Once a man, fed up by his troubles, decided to solve them permanently.
He suffered from hearing impairment in his right ear, had persistent migraines and had just enough money to keep himself and his wife in food and health. He had wanted to go on a world tour once in his life but could not afford it; wanted to own a small house in a locality that was not as crowded and dirty as theirs was; wanted to be able to devote himself to drawing cartoons, an activity he was very fond of doing but could not do that either. However his biggest problem was fate of his family. He felt that his future was ending as his only son, who was single and 38 now was, in jail for next 7 years for arson and drug possession.
So he sat himself down and prayed incessantly for ten long years. The Lord, happy by his devotion was forced to appear before him and grant him a wish.
“Lord take all my troubles away and grant me undiminished happiness” the man implored.
“Cant do that anymore son”. God informed him regretfully. “We have discontinued unqualified grant of wishes since about 3000 years when such ad hoc requests were conceded and then karmic systemic breakdowns would happen. So we had an all Heavenly Bodies Congress ( HBC), chaired by Lord Brahma himself and have devised a process for such allocations. We now call it the Law of Conservation of Afflictions or LCA for short.”
“LCA, Lord”. Having been weekend by years of fasting the man was now disoriented by Gods jargonism.
“ Yes LCA, which mandates that the balance of blessings and problems in a person’s life will be maintained to a fine tuned ratio of 1.12967357. How we have arrived at this karmic ratio I cannot disclose but essentially I cannot take away your troubles without correspondingly reducing your blessings to maintain the ratio.”
“ Oh I see” The man was disappointed. “But you are God”. He stammered. “There must be something you can do. Some discretionary power you might have on this LCA or some conditional waivers that you can offer me”.
“Well son, since you mention it, though I cannot take away your troubles entirely, but I can give you designer troubles by replacing current ones with ones of equivalent value. So say, I can get your son released from jail but he might have to die sooner than his current life span of 68 years. I can make your ear and migraine better and can replace them with a low grade persistent anxiety or if you want occasional panic attacks. I can make you richer but in that case you might have to be in courts for long periods to fight the property litigation that your family will bring on you. So let me know if you want your current set of troubles replaced by another set “.
The man had expected a clean deal from God. This trouble exchange scheme was not what all his mythological readings had led him to expect. He thought long and hard and realized that he was better off with his current set of problems only. At least he knew about them and had adapted to them to some extent. Fresh lot of troubles would mean re-orienting self again from the beginning. An existing cut on hand, he concluded, is better than a date with knife.
“No lord I do not want my current lot of problems replaced” He finally said without being able to conceal hint of disappointment that crept in his voice over the wasted effort .
“As you please. However son, before I go, for your efforts there is something that I can still give you though you didn’t ask me for it”.
“Oh really great. What is that” The man wanted to know, a little consoled.
“A wider smile, to bear your current troubles with”. The Lord offered.