When my children were quite tiny, I made a trip to New York to visit my parents, and when returning decided I would fill my suitcases with gifts for them and also my wife. 

I stared at the amazing stuff being sold in the stores and was dazzled by the boxes, the pictures on them and glossy covers used. I picked up the gifts one after the other.

The next day I tried to fit all the different packages into my suitcase and found I couldn't. My father who was watching told me he would help me do the needful. "How?" I asked him, though knowing he had once owned a packing company. "By taking the gifts out of their fancy boxes," he said simply.

For the next few minutes, I watched with dismay as he took out ordinary looking toys, dolls and other plain stuff from beautiful boxes and put them into my suitcase.

I still remember the strange looks that came into the eyes of my children as I gave it to them on my return home.

The packaging had sure fooled me.

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university lecturer. All of them soon started speaking of stress in their work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones! While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, this could also be the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."

"Now, if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, but the quality of life doesn't change. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it. So, folks, don't let the cups drive you...learn to enjoy the coffee instead!"

So true, isn't it, we go through life fooled by the cup or the packaging, we invest in luxury houses or fancy cars hoping it will bring us happiness not realizing a happy home or the coffee can exist in simplicity.

I love good coffee, and I'm sure you all do, but let's not fall for the cup, like it happened to me in New York, many moons ago..!

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