God Proposes…

  

Part 1

 

The bank was a little off the main market in the middle-class suburb. The morning crowd had not yet started to build up. Outside the bank, a well-groomed prosperous-looking middle-aged man clad in pajama-kurta that would make a perfect after-wash picture in any detergent ad, was making his way in, clutching an inconspicuous cloth bag in his hand. He owned a big grocery shop in the nearby market. He paused for a moment, fished out a small and bulging pouch and unzipped it to check on the contents. Freeze.

 

To the left of the bank’s entrance, there was a ‘naariyal paani’ vendor and a lone customer sucking noisily on a straw tying to seduce the last drops of coconut water up from the shell. The Sipper was a prematurely graying middle-aged man with a face that carried worry-lines permanently etched. His pajama-kurta would make a perfect before-wash picture in any detergent ad. Freeze.

 

This (frozen) scene got the attention of the Goddess of Fortune (GF) in her random scan of the world. She turned to her consort the Creator (CR), in their heavenly abode.

GF: ‘Naatha, look at this Man (the Sipper). Poor guy, he can’t hold onto any steady job to earn a living. Whatever he takes up fails. The business goes bust or there is an accident or he gets blamed for what he did not do.’

CR: ‘Devi, you know how he brought all this on himself. In his previous birth, as a lawyer, he falsely implicated innocents causing them grief and misery and cheated his own clients too.’    

GF: ‘Yes, for all those sins he piled up to his account, I must admit, he is getting away lightly in this birth only because of his sole good deed of supporting his aged parents until their end and also he performed his duty of doing kanyadaan (marriage) of his sister, at his expense.’

GF: ‘Nevertheless, Naatha, I feel like doing something for this Man. He has a family to support. He has been reasonably straight in this life.’

CR: ‘Devi, you are fully aware, we rarely interfere with the complex Cycle of Karma of good and bad deeds, births and rebirths. That is the Niyathi (governing principle) of Creation.’

GF: ‘I was only thinking of giving him a small break. If he is smart, he could do something with it for his good.’

CR: ‘You know what you are doing, Devi. But no miracles in Kalyug – no object will behave in perceptibly unnatural ways.

GF: ‘Yes, Naatha, miracle is not what I have in mind.’

CR: ‘Strange are the ways of the world. I’ve warned you. Now it is your show! I’ll not stand in your way.’

GF: ‘I’ll be careful.’

 

Now, unfreeze.

   

The Shop-Owner zipped up the pouch after inspecting its contents, dropped it inside the cloth bag and entered the bank. It was fortuitous that the Sipper looked up in that direction precisely at that moment and he saw what appeared to be a wad of currency notes lying out there unattended. Driven by curiosity, he went up to the spot and picked it up to see it was a bunch of five-hundred rupee notes loosely held by a rubber-band. He looked around and saw no one in the vicinity to whom it could possibly belong. He guessed it must have been dropped by someone who had gone into the bank or come out of the bank only moments ago. It didn’t make any sense to go around with the currency notes in hand asking who is missing them. Hesitantly he slipped it into the deep pocket of his kurta and slowly walked away, appearing to be in two minds as to what should he do now.  

 

GF, keeping tabs on him, smiled with satisfaction at the results of her nudge.

 

(To be contd.)

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