Did He Get It Right?

Real-life fiction:

**

Time and place: Morning at the temple.

It was goshti time after receiving theertham (sacred water) and sadari.

[Goshti is when at the end of morning rituals, prasadam, usually thayir sadam (curd rice) is distributed to the assembled on plates or small bowls (dhonnai’s) fashioned out of leaves stitched together]

Many sat down and some of us with stiff joints stood to one side.

One of the staff (kiankaryaparars) distributed the dhonnai’s to all in the assembly to receive prasadam (a small part of the food offered to the god is returned to the devotees with blessings).

The cook in his traditional attire followed him from the kitchen carrying on his hip an anda (a big brass vessel) containing thayir sadam. With practiced efficiency, starting at one end of the small arc, he took a handful of sadam, dropped it into the first dhonnai held out, quickly moving on to the next man and to the next…

When he came to G – I see him once in a while at the temple – standing next to me, I noticed him slowing down with a deference, not par for a goshti, and a hint of a smile on his face. And the recipient acknowledging it by gesture and nod.

As the cook moved on to where ladies were, I asked in hushed voice: ‘What gives?’

G whispered back: ‘Only yesterday…he wanted some monetary help for his daughter’s college fees studying back in the South. I gave him’

‘Oh,’ so that was it.

Distribution over, the goshti was dismissed.

As we did the customary pradakshinam (circumambulating the sanctum) together, completing the last round, G went up to ring the kitchen bell!

When the cook came out, he asked if there would be some extra thayir sadam available.

A little strange, it was. This man many a times walked away without waiting for the goshti and the prasadam. And when he did stand in, he would specially request for a small portion. And today, he took it in full in the goshti and now was asking for more!

What was the matter? Perhaps he’s taking it for some guests visiting him?

He saw my nonplussed look and made a gesture for me to hold.

The cook, a bit surprised likewise, appeared too happy to oblige him.

A short while later he returned with a neatly wrapped and tied parcel.

As he handed it over, I noticed – the cook appeared pleased with himself and his demeanor going back to the formal, what it was always, without the deference, even if only a wee bit, displayed visibly earlier in the goshti! Not that he was rude, at any time.

Something nagged me nevertheless. Was gratitude so evanescent?

As we exited the temple, G turned to me: ‘I see you noticed it. Upset?’

Wasn’t he upset? And, here he’s asking me if I were.

Didn’t feel up to responding.

‘You see, my friend, I certainly did a favour to him, he too did one to me, whatever was within his capacity. Now the ledger is balanced, his self-respect has re-asserted itself.’

Weird! Interesting! Is that how it works? No student of human psychology and behaviour, could not agree or differ with G’s insight and intelligence in this matter.

Now outside the temple we were ready to part.

‘Here, take this, I’ve no use for it. Am single,’ he thrust the parcel into my hands and took off leaving me standing.  

When he was a few steps gone, he turned to me: ‘Don’t lose your peace over it, my friend. That’s precisely why I asked for it!’

May be, before I meet him next, I will have sorted this out in my head.

End

Source. deskgram.net

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A Matter Of Give And Take

A real-life fiction:

**

Dinner time.

Bhindi (okra), again?

No surprises there – the girl was asked to eat vegetables. A short sermon on importance of the greens for her health, as always, fell on un-listening ears. For, it is bhindi tonight, spinach yesterday…yuk, and not potatoes, yummy. These folks never seem to understand or ask – it wasn’t she didn’t like vegetables. It was just that cauliflower and cabbage smelled, bhindi sticky, beet-root scary scarlet, spinach sticking between her teeth, beans tasteless, peas squishy, carrot hard to bite…and heaven knows why potatoes didn’t count? By the way, aren’t there any green potatoes? Why, she liked cucumber too, in the raw.

Finally on the promise of a cup of her favorite ice-cream, the task was accomplished……like how – her eyes closed, face screwed into a grimace, the morsel put out on the tongue like vom## and then taken in, mostly swallowed…

All done and over with, they – the father and the girl – set off to the market, he had some chores to complete, she to claim her reward.  

At the shop, another scene was averted – fortunately the mango flavor was in stock. Gleefully consumed – some, dribbling from the corner of her mouth, onto the counter.

On their way back – the girl in good cheer – he paused at a street-side vendor’s and got two vada-paav’s with dry and wet chutney’s parceled.

The girl looked at her father quizzingly.

‘There’s a sight-impaired young man near the bus-shelter. Whenever I come this way, I usually get this or samosas for him.’

Her face did not clear completely.

The father knew enough to add: ‘On the days I don’t, may be the vendors give him or someone else like us buys him something to eat – I don’t think he starves.’

The girl became more at ease – if her father said the man did not starve, it must be so – and soon was distracted.

**

At the bus-shelter, there he was on the bench.

The hot vada-paav’s were given and accepted gratefully.

The girl looking on nervously keeping herself on father’s far side.

The deed done, the two quickened their steps homewards.

Nearer home, the girl broke her silence: ‘Appa, how do you know he likes vada-paav and samosa’s? Asked him?’

**

The following days saw new sources located for idli/vada and roti/sabji.

End

Source: Image from hungrydeal.com