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Drop the potato bag now !

The other day I met a dear friend after a very long time. He was telling me of somebody who is behaving in a vengeful manner and some incidents of the vengefulness and it's ultimate futility.

I remarked to him that it is very unfortunate that the person doesn't realise that this behaviour is harming themselves more than others. I remembered a story I read in Chicken Soup for the Soul (I think) and recounted it to him as best as I could.

In a class of second standard students, there were a lot of quarrels going on for a couple of weeks. Many students had unpleasant feelings for other students. One Friday the class teacher announced that she had a two week assignment for the class, beginning Monday. On Monday each student was supposed to bring with them to school, one kilogram of potatoes in a plastic bag. She would tell the remainder of the assignment on Monday. So on Monday all students were carrying with them a plastic bag of one kilogram of potatoes. The class teacher then told the rest of the assignment. For two weeks, the students would have to carry the bag everywhere they went...the playground, the science laboratory, a friend's place, their own home, even to the toilet.

Initially it sounded like a fun assignment. There were some potato-bag fights too. The children carried the potato bags everywhere diligently. A couple of days later however, they started to find it inconvenient to lug around the bags everywhere. The bags started getting dirty. A few days later the potatoes began to rot. The weight of the bags increased. The potatoes started giving off a foul smell. The last few days of the assignment really tested the students' patience.

On the last day of the assignment, all of them brought their potato bags to class. When the teacher asked them to describe their experience of carrying the potato bags everywhere, all of them shouted out their complaints. One little boy was very upset and asked the teacher why she made them do this assignment. Then the wise teacher replied, "The potatoes in the bag are the grudges you have against each other. The longer you carry them, the more burdensome will they become. Drop the potato bag now !"

I remind myself of this story often and drop my potato bags almost while I'm filling them.

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