May 21, 2006

Story Time on the Blog!!!

After a long time, its, once again, story time here on the blog:

Kabir was having a bad day. It was nothing new for him, and he accepted it as his fate, a result of his deeds in the past lives, the priest at the temple had told him. He was now trying to live a honest and upright life to make his next life better.

Today, he had to take a detour to work and pay his boss’s electricity bill. His boss was a clever man. The bill amounted to Rs 1,194 but the boss had handed Kabir a round sum of Rs 1,100 and said with a smile: “Kabir, will you go to the electricity office and pay my bill. Here is Rs 1100 and I think that’s about how much the bill is”. Kabir could never say no to his boss even if he wanted to and this time he had no inclination to do so. It was only later that he found that his boss had taken him in. Again not something new to him or his boss.

He had Rs 1200 in his pocket today and he was thankful that he would be left with enough to pay for his fare to work. Things were not all that bad and they would look up soon, he thought. He had reached the Electricity office by now and saw to his dismay the long queue in front of the counter. This would be a long day, he thought.

He looked at the expressionless faces in the crowd, all of which had boredom written across them. They were straining their necks to see what the person behind the counter was doing and why was it taking him so long to deal with each person in the line. All the men in the crowd, there were no women, were trying to concentrate and make him work faster but it wasn’t working. So much for all that telekinesis stuff they showed on television, Kabir thought.

Then a hawker, who was passing by, seeing the large gathering and thanking God for this good fortune stopped by and cried out in a loud, clear voice

“Sirs, a blanket for Rs. 1000…The best wool from the Himalayan goats… only for Rs 1000.”

For a while no one paid any attention to him but he was insistent and kept on with his calling and soon enough a person standing somewhere in the front of the queue, out of boredom more than anything else, said

“ Go away! You are a cheat, a blanket like that can’t be more than Rs. 800”

“Oh I bought one like that for Rs 700 not long ago”, another voice.

“I think I bought two for Rs. 1300 and they were superior in quality than these rags this cheat is selling”

Now, the hawker had caught the attention of the whole crowd and Kabir didn’t want to be left out of the action. He came a little forward and said in a loud voice


“Oh! This blanket is not even worth 500 Rs.”
The hawker, who had been silent all this time looked up at this new voice and said,
“Sirs! Oh Sirs! You are being so unfair” and then turning to Kabir he said, “Sir! What do you know about blankets to put a price on them like that?”

Kabir, not one to be put down, replied “I know a lot you thug, my grandfather had a little blanket making unit where he made the best blankets in town”

This declaration by Kabir seemed to subdue the hawker and the crowd looked up to him. He was their hero. Kabir felt good at the attention and didn’t want this to end so he continued in the same vein “In fact, I will say that these four blankets that you are carrying on your shoulder, put together, are not worth more than 1200 Rs and if you dare give them to me at that price, I will willingly pay you.”

The hawker, exasperated, threw the load at Kabir’s feet and said, “Sir that’s enough! You might know about blankets but so do I… now that you throw this challenge at me, be kind enough as to pay me my 1200 Rs. My wife’s going to be so mad at me but a man must do what he must to keep his honour”

Kabir, never in his wildest thoughts, had thought of such an ending. He had only 1200 Rs in his pocket and out of those Rs. 1100 were not his.

Looking at him, hesitating, the hawker was quick to say “Didn’t you put that price on these blankets… and now you can’t stand up to your word?”

Saying that, he made a motion to pick up the blankets, he had thrown down not long ago. Kabir looked around and all the faces in the queue stared back at him as if he was the one responsible for letting them all down. He knew then, that he had no other option. So, he stopped the hawker midway and took the blankets from him. Then with a flourish, he reached into his pocket, drew out the 1200 Rs and handed them to the hawker.

Kabir looked around at the crowd which now had a collective smile of satisfaction which made Kabir’s heart swell with pride. He quickly picked up his newly bought merchandise and said

“Now, that’s what I call a good bargain.”

The hawker walked away and so did Kabir. It happened very fast. So fast, that Kabir never espied the other blankets that the hawker had carefully lain out of sight, nor did he notice that the three other blankets he had just bought were inferior in quality and shorter in length than the one the hawker had been so proudly displaying.

5 comments:

Jayashree Bhat said...

Good one...

readingpeoplesmind said...

hmmm.
u have written it quite beautifully dude,

pushkala said...

seems like i m looking at ur blog aftyre ages.. lots of posts to read!
will comment on each one sooner than later !
this is well written coherent one !

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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