A Modest Wish Comes True
A Modest Wish Comes True7 mins 24.3K 7 mins 24.3K
Shivam did not take his eyes off the little towers.
The ones he had built in his own hands by piling coins.
Running his delicate fingers through shining metal pieces of different shapes and sizes, he occasionally closed his tender eyes and fondled them, to get the pulse of supreme pleasure.
He slowly counted, recounted numbers in each pile to consolidate the figure.
His countenance beamed with a smile but was not as broad as to touch his ears.
He was happy with the score, yet was not ecstatic nor overwhelmed.
He could hear the tinkling sound of counting of coins from the other room.
Swati, his sister was making a sum total of her share of coins.
"Didi must be having more than Rs1000/= by now. But she will not let me know, the exact amount. Do not know, why she is keeping this, a secret.
Papa gives her more no of coins to save. Someday, I will count them stealthily, when she is not around and find the tally, joy will overflow, I am sure."
Both Swati and Shivam, got their share of coins from their father-Sudhakar after he finished the weekly Sunday market and came home. The market was almost five kilometers distant to their place of stay. His old parents too stayed with him, in the two-roomed quarters allotted by his employer. Sudhakar worked as a peon. With his meager salary, he had to manage a family of six. He was never unhappy with his own situation and remained contented. He could manage as needs were a few.
He never missed Sunday market, as he could procure provisions and vegetables at wholesale rate, more so, for the reason -birds of every screech and squawk visited to sell their bounty and earn living. With the help of his old bicycle, he used to carry the load for consumption for the entire week. Each week, after coming from the market, he used to keep the notes in his purse and give coins to his children to inculcate the saving habits in them.
Sibling rivalry made them quarrel many times esp in the matters of the modest weekly fortune. But, they patched up quickly and became friends again, without sporting grouse of any kind. Together, they went to school and came back, discussed their studies, favorite subjects, classmates, and teachers, but never parted with the secret of their wealth. Shila, their mother wanted them to divulge the secret at least, to her, but both of them remained adamant and tight-lipped.
She at times told them in a lighter vein " keep it safe, we have rats in the house, actually plenty of them, your money may get swindled and swallowed by them. Be careful."Their saving box grew bulkier and heftier each week like a pampered fat cat, so also bosom of the duo swelled with pride.
The company where Sudhakar was working was not doing well of late. For consecutive three years, it was incurring losses. The amount of incentive and other allowances he was supposed to get, were not forthcoming. One fine morning when he reached office, he came to know that, the company has become bankrupt and no further payments will come in the way of the employees. It was a bolt from the blue. The unions called for agitation and gherao of the owners and promoters. The tussle between management and union continued and reached its peak. The police force was deployed to control the law and order situation. For a simple and God-fearing person like Sudhakar, it was very disheartening. However, he constantly prodded his greater sense for a plausible solution. But, he did not inform his family members for the fear that they would be too worried and scared.
The next day, when the blue sky had wandered off to the background and crimson hue had just set in to announce the advent of the evening , Sudhakar's lonesome soul was racking his brain, to have an inkling. A cue ...he was looking for, to the puzzle of his life and that of his co-workers'... as he was cycling back home .perhaps God answered his sincere call. After dinner, he made his children sit on his lap and gently began-"My dear children, I am here, to make a fervent appeal to both of you. Would you accede to my request?"
"Yes papa, we will. Why request? Your order is to be obeyed for sure. We are concerned papa, worry is writ large on your face. Please share your concern with us. Your face looks heavy and worrisome. If we have the ability to lessen your worries, we will be more than glad."
He began with a story to bring home his point -
"There was a king. He had a kind heart and treated his subjects very well. The welfare of them was his primary concern. He was doing well for himself, also his subjects were at peace and happy. As ill-luck would have it, there was no rain one year and famine ensued. People had no food and stock of food grain dwindled. They had very little money left with them, which was not enough to get foodstuff from a neighboring state, with the available exchange value. There was a wise man in the kingdom, who the king referred to, when in difficulty. The king sought his advice."
"O, king!"-The wise man said-
"I am really pained by the sorry state of affairs. All our resources are on the wane. It is not far when we have to go without food. I have a suggestion for the countrymen. Like the divine squirrel of yore, let us all contribute as per our might to build a corpus. with the help of such funds, we can get foodstuff from our neighbors in exchange. Everybody has to put something or the other and let this be a united effort. This is the time, we should act as one entity and remain strong, else we all shall perish. if, we act wisely, fortune may stage a come back very soon."
"People came with their savings, ornaments and the corpus grew manifold. Foodstuff was bought in exchange and distributed. People survived the scare and the imminent. They thanked the wise man for the sublime idea of bonding and for, saving their lives."
"This is the story in nutshell."-Sudhakar concluded.
"The wise man did a nice thing by motivating people to save the nation."-Both his children spoke at once."Sudhakar was happy to note that, both have been influenced by the moral of the story. He slowly unfolded, the stark naked reality before them.
"The hands those fed us will be chopped off soon if we do not support."
Let me elaborate-
"My dear children- I need your help to start the crusade. Your mother has bequeathed all her ornaments and whatever little savings she had. You two, my steadfast warriors have to contribute like the little squirrel of yore to save my company from this set-back."
There was pin-drop silence.
"But, where we will bring money from papa?"
"You already have, my dear children, meager may be the amount. This is going to be your sacred offering for a cause and sense of participation is important."
Both of them nodded in affirmation and slowly got up to bring their coin collection boxes. It was counting time .she had more money than him, it was apparent from the weight. But Shila insisted upon mixing coins of both the boxes and counting afterward. She could read the sad face of her son who had fewer coins and was feeling humiliated. Her act lifted Shivam's mood and he helped his mother to sort out coins of same denominations for easy calculation.
All employees contributed to the corpus, and the modest start took a gigantic proportion.The loss part was taken care of. They decided to forego salaries for two months, to strengthen the corpus. Finally, the company could be bailed out and took baby steps to improve the condition.
The company as well his fellowmen lauded Sudhakar. He was felicitated and rewarded handsomely. The chief of the company sent his chauffeur-driven car to bring his family members for the function. On their way back home, Sudhakar told both his children, from this Sunday onwards along with coins, each will be given a ten-rupee note.
"Yes, Papa! we are excited to make good the loss. We would compete with each other now. "
The secret of the net worth of the children could never come to fore, thanks to Shila's presence of mind that helped maintain the tempo of the proceedings and gave it a seamless twist.