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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