Even though we constantly attempt to exhibit to the world that we are full and complete, deep within us we hear our conscience cry out that we are empty and hollow. During my youth I maintained a fake personality for many years. One fine day the moment I got back home after a day of [...]


The Golden Toothbrush of the Toothless Man


Even though we constantly attempt to exhibit to the world that we are full and complete, deep within us we hear our conscience cry out that we are empty and hollow. During my youth I maintained a fake personality for many years. One fine day the moment I got back home after a day of pretending and trying to show the society that everything is fine with me, I sat down with myself all alone at night. I understood that I am just an architecturally designed graveyard that looks very impressive from outside yet is empty from within. A typical example of that was my wallet. When I was young my wallet was so bulky that it looked quite superior from outside, but all it possessed were many pieces of paper. I did not even have a few rupees or coins to buy two dosa. After a few months of burial, the tomb would be completely empty whereas the architecturally designed gravestone is all that would stand tall and grand.

The compartment to which you give more importance will decide whether you would live in bliss or in misery. It is pointless to have the most expensive shampoo if you do not have any hair to wash. It is as though a toothless man is trying to purchase the most expensive golden toothbrush. Just as he possesses it, he will realise that it is of no use to him as he does not have any teeth to brush. Don’t you think we also act in the same manner at times? We run after many things, yet unfortunately all of them become futile. We are not in a state to benefit from any of them as our minds are not stable enough to be happy from what we have achieved.

My wife and I train both our children Joshua and Esther to give as much as possible to the less privileged, so that they can enjoy and value what they have in their hand. There is a famous saying that says “You can’t keep it unless you give it away”. If the soil of a land is not fertile enough for the plants to bear fruits, then it would be worthless even though the land may look grand outwardly with massive gates, security guards and big name boards. Therefore, it is high time that we Sri Lankan’s initiate working on our inner selves rather than being fake outwardly all day long.

By twenty seven years of age, I realised that though I try to fool everyone I was the one who fooled myself. The worst part of it is that I thought I have smartly fooled many and achieved what I wanted, but the moment I was pushed to beg in front of the William Grinding Mills in Wellawatte I understood that no one has been fooled but me, I have fooled myself big time. Being fake is tough. It is as if a six year old boy is attempting to walk with the armory of a thirty year old Roman soldier. I have lost many people in my life as a result of presenting myself as a fake product to them. Initially they trusted what they saw externally and they even invested their time in me, the moment they got to know the real ‘me’ they simply left me. I was fake, therefore what I presented was not at all what was realistically within me. Why not dig into yourself and observe yourself internally and externally?

Are you internally rich enough to enjoy what you have achieved from outside? Or are you just like a man with the golden toothbrush who does not even have teeth to enjoy the luxury of the toothbrush. Many parents fail to spend quality time with their children. They think that they have provided everything the child needs. But one fine day they will realise that their children are utterly wasted by consuming drugs and that they have not given what their children actually wanted. You need to identify the precise time to water, fertilise as well as prune the branches. If you fertilise a plant prematurely the plant may die as the plant is too young to absorb a fertiliser. Whenever we are out at a restaurant, just before I leave, I ensure that I ask the steward to pack all the leftovers, because I have already paid for all the meals I have ordered. My innocent dog deserves it. Nevertheless, some people are so empty from within that their pride overtakes the truth. I completely do not mind what the others in the restaurant might think of me. They may think I’m stingy, but I surely am not. What is important to me is to feel good about myself and sit upright with a clear conscience that I am not guilty about wasting money which I could use to put a smile on another’s face.

When I started the second chapter in my life, all I could afford to buy for my wife were a few simple clothes from a small shop in Maharagama. My wife is extremely beautiful yet I decided that I cannot decorate her beyond my capacity. At what cost should I decorate her? Should I present her to the society richly decorated, at the cost of our living expenses and our children’s education? Both of us firmly focused on achieving things which could really bring joy to our lives. Even with only a piece of dry fish and coconut sambol. We were really happy that we used to dance inside the house. We could have tried to invest in a car merely to show off even though it was beyond our capacity. If we had done it, we would have sold the joy we had inside the house.

I strongly believe that it is essential to pursue financial stability in order to be a blessing to many, but what I’m trying to highlight is that it is useless to fill a broken bottle. It would be like building a beautiful mansion without a roof. You cannot enjoy what you already attain because of what you do not have. Therefore, we must prioritise what we need to have the most and what we need to have the least. Most of the people prepare the curry first and then realise that they do not have a loaf of bread to taste the curry. We must pay serious attention to our family lives if not we will not be able to enjoy what we have.

There are a countless number of affluent families who hold their hands so tight when they are outside, yet they sleep in separate rooms inside the house. Think for a moment, where have you gone wrong? It is never too late to thrive for corrections. There are times that I think to myself that we were much happier when we lived in a small two bedroom house than in the three story mansion that we are living in at present. If you have backslidden from your original thinking pattern, then why not turn back and get into the original track once again.

If our maximum life span is eighty years, what are we looking forward to accumulating during those eighty years? Are you the type of person who has a countless number of sleepless nights in the most expensive uniquely designed bed? It is a lot better to have an undisturbed sleep in a mat rather than a numerous number of sleepless nights in a luxurious bed. Therefore, do not deviate in life. Life exists to live in contentment and not in misery. Your decision will resolve the state in which you will end up. Aren’t you interested in living a blissful life? Are you one of them who worked hard to purchase the golden toothbrush only to realise that you do not have teeth to brush with it? Then, turn back, it is never too late.

For comments: e-mail: philipnehri@chandanalepa.lk / voice: 0779526496


Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.