Stories that change life – The Proverbial Nail


One day as Mullah Naseeruddin was walking along the street, he found a young boy shouting angrily at his parents. 

The reason – they were too old and not able to keep pace with him.

It so happened that Mullah knew the boy and his parents and the fact that he was very much interested in art and painting.

“I have tickets to the art exhibition, would you like to join me?” he asked the young lad.

“Yes, of course, I am all excited” replied the boy.  In those days, an entry into the art gallery was reserved for the elite from the kingdom.

The boy was amused as the Mullah got down from his donkey and offered the boy a ride to the art museum.

He was awestruck seeing the works of art from some of the great artists of that time. As they walked past one piece of art, the boy asked “What do you think of that one?  Isn’t the painting marvelous?”

“Yes, the nail is absolutely marvelous” replied Mullah as they walked toward the next one.

As they walked past the second painting the boy asked the same question.

“What do you think of that one?  Isn’t this one better than the previous painting?”

“Yes, the nail is really marvelous” replied the Mullah.

They moved to the third one, which was the artwork of one of the great masters of that time.

As they walked past this masterpiece, the boy asked Mullah the same question, to get the same reply “the nail is so beautiful, definitely a masterpiece”.

The boy got very angry and thought that the Mullah didn’t know a thing about art.  “People like you are a waste to society.  You have privileges, power, authority but no taste for the myriad beauties of life.”  Shouted the boy.

“You see, these paintings wouldn’t have made it to the art gallery if the canvas on which they were made not been held stretched tight on the canvas board.

This heavy painting would have been lying in some corner biting dust, if not for the nail which gives it the pride of place in the wonderful gallery of art”.

No one sees the burden of the ‘nail’.  The pain it had to endure when it was hammered into the wall.  The weight of responsibility for keeping the artwork from falling.

You see, it is very similar to our elders and parents who have been the ‘proverbial nail’ in our life.  Taking the burden, enduring the pain and carrying the weight of responsibility – just so that we turn out to be great masterpieces of art in this ‘universe’ gallery.

For they are the ones to add all the necessary colors and shades to your life and turning you into a masterpiece.

The boy immediately understood the meaning behind the Mullah making him ride the donkey.  He ran back to his parents and apologized for his rude behavior, promising to take care of them all is life.

Who have been the ‘nails’ in your life? 

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