The Moment Of Truth
January 4, 2011 1 Comment
‘While we discuss amongst ourselves about the single wish that I could make – that’s our custom in our family, all important decisions are taken by consensus, can we offer you a seat – it’s mighty impolite of us to have you standing while we are all comfortably seated.’
‘Do not let it bother you. I’ve a little errand to finish and will be back soon. Be ready when I return for I shall not wait.’ He melted away without waiting for a reply.
The wife spoke up for the first time: ‘Listen, this girl is yet to be married off. Please ask for fifty tolas of gold – that’s what it takes today to close any decent alliance.’
‘Mom, which world are you living in? Here is a Yaksha asking Dad to make a wish and you are asking for fifty tolas of gold?’
‘Appa, I would love to live in a large flat opening onto the beach,’ the daughter chimed in.
‘My dear, that would be a cinch for the Yaksha, but how will you regularize the ownership with the two dozen municipal agencies? Else, they’ll hound you to death. I can’t imagine even the Yaksha getting on top of it.’
‘Then, how about a room full of thousand-rupee notes? It will take several generations of luxurious living to run through that pile,’ she wasn’t one to give up.
‘Oh, don’t be too sure, little Sis. Where the prices are heading, it may not see you through your old age. Also think about it – if he did fill up the room, where did he get them from? If the notes belonged to someone else, it’s thievery. If they didn’t, they would then be counterfeit. For the same reason, I’m not asking for a gallery full of old masters that I would love to have. There are no fresh supplies and these paintings are already in someone’s possession.’
‘I know what it should be – let us ask for a room full of pure gold, not Amma’s fifty tolas. Gold could be had from wherever. It doesn’t have to belong to someone else nor it need be fake…could well be a lost treasure or even from the heavens the Yaksha hails from.’
‘There’s only one snag, dearie. The word is bound to get out. Presto, you’ll have every burglar in the land including apprentices in the trade making a beeline to this house that you’ll need an army to keep them out. And worse, the tax guys would be on your back with their tongues hanging out before you can say ‘Hi, there.’
‘So, what is it? It can’t be money, it can’t be gold, it can’t be a house. Looks like it would take more than a man from heavens to put us in wealth. May be it’s back to Amma’s fifty tolas. No, wait…I’ve a thought.’
‘What would that be?’
‘The municipal elections are round the corner. Let Appa stand as an independent candidate. The Yaksha can then arrange for him to win.’
‘What? Dad and elections? I’m not sure if his name is in the rolls. Get real.’
‘Why not, dear Anna (brother)? You should see the profiles of the plethora of Independent candidates. Appa has a lot more impressive background than most of them. And then what? We can make a wish every other day. And regularize our wealth in the records.’
‘With all these squealing and snitching won’t it all come out one day, my little Chanakya? And the tabloids and TV media are prowling day and night for exposes worthy of 72-point headlines.’
‘In the worst case all that Appa has to do is to resign and accuse some unnamed adversary of political conspiracy to besmirch his fair name and then demand a CBI probe. And just to be foolproof we’ll get a caste certificate.’
‘Do you think it’s a good idea to check with your subject on how feels about it?’ He finally got a few words in edgeways.
That’s when the lights went out and came back in a few seconds. Predictably the Yaksha was back where he stood earlier.
‘Are you ready to make a wish yet?’
(To be contd.)