How Fate Was Outwitted!

Part 5 – Creator in stress

Sunandan stirred from his sleep when he heard the bleats. When the bleats persisted he opened his eyes. For a moment he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming. He saw a bull tethered to the pole. He was very sure he had sold the animal last evening at the market. He woke up Vidyadhar.

‘Don’t worry, it is just as I thought. Take it to the market and work with it as you usually do. In the evening, sell it off and distribute the grains like we did yesterday. Don’t keep a pie or a grain for yourself.’

And so he did with a little more confidence in the stranger’s words. Sure enough, he found a bullock at the pole in the following morning.

This was repeated for a few days. In those few days, Sunandan’s act of charity spread all around and he became well-known and highly respected in those parts. He was warmly welcomed wherever he went. The traders did not haggle with him anymore.

Vidyadhar was pleased to see the favorable turn of events in Sunandan’s life. He had done his bit for the Guru’s son. He took leave of the happy young man, cautioning him to scrupulously follow his words and promising to look him up now and then.

He set out very early in the morning so as to reach his village before it got hot in the day. When he was a mile away from Sunandan’s hut, he saw a white-robed man coming in his way plodding wearily. He looked vaguely familiar to him.

The man spoke: ‘I shouldn’t have told you. See what you’ve done to me. My hands and feet are calloused. Every morning, I’ve to find one and rush it to provision him before sunrise as decreed by his Fate. You guessed it right – since he has nothing else to call his own at the end of the day, he must have the bullock by the morning – and you used it to his advantage.’

Now it all came back to him. It was a tired-out Brahma! And behind him was a bullock marked for Sunandan’s hut.

Vidyadhar bowed and said with a smile: ‘My Lord, You are very kind. I too kept up my promise. Never disclosed it to anyone. And it shall never be more than a bullock for him, not a pie or a grain more, Sir. I assure You.’

And they went on their separate ways!

(PS: The underlying theme is from the original story, everything else isn’t. The original also included the Guru’s daughter and her life and how it was transformed later by the disciple)

End

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12 Responses to How Fate Was Outwitted!

  1. SRKannan says:

    Excellent weaving again around a theme. The best part was the suspense, waiting to see how it ended. The end was really good. So optimistic outlook to life. There is one more person now who is looking for the Dravida Nattu Kathaigal’.

    Like

    • tskraghu says:

      Thanks, Kannan, for taking the time to read it.

      A good friend of mine, who does not understand Tamil at all, has a located a newly published book by the same title!! May be it is reprint of the older book. In any case I am trying to procure a copy of this new book.

      Like

  2. Nithya says:

    Not sure I get it. What benefit is it to the Guru’s son? Increase his Karma/ name? Ok, he is respected now but doesn’t still have any income?

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    • tskraghu says:

      There is no change to his personal life since his posession is fated to be no more than a bullock. But his social standing changes enormously for the better. His life is made easier. And of course his karma.

      Like

    • tskraghu says:

      After ur feedback, I’ve added some more explanation. Hope it’s clearer now.

      Like

  3. Sanjay says:

    I have heard this story from you before. I “get” the message of the story, and others to whom I tell this story also “get” it, but it is difficult to pin it down. On one level it means that even though fate has given you a certain hand, you can still lead a good life. It could also mean that you should do well for your fellow men inspite of whatever fate has dished out to you. Yet, on another level, it could be the classic duel between determinism (everything is pre-ordained) and existentialism (we are masters of our fate).

    The best part is your retelling of this tale, keeping it as simple as all the stories of the old, such as the Panchatantra and the Jataka.

    Tell us more !

    Like

  4. tskraghu says:

    You always have something encouraging to say! Thanks.

    I agree with you – possible interpretations make the story interesting. Since it is in writing, unlike story telling, there is no compulsion to resolve all ambiguities. Dont know how they handle it in story telling.

    There was feedback on the language in previous posts, so took extra care. Also a straight narration preserves the integrity of the original.

    Like

  5. chitra says:

    Raghu
    An old story rendered beautifully. The language is simple and yet descriptive -which touches the heart.
    I suppose -you reading the “Dravida Naattu kathaigal” was pre-destined but surely re- telling the story is your ‘free will”.
    I believe “fate” and “free will” go hand in hand, each influencing the other. (Now its up to the reader to share it with others or not!!!!)
    The shishya knew he had to act (karma yoga!) inorder to work around fate.-a Guru dakshina too
    Ofcourse the subtle message is the “joy” in giving. Sunandan’s wordly possession remain the same but his inner peace has mutiplied.

    Like

  6. Buvana says:

    Nice one!! lots of inner meaning and can be interpreted in many ways. I haven’t read the original one. This one is refreshing though.

    Like

  7. Trisha says:

    its a cute and touching story. loved the way wisdom defeated fate.

    Like

  8. A wonderful telling that kept me riveted from beginning to end. It speaks to on of the most universal themes in folklore- reciprocity, generosity, and the natural balance of things.

    Like

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