Your Common Courtyard..!

“…..A common courtyard is swept by none’….” Chinese Proverb

“Park your taxi to the side of the road!” I told the taxi driver gently as he got out of his cab to go to the local temple.

“Are you the police?” he asked me.

“No!” I said.

“Then mind your own business!”

   I knew where he lived and that evening I went over to his place. He opened the door, stared at me, then said, “You have come to harass me again?”

“No,” I said, “I have come to visit you! May I come in?”

“Okay,” he said uncertainly and ushered me into his home, a small tenement measuring just around two hundred square feet. There was a TV in one corner and a huge double bed at the other where all his family were perched watching the evening program.

“You keep your home very neat!” I said pleasantly.

“We have to,” he said, “Otherwise we will be falling over everything which is out of place, so I have trained the children that if they take out anything they put it back where it belongs!”

“Excellent!” I said, then looked at the children, “You have a good father who has taught you well,” then saw a look of puzzlement on the taxi driver’s face, “You are saying something,” he said.

“I have not said anything,” I told him as his face broke into a big grin.

“What are you smiling at?” I asked.

“I understand,” he said, “Why you have come here!”

“You do?” I asked.

“You are telling me that if I am so neat in my house I should also be neat outside isn’t it?”

“Is that the message you are getting?” I asked innocently. “But this morning you told me to mind my own business if I was not the police. There is a Chinese saying,” I continued, “that a common courtyard is swept by none, and yet I wonder why? Why shouldn’t we who are so clean and neat in our own homes not treat the outside roads and open places as an extension of our homes? Why?”

 The taxi driver pondered over my statement, then said, “Maybe what you’ve just asked has the answer, that if we thought of the whole country as our own home, we would treat it as such, I think that is what I am going to teach my children from now on!”

  I walked my dog the next day and found the taxi driver rushing to the temple, he grinned as he reached the entrance and pointed to his cab, it was parked alongside the curb, and the traffic around flowed smoothly even as he was inside worshipping.

   The common courtyard was no more common, he had made it his own, what about you?



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3 thoughts on “Your Common Courtyard..!”

  1. Epic.

    When we disrespect our surroundings, hurt or harm our neighbours, destroy roads, block paths by wrongful parking, misuse common facilities, we will ultimately suffer the consequences of our selfish and criminal attitude and actions.

    Thanks to Newton, we know that for ‘every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’ between the subject and the object of violence.

  2. You are a patient teacher. I remember a driver arguing with me when I said, :Don’t spit on the road.’ One day my friend told me that she tells people who spit that it was in the papers that we lose our strength when we spit. So I said it at an auto stand to a driver who spat.

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