Not everyone is big. Not everyone is strong. But then again in tests of strength, there are small and weak people who still manage to come off as winners.
One day, a bunch of boys decided to have fist-fights, the game where the combatants clasp their hands with elbows planted firmly on a table and where they are required to try and push the opponent’s hand down.
Naturally, there were some boys who were stronger than others. The weaker ones lost out quickly. When ‘strong’ met ‘strong’, there was a good fight. Those in the game were focused. Beads of sweat appeared on their foreheads. Veins on their fists popped up. They had grim expressions. The others cheered.
Now one of the boys came from a farming family. He was used to hard work from the time he was a child. Having ploughed, planted, weeded, harvested, threshed and carried sacks of rice from field to home, he had become very strong. Having lived a hard life his mind was strong too. He was ‘downing’ all comers. Even the strongest couldn’t compete with him.
After some time it was apparent that he was the strongest. Everyone who had challenged him were bested, one by one. Finally. there was no one left. All those whose muscles and weight might indicate strength had lost. Those who remained were not in the game. He was the champion.
All of a sudden someone stepped forward and challenged him. The champion laughed, not in a rude way, because it was actually funny. You see the challenger was a thin boy. He looked weak and in fact was weak. The champion was not alone in expressing mirth. Everyone laughed with him. They thought the challenger was being funny. In a way he was, but in a way he was not. He insisted. The champion, still laughing, accepted the challenge.
Then the challenger put forward some conditions. This made everyone laugh all over again. They were convinced that the challenger was clowning around. He was and he wasn’t.
‘We have to play by the rules!’
The champion laughed and said ‘any rules brother!’
One hand has to be kept behind the back, he said. That was the first rule. There has to be a referee — that was the second rule.
Now there hadn’t been a referee overseeing the previous encounters. A referee was not needed. The champion was so good and anyway the players were strong enough to accept the particular outcomes.
One boy volunteered to referee the fight. The more ‘official’ it looked the more hilarious it was. Finally, they were ready. The challenger had one last request — he told the referee that the fight begins when he, the referee, said ‘One, Two, Three,’ that is when he uttered the word ‘three’ the contestants would have to try bend their opponents hand.
The referee agreed. The champion agreed. ‘One…two…three’ the referee said. Immediately the challenger, instead of trying to push the champion’s hand down, used the leverage of the elbow to jerk his opponents arm OFF the table. The next moment he shouted ‘Foul!” He appealed to the referee. He said that the champion broke the rules and was seeking unfair advantage by lifting the elbow off the table.
The referee, who himself had lost to the champion, immediately offered a determination: ‘Foul! You have lost!’ he told the champion.
Everyone laughed. The champion demanded a re-match, but the challenger (who was now ‘champion’) refused to give him an opportunity to wrest back the title. Everyone laughed, including the champion, the ex-champion and the referee.
Now we can fault the challenger for being a sneaky devil. He tricked the champion or rather the ex-champion. But then again it was all good fun. Everyone laughed. No one felt bad. What’s important is that a ‘weak’ boy had found a way to make his weakness become a non-factor.
That’s always possible. If you think, if you are creative and if you are bold, you can overcome odds. It’s a simple lesson.