Layout of the Computer Keyboard

In an idle reverie, I sat admiring the person who designed the computer keyboard. The QWERTY format is a legacy from the typewriter, and it was arrived at after a great deal of research. However the rest of the keys have evolved more recently. Amongst the most prominent keys is the ‘delete’ button. Most often, it is placed at a prominent place, and is larger than other keys. On my keyboard (picture given above) it is twice the size of the alphabet keys, and its place of pride is next only to the ‘shift’ key which has a very vital function. It suddenly struck me that this design conveys a very important lesson for all of us, and we can lessen a lot of burden on our souls if we learn from it. Before I come to it, let me narrate a brief anecdote which is relevant to the message.

The story of a Monk and a geisha girl

Once, a geisha girl was going for a very important programme, decked up in her best attire. On the road to her venue, there was a big puddle, and she was afraid that her dress would get soiled. Suddenly, she saw two monks coming that way, but since the Buddhist vows do not permit them to even look towards women, she did not expect any help from those ascetics. To her great surprise, the elder of the two celibate men came over to her. Without talking a single word, he picked her up and carried her across that water obstacle. His younger colleague was shocked beyond words, but since they had taken a vow of silence for ten days, he said nothing. In due course, when their ‘silence period’ ended, the younger disciple went to his senior, and gave vent to his anguish and dismay at the incident which seemed to bother him night and day. What the older monk said in reply is of great importance: “Yes, I did touch her, and if you noticed, I dropped her as soon as possible. But you seem to be   still carrying her!”


Ensconced in this parable is a great deal of wisdom. The older monk had taught two lessons to his younger friend: One, ‘if a rule prevents you from doing a good turn, its violation is not a sin‘ and two, ‘it is good to deliberately forget whatever is not worthy of remembering’ My prayer and wish for all my friends for the new year that begins tomorrow is:

“May the Lord give you the sagacity to forget all the evil thoughts which may have accumulated in your memory over the years. May you commence the new year with no baggage that clutters your soul”


Please note that whoever designed the keyboard for the computers has given a very prominent position to the ‘delete’ button. We need to insert it in our minds and use it effectively. Gather all the unhappy memories and negative feelings; put them in a ‘file’. Then place the cursor on it and press the ‘Delete’ key!

Contained in this prayer is the hope that when you forget, you will also acquire the courage to forgive. Once, a Christian friend quoted the following words of wisdom which he had heard during the sermon in the church,

Jesus, you ask us to forgive those who hurt us, but we often fail to forgive because of pride and anger.

  1. Ashish Puri says:

    Get the link of the post from facebook.. Nicely written with beautiful message.
    But the difficult part is to decide what is worth keeping and what is worth deleting..

  2. YN Sharma says:

    Thanks Surjit.

    A meaningful story with a profound message,so well told. Bravo.


  3. Col Anil Bhalla says:

    You Cannot suffer the Past or Future because they do not Exist. What
    you are suffering is your Memory and your Imagination

    Think only of NOW!

    Anil Bhalla

  4. Col RL Gupta says:

    Pleased to read the piece referred to. This association with the key ‘delete’ reminds me of Virginia Woolf and the stream of consciousness technique she used for her novels.

    The ability to forget is but a god given blessing. Those who carry all the unpleasant happenings of their life in their memory box, like valuable family heirlooms, can never forgive. They make their present miserable by continuously blaming and hating the people associated with such happenings.


  5. Col Parminder Singh says:

    Fantastic,as usual.
    May I also take this opportunity to wish you,madam and your near and dear ones a Happy Diwali.

  6. Rashmi Oberoi says:

    Thank you Uncle…
    Very lovely piece from you too.
    The words leave an everlasting memory of images.
    Much love always.

  7. Lt Col MN Kelkar says:

    Dear Surjit and Mrs Surinder,
    Thanks. Pardon me; I won’t ever hit delete key, realizing thoughts that produced the write up, but would like to admit (no soldier) can forgive the mortals reflecting dis-respect for defenders of sovereignty of the country!

  8. Jitendra Tiwari says:

    Dear Sir

    Thank you so much for your wishes.

    I went through the link sent by you. It is an amazing piece of learning.

    Sincere thanks to you for sharing it.



  9. AVM RP Mishra says:

    Dear General Surjit,
    I clicked on the link provided by you.
    Very well written.

  10. J Thomas says:

    Thanks Surjit for yet another reminder. We’re heading home this afternoon.

    Happy Diwali to all.

  11. colls says:

    Such thoughts can come from Surjitji Sir only
    CSM in a recent talkwith ..dsurkh
    he did not only delete my story
    but nearly deleted
    me along with it

    Thanks we all do
    now having read you
    I am likely to delete all
    but you two
    Surjit and DSurkh
    after you send the fresh


    Ma’am Surrinder

  12. Maj. Gen. K.P.Deswal says:

    A very well penned down thought. All of us use the delete button at the slightest opportunity without giving any thought while doing so. But the best policy is to forget and forgive.

  13. Dev says:

    Excellent writing as usual – so true and full of wisdom, indeed ! By the way it was great talking to you the other day. I am still awaitinginformation regarding obtaining 2nd Edition copies of the Book.

    Wishing you and Surinder Ji a Very Happy New Year – 2011

    Love and best wishes

    KD & Jessie

  14. Bajaj says:

    It is right up there on the right which controls the heart and the left so best that baggage is left!!! However, carrying a pretty girl is another matter and should be left to Karmayogis like us and not monks!!!

    Happy New Year.

  15. Satbir Singh says:

    Thanks for the beautiful thought penned down by you as wish for the New year 2011.

    Wishing you and all members of the family a Very Happy New Year 2011 .

  16. Lt Gen R K Gaur says:

    Thank you S&S for a very important lesson on life.

  17. Gurwinder Pal Julka says:

    Great one, Sir.

    Thank you for your warm greetings.

    Best wishes for a Very Happy New Year to all of you too.

  18. Gurdayal Singh says:

    Thanks for the timely suggestion for New year’s resolution which all senior citizens must make, ” Forgive and forget any past grievances”. Otherwise, it would be too heavy a burden to carry,

    Thanks. Wish you all the best in the new year.

  19. Mirza Yawar Baig says:

    Wonderful story and thanks for the good wishes General sahib. All the best to you and Madam.

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