Once upon time, in a land far far away from any modern civilization, lived two brothers Ram and Shyam. Both the brothers were farmers by profession, and they earned their living by growing and selling onions. Both Ram and Shyam owned equal amounts of land and grew identical quantities of onion every year; however, they held very different moral values. While Ram would always stick to his morals and ethics to grow his trade, Shyam would often indulge in unscrupulous means to have his way. Nonetheless, the two brothers had almost identical wealth (With Ram being the richer of the two). Many a time, Shyam would mock Ram for working so hard, because with just half the time dedication, Shyam was able to earn as much as Ram. Ram however, was very strict on his ideals and values and vowed never to stray from them. Despite their differences, the two brothers got along very well. In fact, they had helped each other countless times during financial troubles in the past, and basically always had each other’s backs.
One day, a severe storm tore through their village and destroyed everything they owned – from their crops to their homes. Devastated, the two brothers prayed day and night to God for days on end without food or water. One day, God appeared. “Each of you has just one wish. What will it be?”, asked God. “Oh God, please give us some money to start a new life!”, cried both brothers in unison. “Very well”, bellowed God. “You have two options. You can either ask for Rs. 10 crores right now, or you can receive Rs. 6000 everyday for the next 50 years. However, in choosing the latter, you will eventually get slightly more than what you will get if you choose the former. Choose wisely”. The brothers were astonished. They had never seen so much money. They barely made a few thousands a year and still managed to live a dignified life. “I want the 10 crores now please!”, exclaimed Shyam, with unwavering enthusiasm. Ram on the other hand chose the latter, much to Shyam’s dismay.
Shyam had always wanted to live the lavish city life, but alas, he was limited by qualifications as he never attended school. He had already made up his mind. He was going to move to the city and live the life of his dreams and…. “Snap out of it!”, exclaimed Ram, as though reading Shyam’s thoughts. “Don’t you understand? If you leave the village, you will be done for! You will not have family or friends! Life in the city is not as glamorous as it seems! There are many dangers. Besides, how will you earn a living?”, cried Ram. “Oh, we’ll see about that later. For now, I just want to start a new life. Besides, wasn’t that what we both wanted? You should come too!”, exclaimed Shyam. “I’m sorry brother, but I can’t leave this Village. It has given us so much. We have spent all our life here and I think it’s only fair that we support our people when they need us the most. Who will take care of mother? Her health is worsening by the day. I cannot do it alone. I need you!”, cried Ram. “I promise I’ll be back as soon as you call for me! I just want to live that life for once. I’ll be back really soon!”, exclaimed Shyam. Tears welled up in Ram’s eyes as he realized that his brother had long made up his mind. They quietly hugged, and parted ways.
Before long, Shyam had bought the most luxurious villa in the heart of the city and the most expensive car that his riches could afford. And it had not even been a month. As the days flew by, he grew increasingly proud of his accomplishments. People would notice him and occasionally even click photos with his car in the background. Soon, everyone started talking about ‘the new crorepati who moved into town’. Some people would boast about being his friend, while others would criticize him. One day while he was walking to the store, a thief snatched his phone and ran away into the crowded marketplace. “Oh well, guess I’ll buy a new one”, thought Shyam.
With all this unwanted attention, came the feeling of insecurity. His pride gradually turned to fear as the months flew by. He couldn’t even sleep in peace because he feared that burglars would break into his house at night. He would check on his car hundred times a day and even avoid taking it out of the garage to avoid attention. It was now one year since the day he left his village. He was lonely as ever, anxious, and sleep deprived. He reached for his phone to call Ram, only to realize that he hadn’t bought one after the other day. His heart sank as he realized how much he missed his mother, brother, and the people of the village. It was time to go back home. He decided that he would sell his prized possessions and head back at the earliest. However, he could not find any buyers. No one had that kind of money, and even if they did, they would rather spend it on something more economical. It had been 1 month and still no luck. He couldn’t bear it any longer. He had to go back now. So, he left his prized possessions and began the long journey back home.
As he approached the outskirts of village, he could see children playing in the distance, and elders sitting by the pond. A smile crossed his lips as he noticed familiar faces. As he neared his brother’s hut, he waved at some known faces and they smiled back ruefully. Something was amiss. He could sense it. Before he could ask, Ram popped out of the hut followed by some children. His expression was stoic, and his pace was brisk. Their eyes met for an instant before Ram turned away his gaze. He led the children into a school van and after waving them goodbye, he quickly made his way back to the hut. Shyam walked up to one of the elders and asked what had happened. “He’s been like that ever since your mother died. He has not spoken to anyone in the last 6 months. We tried reaching out to you because we were slightly short of the money needed for her treatment, but your phone was not reachable. I am sure you have been very busy. Good day”. With that, the elder retreated to his hut.
Shyam was lost for words. He was dumbfounded. Despaired. Shattered. All time froze as he stood motionless by Ram’s hut. He had neither the spirit, nor the courage to meet his brother. It was then that he realized that every opportunity not only provides a chance for a better future, but also tests your ideals and moral values. Pursuing a lucrative opportunity without the right ideals in place is like driving a car without brakes. You will most likely get there faster but failure would be inevitable and absolute. To truly go the distance, one must choose the ethical path, for there is no shortcut to success. With that thought, Shyam began collecting Bamboo to build a new hut. He would simply wait for the next opportunity to come around, and when it did, he would be well prepared.