Musings Of An Idle Philosopher








The Best Spend I Made…

in a long time.

On my morning rounds, a few days ago, I saw something that wasn’t there before. Abutting the fence on the outside of the garden and near its main entrance, on the pavement where we  walked, out of nowhere had appeared, out in the open,  two ‘stalls’ each having a cane chair and a foot stool. Presently two gentlemen in their fifties, sweating and in shorts, were occupying the chairs presumably after completing their rounds. One of them was being attended to by a man and woman, seemed to be in forties. And the other also attended to by another man and a woman likely to be in their early thirties or even younger. Were they one family? Were they two couples? I had no idea. In Wodehouse words they were doing things to the men’s feet and legs from knee down- the women handled the feet and the men, the legs. .

I said ‘Oh, sh**. This is the beginning and very soon there would be so many of them plying all kinds of trades completely usurping the pavement. The ward office, as always, would do bugger-all to clear up the place.

Next day they were very much there – not gone away as I had secretly wished – busy with a couple of customers. I cursed the men (the service providers) in my mind for using women to lure their customers and the customers falling for it.

On the third day, two things happened. A spark of sympathy lighted up in my mind – at least they were earning a living honourably and not going around begging as many others do, though the annoyance at the place being messed up didn’t go away. Secondly, the gentlemen being serviced were never looking at the women labouring on their feet, preferring to chat among themselves or even read newspapers.

It wasn’t until three days later I resumed my morning walks – the interruption owing to a medical condition.

This day I was fully expecting them to have digged in. So they had. Their ‘stalls’ now had roofs of canvas rolling down on three sides to keep the rain out – the monsoon is threatening to break anytime now in Mumbai. There was one more thing I noticed and it was quite unsettling – the younger woman was blind.

The unfairness and irony of life hit me hard – the medical condition I mentioned earlier was: I got operated couple of days ago for cataract in my second eye now fitted the most expensive lenses recommended by the doc – of course it did punch a good-sized hole in my finances partially offset by insurance. And I have seen enough there is to see in this world unlike these two souls in their prime.

And today it was even worse. As I passed them in my round, I saw the two – the young woman and her companion – huddled under an umbrella looking forlorn without a customer. The umbrella was centred over the man’s head and the woman partly catching the light drizzle.  I got near him to  pull him up for not covering her also under the umbrella when to my shock I noticed he was also blind, though not completely.

Overwhelmed, I moved on without a word.

I had gone a few steps. This was one time my gravy cells didn’t fail me. Rummaging my pockets – I don’t carry a wallet – I found it luckily. Went back to him: ‘Keep this – you may not get a customer today. See, it’s a hundred rupee note.’ Fearing he might refuse to accept I hastened walking away, not failing to notice a half-smile on the woman’s face that was priceless. The man recovered and shouted: ‘Saheb, please come tomorrow. We’ll do for you.’

That’s simple rural Maharashtrians for you. They don’t want it free. Their innocence, honesty…it melts you. Well, a mere hundred rupees is not going to solve their problem. Nor can I afford to part with it every day. Not that they wanted money. I hope some social organization comes to their help for providing a legit place for them to practice their trade and also to render any possible medical help.

Meanwhile I wish the chair in their stall never gets cold.


“What, Age? Duh”






Source: Gopalaswamy

Accounting Karma (A Story For Children)

Watch out…you may be hit with it even if you had nothing to do with the act if you’re not careful. .

An old story brought back in WhatsApp:

Sagarworld com

It was a Friday. As customary, the King was out on the palace grounds under a shamiana performing anna dhaanam, distributing with his own hands food to the poor and the needy.

Presently at the head of the food line was an old man bent with age, hunger writ on his face.

Just then an eagle flew overhead holding its meal by its claws – a serpent. In a desperate struggle to free itself from a certain death the serpent spit out its poison. No one noticed a drop of it falling down through a netted air-vent in the shamiana’s canopy into the large anda of rice porridge being served out.

The old man received a generous helping of the porridge with a kind word spoken by the King.

No sooner he stepped out, overcome by hunger, he partook some of the porridge, his unsteady hands spilling much of it on the ground. Even before the little went down from the mouth to his stomach, the old man was stricken with convulsions and he dropped dead right there for all to see.

Elsewhere in the Heavens…

The venerable Chitragupta, the eternal book-keeper was vexed. The eagle was simply returning home after the hunt, holding the prey with its claws, to feed its young.  It had not anything violating its dharma. The serpent was only trying all it could to escape a certain death. The king had no knowledge of what had happened as he went about doing his good deed. Under the circumstances, to whom should he debit the karma of causing the death of the hapless old man?

Unable to resolve it satisfactorily, Chitragupta took the matter to his master, Lord Yama, the god of all dharma and death. Yama heard him out and advised him to wait for some more time; surely, he would get his answers.

In the afternoon a small group of Brahmins, returning from a pilgrimage to Kashi, came into the city.  Informed of the King’s anna dhanam, they reached the shamiana, only to find it completely deserted with no living soul anywhere in sight. Unaware of the morning’s happening, they suspected, given the prosperity evident all around, perhaps the King ran out of people to give and hence had gone back to his quarters.  While speculating on their next move, one of them suggested they should still try to meet the King in person. He would not send them back hungry. Also they could present him with a few of the gangai-chombu’s (small copper vessels filled with water from the Ganges and sealed at the mouth) they carried with themselves for people back home who were not fortunate to make the trip. The King was sure to like receiving them, a rarity in his land.

They located a fruit vendor at a distance and asked her directions for the King’s quarters. She obliged them pointing out the way. They thanked her and set themselves about when she called one of them and said in hushed voice:

’You all appear to be innocent out-of-town folks. Sad it would be to see you landing in trouble. And, don’t ever tell anyone I cautioned you. If you must and when you do meet him – I’ve no idea why you wanted to – don’t ever touch the food the King may offer you. Think of some ruse to say no. If he doesn’t like someone’s face, without a twinge of conscience he would poison his food. And who is to say he would like your faces? Just this morning I saw with my own eyes…’

At that instant Chitragupta in the Heavens was greatly relieved. Just as his master had said, now he knew whom to debit…




Source: Image from



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