The talking metals

Over the ages, man has always accorded value to the fair glow in the metals be it copper, silver or gold. Iron though being the working metal still ranks behind…

Ganpat the farmer had a daughter Megha and Dikshit, a well to do person in the same village had a son Sachin. Both Sachin and Megha fell in love once they saw each other at the last year mela or the village annual fair at the Bhuvaneshwari temple. The Goddess at the temple was known to be very powerful.

When one day, Ganpat told Dikshit about his wish of his daughter’s marriage to Sachin, he made fun of Ganpat saying he wanted to give his daughter to someone his equal and not to a poor farmer.

Over the summer months, Ganpat was busy tilling the fields . One day he went to the blacksmith with his pick axe to sharpen it. The blacksmith was sitting in rapt attention as if listening to the tools in front of him. He asked ganpat to be seated but continued to listen to the talking metals. The pick axe also joined in the conversation. Yes, you are right. Iron is the downtrodden one just like this ganpat. He tills the land with his plough made of iron. The rich go in vehicles made of iron but does anyone give him or us the position we deserve.

They give value only to the fair silver or gold. They spend their lives either in getting it or hoarding it. They cover the temples and the gods in silver and gold as soon their positions improve. What happens to us, who toil day in and out for him.

The goddesss Bhuvaneshwari on her walking rounds reached the blacksmith’s workplace. She touched ganpat lightly on his shoulder so that he could see her and listen to the talking metals.

Man in pursuit of riches and happiness takes countless births. For the ever changing man greed is the only constant. He gets sorrow pain and happiness in return. Just like when he digs for gold he gets other metals, but he disregards it and his persistence wins and when he gets the coveted metal he thinks he is happy. These so called noble metals carry stories of war, murders and betrayal. After all the painstaking efforts to get it, then you need to protect it and there man loses his peace.

Ganpat fell at her feet and told his problem. All the while, working at the fields I was at peace but the moment Dikshit mentioned 25 sovereigns of gold, I lost my peace. Metals like iron, I hold in high esteem because they are the working metals like this Ganpat, the rest all are useless, said the goddess.

The talking metals and the blacksmith praised the goddess who was taking their leave. Ganpat, I will help you with your request but I want you to adorn me with 25 sovereign iron jewels. The money for the metal shall come from your hard earned money and you should buy the metal from the blacksmith. Give it to the village jeweller. I will give the instructions to him in a dream. Put your request this Sunday in front of me at the temple and ask dikshit to repeat how much he wants in jewelry. This time, I will adorn his tongue when he replies to you.

On the eve of the Sunday festival, among the jostling crowd, Ganpat put his request again to Dikshit for his daughter’s wedding. A ruffled Dikshit sounding agitated said how many times Ganpat I have to tell you I won’t take anything less than 25 tolas of loha from you. Everyone one was surprised to hear this strange ask from Dikshit. Ganpat again asked, can you please repeat it, to which Dikshit confirmed the same, “25 sovereigns of pure iron”.

Everyone talked about it during the day but no one had the guts to ask Dikshit as to why he had made such a strange request. Ganpat after offering salutations to the goddess hurried home took his hard earned money, gets the iron from the blacksmith and goes to the blessed and informed jeweler the next week who takes upon the task of making iron jewelry for the goddess. He decided to make a set of bangles, earrings and a chain that would come to 25 sovereigns just as how the goddess had instructed him in his dream. After a couple of months the jewelry was completed. It was shown to Ganpat, the blacksmith and to the goddess on an evening at the blacksmith’s hut. The goddess was satisfied and so were the talking metals. Now Ganpat, tell the priest about all what has happened. He will understand and adorn this jewelry on me this Navami. Now to the bewildered and at the same time blessed jeweller, “prepare one more set exactly like this for Ganpat and show it to me first before handing it over to him”.

On the Navami day, the goddess shown with a brilliance never seen before, partly due to a new metallic jewelry which had a rare hue. To some it seemed blue while for others a combination of other colors. It really is a rare metal jewelry gifted by Ganpat to our goddess, remarked many. Even Dikshit was surprised to see the change in fortunes for Ganpat. It was heard that the jeweller was now making the jewels for his daughter’s wedding.

The second set of jewels were ready. They were again taken to the blacksmith where on her evening visit, the goddess Bhuvaneshwari saw them and touched them sending a spark of energy through all who were present including the talking metals.

The rest of the story goes like this. Ganpat’s daughter got married to Dikshit’s son who never came to know that he had asked for iron jewelry, but whenever his wife showed the priceless jewels, to him, it was beyond doubt made of the finest gold, one that had a blue hue and a sparkle of other metallic colors that radiated from it. Please close the jewel box Radha and keep it in the safe, he lovingly told his wife, It is so divine that one cannot look at it for long just as the jewels gifted by Ganpat to the goddess…

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 forĀ  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 for allowing me to use this lovely picture.