Roopa lived in the town of Vijayapuram. She was the daughter of a farmer and his wife. As the only daughter of her parents, she had all her parents attention to herself. This made her a pampered and a spoilt child.
The years passed and Roopa grew up to be a young women. She was still adamant and headstrong and always got her way. Her parents set about looking for a suitable groom for her. They considered many proposals and finally chose a young man, Sanjeev from a neighbouring village, Kalyanpur.
The wedding was a grand affair. Shortly after the wedding, Roopa bade goodbye to her parents and went to her new home.
Sanjeev was a kind man. He loved her very much and did everything possible to make her comfortable in her new surroundings. Roopa, however, felt unhappy. She found the new home smaller than her parents’ house.
Sanjeev had a widowed mother, Kokila. Kokila did all the household work by herself. After a few days, she asked Roopa to help her with the chores. Roopa was angry. Back at her parents’ house, there were servants to do the cooking and cleaning. She resented doing any work at all. She did all the jobs Kokila assigned to her half-heartedly.
Kokila, herself, was a very rigid person. She always wanted things to be done in a certain way. She wanted her daughter-in-law to obey her every word. She could not understand that Roopa had a mind of her own. Soon, differences appeared. Kokila would find fault with Roopa’s cooking. Roopa talked back. Harsh words were exchanged. Soon, the two women stopped talking to each other.
From then on Roopa began to resent her mother-in-law. She would do the household chores grudgingly. Sanjeev tried his best to calm them both. But, he refused to take sides and support Roopa. This angered Roopa even more.
Eventually, the toxic and hostile environment in the house took a toll on Roopa. She became depressed and could no longer sleep. She did not talk about this to no one, even her parents. Soon her health began to deteriorate.
Ranjandas was an iterinerant physician. He travelled from village to village and dispensed medicines to sick people. Once in every few months, he would visit a village. He happened to visit Kalyanpur.
The villagers flocked to him for a remedy to their sicknesses. He was a wise old man. Besides, treating the people for their illnesses, he also listened to their problems and offered practical solutions.
Roopa had heard of Ranjandas many years ago. She had once gone to meet him with her mother for an ailment. Hearing that the physician was coming to her town, Roopa wanted to get his help. She went to him and told him of his problem.
The wise physician listened to her. He knew what the problem was. He gave her a bottle of tonic. He told her, “Roopa, this is a medicine which will turn your mother-in-law into a gentle person. You will have to give it to her twice a day”. “But, she would never take a medicine if I give it to her”, Roopa said, “She may grow suspicious and send me out of the house.” The wise physician replied, “Give to in her food. Make the food so delicious that she will never sense the medicine in her food.” He continued,” During this period, talk kindly to her and obey her. This may remove any suspicion if she has any. You will see the change in about two months.” Roopa was happy. She thanked the physician, paid his fees and left for home.
She did exactly as Ranjandas told her. She cooked delicious meals for her mother-in-law to which she added the concoction. She served the food with a smile and spoke respectfully and kindly to the old lady.
A few weeks later, she was able to notice the change in her mother-in-law. She was no longer the insensitive and authoritarian mother-in-law she knew. In that place, was a gentle and affectionate mother-like lady. Roopa was amazed at the transformation.
She hurriedly went to the physician to thank him for his magical medicine. Ranjandas smiled at her and said, ”It was no medicine at all. It was just honey mixed with water”. The real medicine was the love and esteem you showed her while serving the concoction. Roopa was surprised. She thought over what the physician said. It was indeed true. She had herself changed. This had brought the change in her mother in law. She went home with great joy. Peace and happiness returned to the house.
Children, this story teaches us that we need to be respectful and loving towards others. How others behave towards us is determined to a great extent by how we behave towards them. If we are kind and gracious, others will also be affectionate and courteous towards us.