Source: A WhatsApp forward
It was the night of 30th Dec. And it was cold out there.
They were returning from a party at a friend’s place.
As they were hitting the main road, at the corner he caught sight of a homeless beggar squat on the pavement and pulling tight around himself a torn shawl, not entirely successful in holding off the shivering cold.
He slowed down and stopped the car a little distance ahead.
‘What happened? Why’re you stopping the car? Any problem?’ his wife got a wee bit tense.
‘No, nothing wrong with the car. Look there, an old man shivering in cold.’
‘We have a shawl with us in there. Let’s give it to him.’
‘What? That expensive stuff we bought for my mom?’
’Let me get it…what to do? There’s nothing else to spare…we’ll get another one for your mom.’
‘You know what? He is not going to use it, let me tell you. He’ll trade it in for some weed. They do it all the time.’
He picked up the shawl from the seat behind and got down.
Went up to the man, draped the shawl around the startled man fearing worse. Stepped back to have a look. With a wave of has hand, left him behind and returned to the car.
They came home in silence.
On 31st night once again there was a party they attended more or less in the same area.
Later they took the same route on the way back home.
The homeless beggar was at his spot.
‘See, what I told you, I can’t see the shawl,’ observed the wife.
He stopped the car and both of them got down.
‘What Baba, where’s the shawl we gave you yesterday? Bought yourself some ganja with it, eh?’ the wife said mockingly.
A bony arm stuck out pointing to a figure crouching on the pavement some distance away, shrouded in what appeared to be the shawl.
His voice was tremulous: ‘One leg, polio affected. Draws unwelcome attention from passers-by. She is without clothes even to cover herself properly. At least I have this for myself.’
They returned to their car without a word. She was sure there was another shawl in the bedroom closet.
‘Did you taste the bananas I had sent for you yesterday?’
‘Yes, it was very tasty indeed,’ Krishna smiled.
‘It’s a special variety I had planted this season. What I sent you was the first ‘thaar’ (bunch) of the season from the field.’
‘But you sent just one.’
‘Just one? I had personally handed over an entire ‘thaar’, not keeping even one for our home.’
‘Don’t know about that, but I got to eat just one and it was delicious, not the usual stuff.’
‘That’s surprising…never mind, today I’ll personally come with two thaar’s since you liked it so much. Be there till I turn up, don’t go away; I’ll surely come…will surely come…will surely come…’
‘Enga (Hey), where are you going to and where are you coming from? Wake up, it’s morning. You were dreaming,’ his wife was standing beside him.
The devout mirasdar (landlord), startled out of his sleep, taking a little while to gather his wits, dismissed his wife: ‘Oh, it’s nothing, don’t worry. Get the coffee ready, I’ll be there in a few minutes. I’ve to go to the field thereafter, so don’t delay.’
When he returned later with two huge thaar’s in his hands, his servant, coming to work just then, rushed to him: ‘Ayya, why did you bother? But for my son – down with fever, he didn’t sleep all night – I would have been here much earlier.’
As he tried to relieve the master of the heft, he found himself pushed aside petulantly.
The inquisition began: ‘Tell me first what happened to the bananas yesterday?’
‘Why, I carried the thaar you had given and delivered it to the Ayyar (priest).’
‘How many bananas were there in the thaar you carried?’
‘Ayya, I did not count. I guess it must be over hundred.’
‘And you handed over the whole thaar at the temple? Don’t lie – I’ve a way to find the truth.’
‘I did exactly like you had instructed, Ayya…except for a small lapse.’
‘Just when I neared the temple, the sight of the bananas drew a beggar child who seemed too weak even to beg. He barely managed to put out his two hands, his hunger-dizzied eyes fixed on the fruits. I did not have the heart to walk away. Gave him a fruit that he eagerly partook…it was just one small fruit from the bottom of the pile, squashed on one side by the weight of the thaar…’
Despite his efforts to minimize the loss, the servant stood waiting for the inevitable reprimand.
Finally, ‘Go, take these two thaars…’
‘I’ll go right away and this time there’ll be no lapses, I assure you, Ayya…’
‘and distribute among the hungry.’
‘You heard me right.’ The mirasdar walked away.
The servant’s jaw dropped. He had expected to be fined a month’s pay for the infraction.
Vexed over ‘whatever happened to his master?’ he trooped out carrying the bananas. He was not going to lose his peace trying to figure things out.
Source: Adapted from a post in WhatsApp. Image from urbandud.wordpress.com