Tag Archives: Humanity

Faithful Or Faithless?

It is a practice started since last few months, of doing one’s bit in this lockdown period.

Of the many street vendors, there was this man selling flutes. The flutes were mounted on a central support which he hoisted on his shoulder.  As he went around, he would announce himself to the flat-dwellers by playing some popular tune on his flute. It was once a week or in ten days.

Times are tough. Buyers, mainly children, were not exactly flocking. Feeling sorry for him, it became my routine to go down hurriedly to catch him before he moved away and thrust the money into his hands. Initially I had to explain to him. Not anymore. He knows I’m not buying anything. We would exchange namaste with a smile and be done. With an act that might dent the self-respect even a wee-bit of a man who was putting in honest work to earn a living – wasn’t a alms seeker – it was embarrassing to prolong the interaction beyond the minimum. Also it couldn’t be more substantial than what it was.

So, it was a couple of days ago. I heard him – I mean his tune – and rushed down.  Finding the rupees from one of those half a dozen purses lying around, most of them empty, then putting on the face-mask and then carrying my bulk down the stairs, panting thru the mask, took a little while. By then, he had moved. It was not a problem without remedy – I could always call out to him. But this time from where I stood, I could see he was not my regular, but a new guy wearing a characteristic lungi.  I came away. I did not want to begin servicing a queue of new guys besides the regular. For, I had plans to spread out my meager resources over more regulars in the beat.

‘So what? You should have given him something, may be not as much as you give your regular,’ my wife said.

So, I grabbed a fifty and went down again. He had moved even farther down. A watchman of the building (apartment complex) opposite ours knew my routine – he let out a high-decibel shout, getting the flute-seller’s attention.

He turned around and slowly made his way to me. He was an old man, his teeth hopelessly paan-stained. I gave him the rupees I carried adding a short explanation. He recovered quickly and blessed me in the name of all-kind Allah. And, looking at me clad in southie-style dhoti and only a towel covering my upper torso – remember, I came down in a hurry? – he hastened to add ‘Jai Shri Ram.’

Given my strong leanings, I should have been thrilled. Somehow I was not. That he felt compelled to say left me strangely sad. Was I imagining? I was also kicking myself for not having carried the usual hundred. Hope he lets me make amends in the days ahead.

A voice in me said Shri Ram approves.

End

Good Reasons To Be…

…doing the right thing!

A story from Africa vide V Narayanan

**

At the time of the great King Obatala:

Three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him:

‘O King!! This man has murdered our father.’

Obatala: ‘Why did you kill their father?’ 

Young man: ‘I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and it died; so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.’

Obatala: ‘Because of this, I pass judgment, on charge of murder, by sentencing you to death.’

The Young man said: ‘Oh King, I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.’

Obatala: ‘Who will stand for your bail?’ 

The Young man looking into the crowd, pointed at Lamurudu.

Obatala asked: ‘Do you agree to stand for him, Lamurudu?’

Lamurudu answered, ‘Beeni (yes).’

Obatala enquired further: ‘You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.’

Lamurudu answered: ‘I accept.’

The Young man left; but after two days and into the third day, there was still no sign of the Young man. 

Everyone was afraid and sorry for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.

Just before it was time for meting out the punishment to the poor Lamurudu, the goat herdsman  appeared looking very exhausted and he stood before King Obatala. 

The Young man spoke up: ‘I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I am back to receive the penalty. You may execute the penalty now.’

In great shock and surprise, Obatala said: ‘And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?’ 

Young man: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost integrity and the ability to fulfill promises kept.’

Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu and asked him:  ‘And why did you stand for him?’

Lamurudu responded: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost the will to do good to others.’ 

These words and events moved the complainant  brothers who had  wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herdsman. 

A furious Obatala asked: ‘Why?!!’

They said: ‘It would then appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.’

End

So You See Him…

A busy road in the city…the sidewalks too, men and women in a hurry to get wherever.

And, here this young man, well-dressed, spiritedly selling towels…switching easily from Tamizh to Hindi to English.  

I watched him for a while from a distance. Curious, walked up and engaged him.

Was surprised to learn he worked for a well-known IT firm!

Looked at him quizzingly: Then what was he doing here?

Well, passing by, he had observed this man trying to sell his stuff to people who wouldn’t pause to take their breath…obviously tired from the effort.

Moved by his plight, the young man wanted to do something for him – he offered him some money.  The old man was too proud to accept.

So here he is…doing the next best thing he could think of – standing in the place of the old man and selling his wares!

End


‎Source:
Elango Velur Thiruturaipoondi Tiruvarur‎ to இயற்கை மற்றும் பசுமை