“Hey bro.. stop”, shouted Nick. “What’s wrong with you? What are you eating? Are they sleeping pills? Let me have a look.” Nick found they were high dosage sleeping pills. “When did you start this practice? I saw you popping something last night. I thought they were vitamins. Just now I saw the label. Are you okay, bub? Do you have something to tell me? Is everything okay? I am all ears.”
Jack kept quiet. He did not utter a word. He just shook his head and tried to leave the room. His face was flushed and drenched in the embarrassment of being caught. When Nick tried to hold his elbow, he pulled it out forcefully. Nick decided to sleep on it for that night and talk the next morning. Nick let the matter sleep but he spent a sleepless night.
The next day Nick met Jack in the garden. Nick had come to Jack’s place to spend a week with his family. Jack had 2 sons. His wife was a lawyer. Nick also had children and a loving wife. Nothing seemed wrong in either of their lives. Nick came to his brother with a cup of coffee and started the conversation. “Good morning bub. How are you? I am sure you slept well last night. I think I should have borrowed a pill from you.” Jack looked up confused. He thought his brother was teasing him. Nick continued, “Well, I had a sleepless night.”
Jack looked sullen. He raised his head and said, “I am sorry. It was because of me, right? I am always a problem. I should have just told you everything.”
“Oh.. that’s a revelation bub, go on tell me now”, said Nick with a scornful expression.
“Don’t mistake me bro but please do tell me how you manage to remain so happy and cheerful all the time. You have the same business which I run. Our family lives are so similar. We earn the same way. Yet I feel so exhausted and stressed while you seem as free as a bird. You seem to have time for everything in this world.
I always get stressed and burdened. I hardly find time for my work or a pastime. There have been so many nights when I have wanted to make a call and cry out my stressed thoughts. But I knew I was insane and didn’t want to give you even a taste of it”, Jack looked away when he uttered the last sentence.
“Look at that. Someone has grown. You seem to have grown so much that you have started making decisions even for others. How would you know that your troubles would disturb me? From when has my bub turned into a douche?” Nick sounded sarcastic and irritated. “And to answer your question I am cheerful and balanced because I do not burden myself. Come with me. You understand things better when I give you an example.”
Nick pulled Jack towards his own garden and showed him. “See this beautiful idea in your gardening and learn from it. You brought together climbing roses and fruit trees. You have combined the color and scent of a beloved flower along with the value of home grown fruit. Did you do it intentionally with some creativity or did any book instruct you to do so?”
Jack looked baffled. He said in a put out tone, “Could you please be clear? What has this got to do with my insomnia?”
Nick continued, “Adaptability. See the adaptability between them. The apple tree has the burden of the rose plant. The plant has literally strangled the tree. But the tree stands strong. It did not bend too much according to the pressure put by the climber. The apple tree stood strong. Your apple tree is not very old. It could have easily fallen or broken by the weight of this beautiful climber with its heavy roses.” Jack nodded slowly.
Nick led him again to another part of the garden. “Now come here. See this bamboo trellis.
Do you notice the way it has bent with the weight of the climber? This is exactly how you have given in to all the pressures around you. Nobody in this world is without stress and pressure. It is up to us to bend and break or to stand tall and fight.”
“Do not give the remote control of your feelings to anything or anyone. Why do you let your problems rule you? Your insomnia is because you have subscribed to the pressures around you. Be free brother. Don’t bend your back like this trellis. Be strong like your favourite apple tree. You will not have stress or sleeplessness.”
Nick patted Jack’s back and said, “Come bub, it’s time to throw those little pill devils inside those white pandora boxes. No more sleeping pills. If you have any questions do contact your brother and who is also your partner in crime. Let’s party together and solve the damn problems.” Jack laughed out with tears in his eyes. This was the first time he had laughed after a gap of almost three years. He felt lucky to have a very supportive brother. As he entered the house he reminded himself to repair the trellis and help it stand stronger.
Life is not always about what you have to do. It is also about what you want to do.