TODAY -

The rooster's dilemma: Navigating life's unreasonable expectations

Aubaid Ahmad Akhoon *



"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein


Once in a tranquil village, there lived a person who owned a rooster. This rooster was not just any rooster; it was the village's timekeeper, its call at dawn a signal to prayer for the beginning of each new day. However, a peculiar whim struck the owner one day—a decision that would set off a chain of events with unexpected lessons.

The owner approached the rooster with a grave command: "From tomorrow, you must not give the call to prayer, or else I will have no choice but to slaughter you". The rooster, with a heavy heart, agreed, wishing to appease its master, "As you wish, master!"

Dawn came, and the village woke to an unusual silence. The rooster, true to its word, did not utter the call to prayer. However, bound by habit, it couldn't help but flap its wings vigorously. Observing this, the owner was not pleased and set forth a new rule, "From tomorrow, you must not even flap your wings, or the consequence will be dire".

The next morning, the rooster remained motionless, not daring to flap its wings. Yet, instinctively, it stretched its neck high into the air, an act that once again caught the owner's eye. "From tomorrow, you must not move your neck," the owner decreed, hoping to curb any semblance of the rooster's natural instincts.

On the following day, at the break of dawn, the rooster sat completely silent, not moving a muscle, a mere shadow of itself. The owner, however, found this new behavior unsettling and far from satisfactory. In a final, unreasonable demand, the owner declared, "From tomorrow, you must lay an egg in the morning, or else you will be slaughtered".

Facing this impossible task, the rooster was overwhelmed with sorrow. Its tears flowed freely, not from the fear of death but from the realization of its predicament. When the owner inquired about the reason for its tears, the rooster's reply was profound and laden with meaning:
"No, I am not crying because I'm afraid of dying. I am crying because dying for the call to prayer would have been better than for an egg".

This simple yet profound story echoes a powerful lesson on the nature of existence and the search for meaning. It reminds us that in our efforts to conform to the unreasonable demands placed upon us, whether by society or by those in authority over us, we may lose sight of our true purpose. Like the rooster, we each have our unique call to fulfill in this world - a purpose that defines us and gives our lives meaning.

It's a poignant reminder that it is far better to face challenges, even death, with dignity and in alignment with our true nature, rather than compromise our essence for unattainable or unnatural expectations.

In the end, the essence of our being and the integrity of our actions define us far more profoundly than any forced conformity ever could. Like the rooster, let us find the courage to sing our unique song, even when faced with the greatest of challenges.

Through the lens of this allegory, we delve into the core lessons life imparts in the journey toward self-discovery and authenticity amidst the clamor of external expectations.

Life Lesson 1: Embrace Your Authenticity

"To thine own self be true." - William Shakespeare

The rooster's story begins with its natural call, a reminder of the paramount importance of embracing our true selves. In a world that often pushes us toward conformity, our greatest strength lies in our authenticity. The moment we lose sight of our essence to appease others, we drift further from our own path.

Life Lesson 2: Recognize the Absurdity of Unreasonable Expectations

The evolving demands placed upon the rooster echo the sometimes-absurd expectations society foists upon us. Whether it's the pursuit of an unblemished life or a role that ill-fits our nature, such pressures can lead us into a quagmire of stress and disillusionment. Recognizing the absurdity of these demands is the first step toward liberating ourselves from them.

Life Lesson 3: Cultivate Resilience Amidst Absurdity

"The human capacity for burden is like bamboo - far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance." - Jodi Picoult

The rooster's attempts to meet each new demand, no matter how ludicrous, reflect our own tenacity in the face of life's challenges. This resilience, while admirable, also serves as a cautionary tale of the importance of discerning when to push back, set boundaries, and say no to the impossible.

Life Lesson 4: Confronting Our Reality with Courage

In its final moments, the rooster's reflection on the futility of its efforts to meet an impossible demand illuminates the importance of confronting our realities, no matter how stark. This confrontation is not a sign of defeat but a courageous acceptance of our limitations and the beginning of true wisdom.

Life Lesson 5: Striving for Meaningful Endeavors

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal." - Albert Pike

The rooster's yearning to have died for something as meaningful as its call to prayer, rather than an impossible task, underscores the essence of our endeavors. Let our struggles and sacrifices be for causes that resonate deeply with our values, not in vain pursuit of appeasing others' unreasonable demands.

As we navigate through the tapestry of life, the tale of the rooster serves as a poignant metaphor for the human condition. It encourages us to stay true to our essence, be mindful of the expectations we accept, and always strive for endeavors that carry a deep sense of purpose.

Just as the rooster wished to be remembered for heralding the dawn, may we too find our callings that resonate with our true selves, leaving behind a legacy that echoes through the ages.


* Aubaid Ahmad Akhoon wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The Writer is a distinguished Educational Columnist, Motivational Speaker, EDP Head SKIE Classes Khanyar
and Associate Editor of the weekly educational publication 'Education Quill'.
This article was webcasted on April 15 2024.



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