One morning after completing my daily routine of walking, breakfast, shower, prayers etc. while I was relaxing and meditating, suddenly I heard someone crying. I started looking around, but I didn’t find anyone. I was perplexed and then a few seconds later, I realized that it was my ears that were crying. I couldn’t believe it; I was amazed and surprised. I was wondering, of all the things, why should my ears cry. I was also a little upset because they disturbed my meditation. Then I decided to ask my ears the reason for their tears and thus started the conversation between me and my ears. Little did I realize what was in store for me.

Me:      Hey! What’s wrong with you, why are you crying?

There was no response from my ears while the sobbing continued. This annoyed me a little and I continued in a stern voice.

Me:      You are the one who gives me pain and trouble, not to forget the amount of money I’ve spent because of you. So I should be crying and not you. Stop crying now and tell me what makes you cry.

Ears:    Well, calm down Sir and relax. The tears you see are an outburst of all our bottled up emotions. If you permit and patiently hear us we will explain what makes us cry. We are hanging on both sides of your face, like leaves hanging on the tree. We are a very tiny part of your body so you seldom care for us. We will tell you how you have been taking us for granted and treating us without any care or consideration. And for the statement you made just now about us burning a hole in your pocket, let us tell you all that we’ve silently borne over the years.  

1.      It all starts from the time when you were just a few months old and there was a grand ceremony performed at your house. Do you know what was that for? Well, that’s the day we started getting tormented; it was an ear-piercing ceremony. The tender ear lobes were pierced and a ring was inserted in each of the ears. We still remember the pain we went through that day. We couldn’t bear the pain but we were helpless and had to just suffer in silence.

2.      You started using spectacles for your eyes since 1958, to rectify your vision.  Spectacles cannot be used without our support.  We have been shouldering this burden for the past 60 years, day in day out without a break. Well, you could have gone for contact lenses, or LASIK and relieved us from this hardship, but you didn’t because that would have meant spending a good deal of money. Had we given up and refused to silently bear the load of your heavy spectacles, it would have costed you quite a lot.  

3.      While you were a kid, we were punished for all your mistakes and mischiefs. Your elders at home and teachers at school used to pull us (your ears) to punish you and we bore the brunt without any protest.

4.      Then came in the fancy earphones and headphones that just poke us and trouble us, and put us in the dark. The noise it makes is so painful and scary yet we tolerate it because, you get to enjoy the music.

5.      Then you started using a hearing aid because with age, we turned weak and you blamed us saying because of us, you had to spend money on this device. You didn’t think of this the same way while you bought your spectacles; in fact, you were proud to get one and flaunt it. And oh, while you flaunt your spectacles with stylish frames and expensive lenses with all the latest features like anti-fog, lightweight, photo-chromatic, and what not, you are ashamed of donning a hearing aid. You end up buying the tiniest one; and lament about replacing its batteries now and then. The hearing aid is inserted into the ear, which again arrests free and natural air or light to us and suffocates us.

6.      As if our troubles were less, now this corona pandemic is just worsening things for us. As if the spectacles were not enough, we have to cater to your mask also now. The elastic bands of your mask hurt us, irritate us all the time; and when you talk and laugh with the mask on, it is even more difficult for us.  Still we do not complain and bear all this silently. You have the option of buying a different kind of mask, like what the surgeons wear, which allows you to fasten the strings attached to it, above and below the ears which wouldn’t hurt us, but you still choose the elastic mask that hangs on us.

Now having put forth our grievances, we rest our case and challenge you to defend your statement that we cause your pain and trouble and burn a hole in your pocket.

After hearing all this, I realized for the first time how my ears had been with me all through and how I had actually never paid heed to them and had just taken them for granted. It left me thinking that while we tend to take care of our eyes, head, hands, legs, heart, kidneys, liver and everything else, we tend to ignore our ears often and seldom given them due care and attention. However, I had now realized our ears are equally important too and they deserve proper care. We worry so much about the other organs because perceive them to be important and any discomfort or ailment associated with any of these would affect our day-to-day life. However, come to think of it, if the ear starts paining due to an infection, trust me it’ll be as bad as a tooth ache or head ache if not worse. Or let’s say with age if the hearing ability reduces, it can create so much of unwanted psychological problems and distress. One starts feeling neglected, loses confidence, leading to irritation, stress, depression and so on. So even these tiny little parts of the body like the nose, ears and all that we often tend to overlook deserve due care and attention just like the rest.   

With a great sense of realization and gratitude, I responded to them.

ME:      I’m sorry, I have indeed been taking you for granted. I never realized how much you have supported me over all these ears. And how inconsiderate I have been by torturing you by plugging my earphones and playing loud music or talking on the cellphone for long hours. I completely realize your importance and I’m sorry for not taking care of you. I can’t thank you enough for putting up with me all these years and all I can do now, going forward is be conscious of your needs and concerns and take care of it.

Ears:    Thank you! We will be glad to assist you and serve you all through our lives.

That brought us to the end of the conversation and the sound of the TV disrupted me and I opened my eyes and got back to a conscious state. I realized what a powerful message this conversation had left for me; not even for a second I had thought that without the support of my ears I wouldn’t be able to wear my spectacles which are extremely necessary for me 24/7. Similarly, there are so many things in life that we often taken for granted, maybe it’s time to slow down, take a pause to reflect, appreciate, and be grateful to all such things and people around us.

Moral of the story: Just because something is small doesn’t mean it is not important. It’s often these small things that matter the most, it’s the small pieces that make the big picture.

PS: This is the post my father has written. I thought it was really great that he wrote something so engaging in the first attempt at the age of 75. I urged him to let me share it.

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Subhash Iyer

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