s Cycle
There was a large banyan tree in the author’s village where she spent many hours playing. It provided great shade and many travelers would rest under it. There was a ‘horegallu’ under the tree. Horegallu literally translates to ‘a stone that can bear weight.’ It was a huge flat stone that was set horizontally on top of two vertical stones. People could satisfy their thirst by drinking from earthen pots beside the bench before continuing their travels.
The author’s grandfather, a retired school teacher would sit under it talking to those resting there. The majority of them were villagers enjoying a break from work in the neighbouring fields. Their topic of discussion would be their daily lives and concerns. Grandfather could only listen, yet simply talking to him seemed to re-energize them for the road ahead. They would eventually pick up their burdens with ease and continue on their path.
He explained to her that in any journey, a horegallu is vital. Everyone bears their burdens in accordance with their circumstances and abilities. But every now and then, they need to take a break, lay down their burdens, and rest. Only then will they be able to resume to their responsibilities. Everyone has the opportunity to do so thanks to the horegallu. It aids in the recovery of people’s strength.
Later in life the author came across Ratna, her colleague who reminded her of her grandfather. Ratna too, would in every lunch break sit with someone and chat openly, she would mostly listen to their problems, not to always solve them but just be there to provide some warmth and support, lend an ear. She considered sharing their conversations a sin, as they trusted her with their secrets and she would never betray them.
Everyone carries their burdens to the best of their ability and circumstances. They do, however, need to take a break now and again to lay down their burdens and unwind. Both of these individuals were doing immense social service in their own little ways. No one thought to thank them or reward them for their efforts, but they continued to do so since these acts of compassion brought them joy.