Freedom to Grow

Bholu the Baby Bear - Part 1

Once upon a time there lived Bholu, a happy bear.

But nowadays he was not so happy, as whenever he met
different animals, he wanted to be "like" them, be able to do things that they
were able to do. Once he called himself Bholu the rabbit and tried running and
burrowing. He couldn't and this made him sad. The other day he called himself
Bholu the fox, tried to sing like one but couldn't and this made him sad. And
this went on ... till all this trying made Bholu very tired and unhappy.
Fortunately papa and mama bear came to his rescue, assured him that he doesn't
need to be *like anybody* and he can just be BHOLU. Armed with this new
assurance, Bholu went around the forest telling all his friends that he is Bholu
the Bholu.

Bholu the Baby Bear - Part 2

But unfortunately the story does not end here. As Bholu started to grow further,
his parents often told him things which Bholu could not really understand. They
told him, at different times, that he should be well behaved or he should be
intelligent or be smart or he should be bold and he should do well in studies,
in competitions and he should perform well in his singing class and so on. They,
at times, even pointed out to others and said he should be as confident as
so-and-so and as friendly as so-and-so.

Not only his parents, but many other animals in the forest also told him similar
things. Giraffe aunty told him to walk erect, Deer uncle told him to be more
attentive and so on. Then came these advertisers into the jungle who put up big
hoardings which told Bholu that only if he uses a particular brand of honey, he
is likable; that only if he hangs around with a certain kind of animals, he can
be successful; only if he wears a certain kind of clothes can he be respectful -
a complete bear!

Bholu was again sad. All this meant he should not he Bholu the Bholu, but Bholu
the something. Also, every time he did something, he would look around and see if
others were watching him, and if they approved of him.

As Bholu grew further, he started becoming Bholu the *somebody*. He started
adding words and definitions to this *somebody*. Now he was (or wanted to be)
Bholu the smart, intelligent, disciplined, well dressed, caring, loving,
friendly .. (and many more) ... somebody.

This at times made him happy - when he was able to be that somebody. However,
most of the times it only created a tension and made him unhappy. When somebody
said something to him that did not confirm to this image he had made for
himself, it made him upset. He also became angry, irritable and he started
defending or worse fighting. He made friends only with people who added to this
image of his. He shunned and even looked down at people who did not add up to
this image.

Just like that, today, Cholu the Chimp remarked, "Bholu you are such a fool - look what you have done."
 This made Bholu very upset ("How dare he call me a fool?") and he
started shouting at Cholu. Fortunately wise old Uncle Bade was watching this.

In the evening, Uncle Bade called Bholu to his bed side and asked, "Bholu, who
are you"?
"Well, uncle, I am a bear - just like you?", Bholu replied.
"And....", Uncle Bade encouraged Bholu to elaborate.
"I am a smart, intelligent, disciplined, Bear"
"And....", Uncle Bade encouraged him further.
"And I am well dressed, caring, loving, friendly ......"
"OK, this is fine." Uncle Bade paused Bholu. "Now tell me, right now you are not
well dressed, are you?"
"No".
"So, right now, who are you, "
"I am Bholu", came a confused reply.
"Also right now you are not sounding too intelligent. So, who are you?"
"I don't know", said a lost Bholu
"Let me explain", assured Uncle Bade, "To me you are only Bholu the Bholu".
"Bholu who is at times friendly and at times not, who is at times well dressed
and at times not, who is at times well behaved and at times not. Who would
remain Bholu even if he does something foolish, like you did with Cholu today
morning."
"Which means I am not all these things"?
"No, to me the only image of Bholu that I have is your face. Other than that
there is no image. There are no labels that I have put on Bholu."
"But, aren't I supposed to be smart and bold."
"Yes, your actions can be smart, or sometimes your behavior need not be. But
that does not make you more or less.
"So what happens when I am not bold and I feel bad?
"What happens when you scoop honey out of a comb and do not find it tasty?
"I try another tree."
"Does that make all honey bad?"
"No"
"Similarly when your actions are not bold or intelligent or friendly or so on 
(and others point it out to you) that does not make you *bad*."
Bholu jumped and remarked, "I need to try again".
"Yes, Bholu, so we learn from our actions - irrespective of it is bold or not -
and then try again."
Bholu was quite for a moment.

Uncle Bade asked, "So who is Bholu?"
"Bholu!" Bholu is only Bholu"
"Yes, the moment, Bholu has an image of himself, he would have limited learning.
Rather he would busy defending, or at best trying to live upto that image".
Bholu was now excited, "But if I do not have an image, I am Free to Learn!
Yes, if you have no image of yourself, if you are only Bholu the Bholu, then you
have freedom to learn, freedom to be, freedom to express, freedom to understand,
freedom to learn and freedom to GROW!

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