Excerpt for AKHYAYIKAS : 100 Short Stories and Anecdotes that Inspire and Coach by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


100 Short Stories and Anecdotes

that Inspire and Coach

Rajesh Seshadri


© Copyright 2018 Rajesh Seshadri

Smashwords Edition, Licence Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favourite e-book retailer and purchase your own copy.

This book is dedicated to all story-tellers, known and unknown, who have significantly impacted human thought and behaviour. The beauty of stories is that they move, teach, ignite, inspire and motivate without appearing to do so. Lecturing and preaching may have little impact on teenagers and young adults, least with mature adults; but stories have an inexorable way of getting the message across.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

I claim no ownership over the stories themselves, which originate from tales I have heard or been told throughout my life; they belong solely to their narrators, authors, writers or creators, which for this book are either unknown or unavailable; the stories themselves have however been edited, improvised upon and embellished where necessary. I shall endeavour to systematically edit this book to include sources where I can and remove any story that may unintentionally have been infringing on any copyright.

Although I have made every possible effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at publishing time, I do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.


About the Author



Be the Boss

Judge not

You First

The Empty Box

A Glass of Milk

The One-Eyed Mother

Taking it for granted


Leaving a Good Taste


The Guidepost

The Meaning of Silence

Uneven Ducks

Put the Glass Down!

No Witnesses

The Complication

Truth is Deceptive

The Container and Contents

What Goes Around


Through the Looking Glass

Thinking On Your Feet

The River of Difficulty

Truly Yours


The Buddha is Abused

A Wonderful World

A Buddha is Among You

The Burden



The Cloak

Teething Trouble

Your Greatest Weakness

Being Lively


Hang Them Up


The Power of Thought

Easier to Judge


Neither Here nor There

The Glittering Necklace

Half Full or Half Empty

The Bicycle

Painting the World Green

Shake it off and Step Up


Charity wrapped in Dignity

Partial Knowledge


Priority Check

The Challenge


Making the most of what you have

Problem vs Opportunity


The Two Wolves


Be Deaf!

When the World Says NO


Winning over a Foe

The hole in the Boat

The Value of Life

Experiential Learning

Be Proactive

The Sheer Force of Habit


Problem Solving

Making a Difference

The Smartest Man in the World


Life Purpose



Obsessive Compulsive

The Inevitable

The Triple Filter Test

Rich Forever


The Gold Ring

The White Elephant

The Three Trees


True Generosity

The Ice-Cream Engineer

When Your Hut is on Fire

The Magical Begging-Bowl

The Apple Tree

Nuts and Bolts

The Interview

The Invisible Angel


Be There!


Situational Leadership

The Bronze Rat

The Fox and the Lion


About the Author

"So often, I can feel the energy shift in the room as people take in the impact of what a simple poignant story can express. No number of lectures, power points or vision and mission statements can so pithily and impressively convey what a story can." – Rajesh Seshadri

In addition to being a seasoned corporate professional who has risen from the grassroots to C-suite levels in a career spanning almost three decades, Rajesh Seshadri continues to don multiple hats – that of an author, leadership coach, life coach, mentor and trainer. He has been and is a CXO and a director on the board of several multinational organizations.

He is a Fellow Member of the ICAI – FCMA in addition to having a dual PGD in Finance & Human Resource Management. His enthusiasm to help people unearth and unleash their potential, grow and develop led him to learn various psychological tools including clinical hypnotherapy, Advanced NLP, Gestalt and Silva Ultra. He is a certified Leadership Coach and certified Life Coach and a member of various bodies and associations, including the APA, AAH, ISTD, AIMA and BMA.

The author has often relied on stories in coaching, training, and therapy and has found it immensely invaluable, even to the extent of using metaphor in corporate meetings and discussions. This is primarily because the ‘listener’ does not respond to the story as an ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’.

He is also the founder/creator of Nirmiti Nidra, evolved after a period of intermittent practice and experimentation with various techniques to help every human being access his subconscious mind and reach the meditative or hypnotic state effortlessly. Nirmiti Nidra is unparalleled in its approach, simplicity and effectiveness, has been imparted to over a thousand people through workshops. The program is often conducted free for schools and institutions.

"The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories."

--Mary Catherine Bateson


Metaphorical thinking is fundamental to cognition, communication and our ‘narrative mind’. This makes it a valuable tool for helping friends, family, colleagues and clients gain new perspectives on their lives. Using a metaphor is a helpful way of talking about emotional and relational experience.

The mind has the capacity to understand new ideas by relating them to concepts it is familiar with. Using metaphor has been a tradition in all the major schools of therapy and is a particularly helpful way of talking about emotional and relational experience.

I often rely on stories in coaching, training, workshops and therapy and have found it immensely invaluable. This is because the “listener” does not respond to the story as an “opinion” or “advice” from me. Neither does the image he has of me as a person / individual filter the content or create a barrier in the way his mind would digest and assimilate the narrative.

So often, I can feel the energy shift in the room as people take in the impact of what a simple poignant story can express. No number of lectures, power points or vision and mission statements can so pithily and impressively convey what a story can. Whether you acknowledge it or not, each little story in this book will leave an imprint on your mind, as it has done on mine. I can honestly and gratefully attribute several learnings in my life span to stories.


If I told you that this book was written especially for you, you would perhaps laugh it off. You would find it incredulous. Yet, right now, of all the places you could have been and of all the things you could be doing, you have purchased or downloaded and are reading this book. Or perhaps it was gifted to you by a friend and you decided to go ahead and see what the book is all about.

I am happy you are reading this book and for the changes that will certainly occur. Whether you believe it or not, every story in this book will leave an imprint on your mind. I take the liberty of stating further it is neither an accident nor a coincidence.

The Universe have a funny way of bringing us to the exact people, places, circumstances, and messages that our souls are calling for at the right time. This phenomenon of apparently meaningful coincidences is what Dr. Deepak Chopra calls synchronicity.

Yet, this is not a novel! So reading it the way you read novels would be near impossible. Feel free to jump to any page at random and the story you happen to read will make perfect sense to you in terms of timing and meaning! Let me know if it doesn’t!

I won’t keep you from the stories any longer. May this book bring you newfound understanding, joy, hope, peace, learning, illumination or anything that you wish for.

"A lost coin is found by means of a candle; the deepest truth is found by means of a simple story." - Anthony De Mello

Be the Boss

A horse suddenly came galloping swiftly down the road. It appears the man had somewhere important to go.

Another man, who was standing alongside the road, shouted, “Where are you going?” and the man on the horse replied, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!”

This short, well known Zen story has a powerful teaching behind it. The horse is symbolic of our habitual energy, or what drives us on auto-pilot most times. This story tells us the funny way we usually live: at the mercy of our habits that haven't come from intentional actions, but rather mindless activity and surroundings instead.

Our habitual energy drags us along, pulling us in every direction at a hurried pace and we don't even know why. Stop to ask yourself why you are running around so much, and you might be surprised at the lack of answers coming forth. And when you do find an answer, it's usually not a great one. You've become used to it because that is how we were taught to live.

Forget the running around aimlessly, it gets us nowhere. Learn how to take the reins and let the horse know who is the boss.

Judge not

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit.

“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

No event can be judged in a conclusive manner. Our lives aren't fictional plays with “Acts” and “Stages” - there aren't absolute breaks which separate one moment from another, and there isn't one final formula which everything leads up to.

You First

There was once a pair of acrobats. The teacher was a poor widower and the student was a young girl by the name of Mili. These acrobats performed each day on the streets to earn enough to eat.

Their act consisted of the teacher balancing a tall bamboo pole on his head while the little girl climbed slowly to the top. Once to the top, she remained there while the teacher walked along the ground.

Both performers had to maintain complete focus and balance to prevent any injury from occurring and to complete the performance. One day, the teacher said to the pupil: “Listen Mili, I will watch you and you watch me, so that we can help each other maintain concentration and balance and prevent an accident. Then we’ll surely earn enough to eat.”

But the little girl was wise, she answered, “Dear master, I think it would be better for each of us to watch ourselves. To look after oneself means to look after both of us. That way I am sure we will avoid any accidents and earn enough to eat.”

This story was said to have been taught by the Buddha himself. It is meant to show that taking care of yourself is imperative to take care of others. We must help ourselves in order to help anyone else.

The Empty Box

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."

He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.

He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside it?"

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Is there anything more precious than unconditional love?

The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well. - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

A Glass of Milk

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water.

She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."

He said, "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Many years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval.

He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally, she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.

She read these words.....

Paid in full with one glass of milk.


Dr. Howard Kelly

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. - Aesop

The One-Eyed Mother

Vincent’s mom had only one eye.

Vincent hated it because she was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.

There was this one day when he was in primary school and a Parent-Teacher meet was organized. He was so embarrassed that he ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out.

The next day at school, several of his classmates and many others pointed out to him, “Hey - your mom only has one eye!”

He wanted to bury himself. He wished his mom would just disappear.

He confronted her that day and said, “Could you stop making me a laughing stock amongst people?”

His mom did not respond, but she did ensure that she never came to visit him in school again.

Vincent was so full of anger that he was oblivious of her feelings, he didn’t even ponder or spare a second thought to what he had said. He wanted to have nothing to do with her, he just wanted to go out of that house, so he studied real hard, got a scholarship and went abroad to study.

Over time, he got married, bought a house of his own and was a proud father of two kids. One day, his Mother paid them a surprise visit. She hadn’t seen him for many years and she had never met his grandchildren – she was so eager to meet his grandchildren.

When she stood by the door, his children stared at her in horror, and Vincent yelled at her for coming over uninvited. “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! Get out of here – NOW!”

His mother quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address.”

One day, a letter regarding an old school reunion came to Vincent’s house. After the reunion, he went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

His neighbours told him that she had passed away – Vincent did not shed a single tear. They handed him a letter that she had wanted him to have, in case he ever visited.

My dearest and only son,

I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children. I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

You see when you were very little, you got into an accident, slipped into a coma, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine. I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

With all my love to you,

Your mother.”

Taking it for granted

That evening, Brij quarrelled with his mom and then stormed out of the house.

On the way, he remembered that he did not have any money in his pocket; in fact he did not even have enough coins to make a phone call home.

At that time, he happened to pass by a street hawker, who amongst other things, was selling noodles. The fragrance wafted through the air and suddenly, he felt very hungry.

The seller saw him hesitating and faltering even as he was eyeing what was on offer.

He asked, “Hey young lad, you want to eat a bowl of noodles?”

Brij replied, a touch of remorse in his speech, “I have no money, I ran away from my home but forgot to take what little I had saved. In fact, I have no money to make a call to my home either, I don’t know what to do.”

The seller looked at him kindly, “Here, I will cook you a bowl.”

As Brij scooped the first batch noodles into his mouth with relish, tears streamed from eyes.

“What happened?” asked the seller.

Nothing. I am just touched by your kindness”, Brij said as he wiped away the tears.

The seller sighed and said, “Young lad, I am surprised how you think. Think again. I only gave you a bowl of noodles and you felt that way. Your mother had raised you since you were born, what happened to your sense of gratitude then?”

Why did I not think of that? A bowl of noodles from a stranger made me feel indebted, and my mother has raised me from birth and I have never felt grateful. I think I have taken her for granted.”

The seller lent him a few coins to take a bus home and Brij rushed into his mother’s arms, forever indebted.

Sometimes, we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favourite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.


The prestigious hotel group had invited Mr. Masai Imai from Japan to hold a workshop for its staff.

The staff were very sceptical - the hotel is doing excellent business, this person from Japan has no exposure to hotel industry - what exactly is he going to teach?

But everybody gathered as planned for the workshop in the conference hall sharp at 9 am.

Mr. Masai was introduced to them - a not so impressive personality, nor the English all that good; spoke as if he was first formulating each sentence in Japanese and then translating it into rather clumsy English.

"Good morning! Let's start work. I am told this is a workshop; but I see neither work nor shop. So let's proceed where work is happening Let's start with the first room on the first floor."

Mr. Masai, followed by the senior management, the participants, the video camera crew trouped out of the conference room and proceeded to the destination.

That happened to be the laundry room of the hotel. Mr. Masai entered the room and stood at the window, "Beautiful view!" he said.

The staff knew it; they need not invite a Japanese consultant to tell them this!

"A room with such a beautiful view is being wasted as a laundry room. Shift the laundry to the basement and convert this into a guest room."

Aha! Now nobody had ever thought about that!

The manager said, "Yes, it can be done."

"Then let's do it," Mr. Masai said.

"Yes sir, I will make a note of this and we will include it in the report on the workshop that will be prepared." Said the Manager

"Excuse me, but there is nothing to note down in this. Let's just do it, right now." Mr. Masai.

"Right now?"

"Yes, decide on a room on the ground floor/basement and shift the stuff out of this room right away. It should take a couple of hours, right?" asked Mr. Masai.

"Yes." Said the Manager.

"Let's come back here just before lunch. By then all this stuff will have got shifted out and the room must be ready with the carpets, furniture etc. and from today you can start earning the few thousand that you charge your customers for a night."

"Ok, Sir." The manager had no option.

The next destination was the pantry. The group entered. At the entrance were two huge sinks full of plates to be washed.

Mr. Masai removed his jacket and started washing the plates.

"Sir, Please, what are you doing?" the manager didn't know what to say and what to do.

"Why, I am washing the plates", Mr. Masai.

"But sir, there is staff here to do that." Manager Mr. Masai continued washing, "I think sink is for washing plates, there are stands here to keep the plates and the plates should go into the stands."

All the officials wondered - did they require a consultant to tell them this?

After finishing the job, Mr. Masai asked, "How many plates do you have?'

"Plenty, so that there should never be any shortage." answered the Manager.

Mr. Masai said, "We have a word in Japanese -'Muda'. Muda means delay, Muda means unnecessary spending. One lesson to be learned in this workshop is to avoid both. If you have plenty of plates, there will be delay in cleaning them up. The first step to correct this situation is to remove all the excess plates."

"Yes, we will say this in the report." Manager.

"No, wasting our time in writing the report is again an instance of 'Muda'. We must pack the extra plates in a box right away and send these to whichever other section of Taj requires these. Throughout the workshop now we will find out where all we find this 'Muda' hidden."

And then at every spot and session, the staff eagerly awaited to find out Muda and learn how to avoid it.

On the last day, Mr. Masai told a story: "A Japanese and an American, both fond of hunting, met in a jungle. They entered deep jungle and suddenly realized that they had run out of bullets. Just then they heard a lion roaring. Both started running. But the Japanese took a short break to put on his sports shoes.

The American said, "What are you doing? We must first get to the car."

The Japanese responded, "No. I only have to ensure that I remain ahead of you."

All the participants engrossed in listening to the story, realized suddenly that the lion would stop after getting his victim!

"The lesson is: competition in today's world is so fierce, that it is important to stay ahead of other, even by just a couple of steps. And you have such a huge and naturally well-endowed country. If you remember to curtail your production expenditure and give the best quality always, you will be miles ahead as compared to so many other countries in the world.", concluded Mr. Masai.

It is never late to learn – let us take the MUDA out of our lives!

Efficiency is doing things right, Effectiveness is doing the right things - Peter Drucker

Leaving a Good Taste

There was an old man who was admitted in a hospital.

A young man was visiting him every day and sits with him for more than one hour. He helps him eat his food, and to take his shower.

Then he takes him walking in the garden of the hospital. After that he brings him back to his room and helps him to lie down.

He goes away after reassuring himself that the old man is doing well.

One day the nurse entered his room, to give him medicine and inspect his condition, and said to him: "May the Lord be always gracious to your kind and caring son. Every day he visits you and shows great care."

The old man looked at her and closed his eyes and said to her: "I wish it was one of my children. This is an orphan from the neighbourhood where we live. I met him one day in the past, crying at the door of a Temple, after his father died. I comforted him and bought for him candy. I neither saw him nor talked to him for a very long time. When he grew up and came to discover where my wife and I were living. He was visiting us every day to inspect our conditions. When I later fell sick, he took my old wife to his home. He then comes to the hospital to see my treatment every day.

One day I asked him: "My son why do you have to deal with us and care about us?"

He simply smiled and then said: "The taste of the candy is still in my mouth."


At the point of death, Tom Smith called his children and he advised them to follow his footsteps so that they can have peace of mind in all that they do.

His daughter, Sara, said, "Daddy, it is unfortunate you are dying without a penny in your bank. Other fathers that you tag as being greedy, corrupt, thieves of public funds left houses and properties for their children; even this house we live in is a rented apartment. Sorry, I can't emulate you, just go, let's chart our own course.

Few moments later, their father gave up the spirit.

Three years later, Sara went for an interview in a multinational company.

At interview the Chairman of the committee asked, "Which Smith are you?"

Sara replied, "I am Sara Smith. My Dad Tom Smith is now late….."

Chairman cuts in, "O my God, you are Tom Smith's daughter?"

He turned to the other members and said, "This Smith man was the one that signed my membership form into the Institute of Administrators and his recommendation earned me where I am today. He did all these free. I didn't even know his address, he never knew me. He just did it for me."

He turned to Sara, "I have no questions for you, consider yourself as having gotten this job, come tomorrow, your letter will be waiting for you."

Sara Smith became the Corporate Affairs Manager of the company with two Cars with Drivers, A duplex attached to the office, and a salary of £1,000,000 per month excluding allowances and other costs.

After two years of working in the company, the MD of the company came from America to announce his intention to resign and needed a replacement. A personality with high integrity was sought after, again the company's consultant nominated Sara Smith.

In an interview, she was asked the secret of her success.

With tears, she replied, "My Daddy paved these ways for me. It was after he died that I knew that he was financially poor but immensely rich in integrity, discipline and honesty".

She was asked again, why she is weeping since she is no longer a kid as to miss her dad still after a long time.

She replied, "At the point of death, I insulted my dad for being an honest man of integrity. I hope he will forgive me in his grave now. I didn't work for all these, he did it for me to just walk in".

So, finally she was asked, "Will you follow your father's footsteps as he requested?"

And her simple answer was, "l now adore the man, I have a big picture of him in my living room and at the entrance of my house. He deserves whatever I have after God".

Leave a good heritage for your children

The Guidepost

The son didn’t like living in his father’s house. This was because of his father’s constant ‘nagging’ -

“You are leaving the room without switching off the fan”

“The TV is on in the room where there is no one. Switch it off!”

“Keep the pen in the stand; it is fallen down”

The son didn’t like his father nagging him for these minor things. He had to tolerate these things till yesterday since he was with them in the same house.

But today, however, he had an invitation for a job interview. “As soon as I get the job, I should leave this town. There won’t be any nagging from my father” were his thoughts.

As he was about to leave for the interview, the father advised: “Answer the questions put to you without any hesitation. Even if you don’t know the answer, mention that confidently.” His gave him more money than he actually needed to attend the interview.

The son arrived at the interview centre. He noticed that there were no security guards at the gate. Even though the door was open, the latch was protruding out probably hitting the people entering through the door. He put the latch back properly, closed the door and entered the office.

On both sides of the pathway he could see beautiful flower plants. The gardener had kept the water running in the hose-pipe and was not to be seen anywhere. The water was overflowing on the pathway. He lifted the hosepipe and placed it near one of the plants and went further.

There was no one in the reception area. However, there was a notice saying that the interview was on the first floor. He slowly climbed the stairs.

The light that was switched on last night was still burning at 10 am in the morning. He remembered his father’s admonition, “Why are you leaving the room without switching off the light?” and thought he could still hear that now. Even though he felt irritated by that thought, he sought the switch and switched off the light.

Upstairs in a large hall he could see many aspirants sitting waiting for their turn. He looked at the number of people and wondered if he had any chance of getting the job.

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-23 show above.)