Saturday, September 6, 2008

Everyone Makes Mistakes

AC - Story Telling (Project V)
Bringing History to Life
September 5, 2008


How many of you have made mistakes in your life? Oh ! This is a dumb question. Everyone in this world makes mistakes. From great presidents to poor residents, everyone makes mistakes - no exceptions.

When we were kids, we made mistakes unknowingly. Our parents used to correct us. When we grew up, we hardly listen to what our parents say.

You might be familiar about Gandhi - the leader who was behind India's Independence. Gandhi was known for non-violence. Gandhi was known for adopting vegetarian diet. Gandhi was known for peace. Some of you may even think, you've to be born with these qualities to be famous like Gandhi. But, it is not TRUE. Gandhi was a common man like you & me. He has made several mistakes when he was a youth. So, what differentiates Gandhi from the rest of this world? Well, he corrected his mistakes. He took control over his mistakes before his mistakes took control over him.

Today you are going to hear the story of Gandhi that was least told. You are going to learn about the darker side of Gandhi. You are going to get drenched in surprise. These are real facts, based on the information from Gandhi's own biography - "My Experiments with Truth".

Meat Eating

Would you believe if I tell you that Gandhi ate non-vegetarian food? Could you imagine little Gandhi having chicken soup, & spicy lamb curry, without his parents knowing it?

Gandhi is a vegetarian by birth. However, he was always worried that he wasn't strong enough like his friends who are meat eaters. Gandhi was scared of ghosts, thieves, & snakes. He never slept alone in darkness. He used to imagine that he'll be haunted by ghosts on one side, and thieves on the other side. One of his friends told Gandhi, “You can become strong if you eat meat. Look at me... I'm not scared of ghosts. I'm not scared of thieves. I'm stronger than you. Even some of our teachers eat meat. Do you think they are fools? Indians are so weak because they do not eat meat. Look at the British. They all are meat eaters. That is the reason, they are ruling us”.

Gandhi was persuaded by his friends arguments. Gandhi decided to eat meat. His friend prepared & brought him delicious meat dishes. They both went to a lonely place near the river to have the feast. Gandhi didn't like it initially, but his passion to become stronger forced him to be a meat eater. Whenever he ate meat, he couldn't get a proper sleep. He felt as if a goat was jumping & making noise inside his tummy.

His parents didn't knew about this habit. Whenever his mom asks why he is skipping a meal, he would LIE that he is not hungry. This went on for about a year. Gandhi felt guilty of lying to his parents. His conscious pricked him everyday. Hiding the truth haunted him every night. The “imaginary goat” that was inside his tummy, started shouting louder & louder. He finally decided to give up the meat eating habit. Since then, Gandhi never touched meat in his life.


Meat eating was just one of the several mistakes that Gandhi did during his childhood. Gandhi was also attracted to smoking cigars. He found pleasure in emitting clouds of smoke from his mouth. At first, he started smoking with the stumps thrown away by his uncle. However, those stumps were small and couldn't emit much smoke. Then, he experimented smoking with stumps of certain types of plants. That didn't satisfy his passion, as well.

Cigars were too costly and he couldn't afford them. So, he started to STEAL money from his servant to buy cigars. This went on for a while until he realized that stealing money from a poor servant is a great sin. He felt ashame of stealing money. Gandhi then decided to give up his smoking habit as well.


Gandhi got married to his wife at a very young age. In those days, kids used to live in their respective parents' house after marriage. They hardly get to meet each other. Gandhi started living with his wife after their 5th wedding anniversary. During those days, Gandhi's mind was filled with lust than love.

There were a few occasions when Gandhi was close to committing the biggest sin in his life. His bad acquaintance took him to even prostitutes. Fortunately, the turn of events brought him safe out of such situations. Gandhi was glad that he didn't commit that mistake.


Look at the early stages of Gandhi's life. He was just an ordinary person. He has done all the mistakes that you & I have done in our life. Gandhi was not born a Mahatma. But he inherited habits that turned him into a Mahatma. Gandhi made several mistakes like any of us would. But, he corrected them at the right time.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we do it knowingly, sometimes we do it unknowingly. Whenever you make mistakes you have two choices – you can continue to repeat the mistake again & again (or) you can acknowledge & correct the mistake.

Think about the mistakes that you make in life - at home, at work & in your toastmaster sessions. You have a choice. You can repeat the mistakes (or) correct them. I'm confident that you'll choose the later.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy reading your articles, especially the ones in this storytelling manual. Thank you for sharing!