Son of the Soil

A poor man cared for his family, worked for his landlord all the while but never cared a bit about himself. He worked in the fields from dawn to dusk. His skin weathered the elements, the seasons and the taunts of the landlord on whose fields he worked. His shirt and dhoti was all torn. He never cared for foot wear. His feet had developed corns and these days he walked in pain.

One day it was the village festival and he went to the village fair with his wife and daughter. He was in search of a young man for his daughter. He had come to know of Chandan who worked in the village office. He would be an ideal suitor for his daughter. But his parents were middle class. He had once mooted about it to Shri Dinanath who did not give any reply to him at that time. How could Shri Dinanath, Chandan’s father agree for a poor farmer’s daughter. This had been his worrying thought for a few months and when he passed the village shrine, he would talk about it to the diety there in the evening at the temple gate. Yes, he could not enter since his whole body and torn shirt was soaked in mud while coming home from work.

With his family in tow, Girish walked in front wearing a clean dhothi and light blue shirt. But the layer of sand laid out at the village fair was not favourable to his feet. It was paining and it was really getting difficult to walk. He told about his situation to his wife and all the three decided to go to the temple which was nearby and walk back home.

As they were leaving the fair, a hawker selling footwear was calling out for prospective customers. He also appeared poor to Girish’s eyes, when their eyes met. His call seemed desperate. Who would buy footwear when there was so much else on display to buy. Why don’t you buy one for yourself, his wife said. Maybe I should, more for this poor fellow than for myself, murmured Girish.

There were many varieties on display to Girish’s confusion. Sensing that, the hawker looked at Girish’s feet, measured it and went around looking for one that would give him comfort. Finally he got one to his satisfaction and put it on Girish’s feet all the time looking at him with a pleasant smile. Girish paid more than what the poor hawker asked, thanked and bade him goodbye and walked towards the temple with his family.

After leaving their footwear behind, they ascended the steps and prayed for the wellbeing of all in the village. As they came out after taking the prasad from the old Pujari, Vaishnavji, who had been serving the temple for  decades, they found that Girish’s footwear was missing.

It was really unfortunate Girish thought. More than the loss, he had taken a liking for it and the comfort it gave. Simple people were content with simple treats like these in life. Maybe this luxury was not for me, thought he, as he tread his steps slowly due to his pain. Since it was getting dark, he asked his wife and daughter to hurry home as he would take time walking across through the freshly laid gravel.

Before long, Vaishnavji having finished his duties at the temple caught up with the slow walking Girish and enquired about his feet. Girish told him all what had happened. Vaishnavji comforted Girish and gave him company till he reached his house. That night there was thundershowers which gave a welcome relief to the villagers from the heat.

The next day morning, when Vaishnavji climbed the steps of the shrine he found it dirty with mud. It was as if someone had walked with footwear not only on the steps but everywhere outside and inside the sanctum. And there just below the feet of the diety was a pair of muddy footwear. Who could have done such an act, he muttered, getting angry. I am sure someone who came to the village fair from far would have done this.

Tendering an apology to the Lord, he started to clean the inner sanctum and was shouting curses at that ruffian who had the audacity to do this. Did he hear someone giggling or was that a laugh. Did he really hear or his old mind was playing tricks. Never mind, thought he and continued on with his work and it was then he remembered that the muddy footwear was still inside the sanctum. When he started removing it, a voice boomed. “Do not remove it, dear Vaishnav. It is dear to me. It was I who danced around with it last night amid the rains. Do not bother, as from now on, it will be my footwear” .

Vaishnavji was enthralled with what he had heard. The Lord had talked to him after all these years to him. Girish had woken up early and started to tread his way to the fields. Surprisingly he did not feel any pain today while walking. He had thought of taking a longer route instead of the gravel filled village fair path, but since it was not paining at all, he decided to take the short route and thank the Lord on the way. It was still dark and dawn was still a few moments away.

Girish climbed the temple steps along with Chandan’s father who was also a great devotee of the Lord and both of them saw Vaishnavji in a trance. When they enquired, he told them all what had happened. To set their sight on the divine footwear, they hurried to the inner sanctum and  was Girish surprised when he saw that it was the very footwear he had worn the last night. He prostrated before the Lord crying out how thankful he was to see that the very good  Lord had taken a liking for it.

The booming voice came again. “Girish, I was twice lucky yesterday. To touch your feet and adorn this footwear on your feet and then like a thief snatch it and play around here wearing it that gave me so much joy. Let it remain here with me and in barter I have taken away your painful corns from your feet”.

How glad the three were that morning to hear the Lord’s voice. Dinanath with tears in his eyes embraced Girish remarking, “you are the true son of the soil and I will be glad to have your daughter grace my home  after our children’s wedding at the next auspicious muhurat here in  the temple”.

I fervently hope, the good Lord who inspired me to write this, bestow upon my readers, simple gifts and the best of health as we walk across the paths in life which may not be comfortable at all times…

Paths in Life.. It is your choice. Thanks to Rupali who has a photography  blog at mazeepuran.wordpress.com for allowing me to use this lovely picture.

Examining our cultural journey

I have reblogged this post from Vidya’s site.

When we were children, India was still an agriculture-based nation. Coming home to Kerala during our vacations meant coming home to the fields. Of course, the young people had all found their way out of agriculture, but the fields of paddy that had been created painstakingly by our dedicated ancestors who had mastered the art […]

Examining our cultural journey

Coined Treasures

Once a rich man invited all to give some amount of his wealth to all the poor folks around him. A poor man lived with his son and wife. He also came to see the rich man more because he wanted to meet and talk with the rich man. After spending a few minutes he came to know that this person was very generous at heart. The rich man’s stock of gifts had exhausted by the time their conversation ended. So he asked of the rich man that nobody even thought of.

Can you give me 1/10th of what you have every year to which the rich man agreed.

So every year our poor guy visited him and took his share and returned. Everybody envied the poor man and asked the rich man to stop giving to the poor man every year. But as was his nature he gave a lot of presents to everyone who came to him for help. Slowly all his wealth disappeared and his business suffered and he saw bad days where he couldn’t survive with some help from the villagers. He had to sell his house and look for a small shed at the outskirts.

His wife told him to ask help from the villagers whom he had helped all along. But nobody bothered to help and chided him for wasting his wealth away and for his charitable acts. On the way he met our poor man who looked the same to him. He lived in the same hut with his family and worked in the same fields as before.

Feeling sorry the rich man asked what did he do with the wealth gifted by him. You are still poor. I thought of asking you for some money but you appear worse as before. The poor man smiled. Nobody is poor as long he wants to help someone. At one point of time you were rich and you were generous and true to the word. I, by my experience knew that wealth and trade do not flourish for ever if we aren’t careful. So all the money I took from you is still safe with me. Take it, buy back your house and live peacefully. Help others who are needy and don’t give away wealth to those who do not value it. You may earn yourself a name but that will vanish as soon as your store is empty.

The lively professor

A professor when he was on the verge of retirement dream’t of coaching eager students in his now soon to be retired life, so he thought, as he drove back from college on one of his last days.

He called up one of his old students who now worked in the press to put up a classified in the morning newspaper that would advertise his skills in accountancy as a tutor.

A few days back, 3 girls, all of them pals, came to his house for coaching as exams were just a few months away but they saw a padlock greeting them on his door. They went away sadly as they could not meet the tutor who dream’t of teaching even in his retired life.

padlock

After a week they came again to inquire and this time they found him waiting and ready to teach. Not wasting much time, he taught the nuances about all he knew about the subject in those few months.

The girls loved him for his knowledge and more than that, the way he imparted it to them, making it look so easy. If only, they thought, all of the professors they met were like him.

On the day of the results, our girls were mighty thrilled and why wouldn’t they as the results outdid their expectations and they hurried to their old mentor to convey the great news but sadly the padlock greeted them this time too and they lingered on for him to arrive, for quite some time.

But arrive, he never did that day, and as it was late, the trio went back sadly each to their own homes. The next dawn they went back again to see the house still locked as they found it the earlier day. This time they inquired about his whereabouts with his not so near neighbors, only to know that he had passed a few months away…

Some good souls linger on to complete an unfulfilled wish…

The poor Grocer

A shop keeper was getting old

He used to be a lot charitable

But offlate he was needing it

Now that new ones sprouted

Not many frequented his shop

He did not sell modern goods

His grocery was way too limited

What he had been selling all along

But he persisted on with little profit

His shop and his stock became old

Many needy came to him for help

He started giving what his shop could

One day finally the shop had nothing

Except his faith and lots of patience.

A boy one day came and sat next to him

There is nothing here to give you dear

I am not here to take but to give you

Take this jaggery sell it and pay me

After I come back after a month

Saying so he unloaded a gunny sack

And left our shopkeeper wondering

He kept the jaggery cubes for sale

After keeping some in the sack

Wondering if anyone would buy it

From the next day people flocked to him

For it disappeared from the stocks

Of nearby shops who could not try

To replenish it much as they wished

And wonder of wonders what a sack

It never emptied just like mothers love.

He prospered and waited for the boy

The boy appeared and asked for his sack

Filling it with salt he left with a smile…