TAKING A LONG ROUTE

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Principles of Life

One of the facilities enjoyed in technologically advanced nations is a highly efficient telecommunications system. Of course, telephones abound in the third world also, but the service they provide leaves much to be desired. In India, for instance, one will encounter all kinds of problems in making trunk or local calls within the country. If, on the other hand, one dials a London number from Delhi, one is likely to obtain an immediate connection, and the quality of recep­tion will also be good.

A story concerning this discrepancy recently appeared in a newspaper. An African lady wanted to order some meat from her local butcher. She tried to telephone him but was unable to get through. But when she phoned her mother, who was living in London, she had no trouble getting a connection there. During the course of her conversation, she casually mentioned her inability to establish con­tact with a local number. “I wanted to order some meat and was trying to get through to the butcher for a whole hour,” she told her mother. “Tell you what”, her mother replied over the line from London. “I’ll put a call through to him from this end.” And she did just that. She dialed her daughter’s butcher back in Africa. Immediately the phone started ringing in a shop thousands of miles away. The gap left by local telephone lines was bridged by interna­tional telecommunications.

The necessity to find unusual ways of bridging gaps and speed­ing up the normal business of life is applicable not only to telephone connections, but to our journey through life itself. But we must first understand what our best course of action is. Sometimes we try to take shortcuts but find them so full of obstacles so that we actually spend longer on the ‘short’ cut than we would on a long, but unob­structed road. Sometimes a road only appears interminable to us, but when we actually come to traverse it, we find that it has taken us far less time to do so than we had at first imagined. The reverse is true of apparently shorter roads which can lead us into unexpected detours. Before setting out on a chosen path, we should take stock of the means at our disposal and make due allowances for unfore­seen factors which could hamper our progress. All such factors should be given equal consideration.