Boulder and Life – Short Story

Okay. This is a story – short one, though provocative and thoughtful and you got to use your mind. There are no right answers here just something to think about and give your brain a little jog.

Once upon a time, long long time ago, there was a village in a beautiful valley at the foot of the mountain. One of the mountaintop that surrounded the valley had a cliff and near it hung a huge boulder. Few years ago, the boulder had rolled down from the top of the mountain towards the valley en-route the cliff, but for some godforsaken reason got stuck right before the end of the cliff. Now, many years later little vines and weeds had outgrown from the sides and underneath the boulder. Over the many many years since the boulder had found a home for itself on the clifftop – many strong brave and courageous men had claimed to move the rock but none had succeeded. Over the years the facts had become stories and eventually legends. Legends said that only God himself or the son of God will be able to move the boulder from its spot. There was this poor skinny lanky lad in the village, who was considered good for nothing. The poor lad got made fun of everyday and he couldn’t even find a decent job. They would either say, “You are too weak to do the hard labor” or “You don’t have the brains to do the work.” In either case the lad was tired, sorry and very unhappy with his life. So one such night after a hopeless day of working to find work he sat in the tavern and drank himself shitless. In his drunken state he became foolish and courageous enough to challenge the tavern owner to give him work. The tavern owner yelled, “You want a job at my tavern. Okay. I will give you a job on one condition. Go move that boulder from its spot and you will have a job at my tavern.” The lad yelled back, “Why move the boulder, I will break it into pieces. You shall see.” By next day, the news of these deal had spread the whole village like wildfire. As the morning of the next day approached many villagers gathered around the boulder, at the clifftop to see the lad fail and surely he failed. He worked on that boulder with his axe till sunset, by sunset last of the hopeful villagers had all gotten bored and left but the lad continued relentlessly. Then came another day and another and the lad continued to hit his axe on the boulder from sunrise to sunset. The days turned into weeks, and weeks became months, without a single sign of tiniest of cracks. But he continued on and on and on, and sure few months down the line one day one single axe hit later the whole boulder cracked and crumbled. Just one single axe hit was all it took for the huge boulder to break and become nothing. There was no villager present to see it happen. So, the lad ran all the way to the village screaming that he had broken and shattered the rock. The villagers didn’t believe him at first, but when they went to the clifftop surely in place of the boulder there were small crumbs of stone and dust, definitely the remnant of the once majestic, unmovable and unbreakable boulder.

The villagers asked the lad, “How did you do it?” and he replied, “Today, like past many days I went to the clifftop and started hitting my axe at the boulder. Suddenly, after one such hit a thudding sound came and I paused to see what was happening. It was the boulder, cracked and the crack spread across the whole boulder faster than I could even see, and before I could fathom what was happening the boulder just crumbled down to dust.“ To which the villager replied, “Your last axe hit must have had been so strong, that it broke the boulder.” The lad replied, “No, it wasn’t the last hit. It was the cumulative effort of the months of relentless effort”. To which the villager said, “But, it was the last hit that broke the boulder.” The villager neither understood nor comprehended the meaning of lad’s last statement. Sure enough the lad got the job at tavern as promised.

Now, tell me what was the pivoting moment in lad’s success story? Was it the last axe hit that cracked the boulder or the second last or the last day’s work or the whole of the months and days effort he put into or was it also his effort plus the previous all attempter’s efforts combined.  What bought the boulder down? My bet is majorly the lad’s months and months of effort but we can never discredit the effort of the previous attempters however small that might add to the equation.

If we imagine ourselves as the boulder, when our life crashes and crumbles, was it the last defining moment that changed the course of our life forever or was it the cumulative of the hit’s we had been taking from one too many people and things around us? Who is more or wholly responsible? Is anyone or any one event wholly responsible for affecting us the way it does? People will ask us to find the pivoting moment for the life’s course changing, but is it really one event or one incident that has the capability to change our lives forever. I think there are exceptions to every case and scenarios; and sure enough there could be to this one as well. But well, barring exceptions maybe we should stop looking at life as set number of defining movements and rather a series of events leading to the pivot point. Think about it.

-Purvi Rao





Missy is mersmerized by rains 



Missy talks about yearnings


A heart yearns what it yearns, no reason, no logic and no explanation can make it stop.

-Purvi Rao


Missy belongs to the night light