A Youth Buying Death
A Youth Buying Death9 mins 265 9 mins 265
Once I was coming by train from somewhere. Suddenly a boy of around 16 years old came screaming to me and seeing the vacant seat asked, ”May I sit?”
Yes, you may sit", I said. "But tell me your name”. The young man sat down and took a deep breath. “So tell me now, what were you asking?“Brother, tell me your name” I said.
I thought UP is such a state where there are some valleys of thieves and decoits. Hoping no thug out of those thieves was cheating me, I asked after thinking, “What would you do by asking my name? “ The young man was silent for a while and said, “Sir, please hold my bag, I shall go to the Restroom. He gave the bag and left”.
I placed that bag on his seat. Then it came to my mind, “What could be in this bag?”. The dirty old bag was also torn. I slid the chain and opened the bag a bit but when peeped inside, I was wonderstruck. I closed the bag immediately. My heartbeat increased thinking that he was probably a thief or a decoit in old clothes. My attention went towards my bag in which I had rupees two thousand and five hundred. It was absolutely safe. Just then my station came. I stood up, but perhaps the attention of the young man, standing near the door of the compartment, was also on me. He indicated to me to bring his bag. I lifted mine by one hand and by the other hand lifted his dirty bag. Afterwards, we both descended from the train and landed on the platform. As soon as we landed, the train hooted once and started moving. The train had gone. Only two of us had got down at that station. There was not even a ticket counter there. It was a deserted and isolated place.
“What village is this? Nobody got down here, except us two”. I asked that young man. Asking me to proceed, the young man said, “The village got devastated by flood almost 10 years back when I was five years old”. By saying this he became silent and wept bitterly. My heart got agitated. The surge in my moving heart could not control even the eyes and tears started flowing from them.
Then the young man asked, "Saheb, why are you crying?"I said,” Young man, I too have a connection with this village”.Then I started telling my story. When I left this village 30 years back, my age was about ten years. The Mukhia of this village was a despicable type of person. He exploited the people of this place. My parents, getting vexed with his exploitation, gave away their lives. After performing their last rites and leaving my property, which was pledged with the Mukhia, I went away from here to a far off alien country. People were respected there. And the people of that area gave me so much respect that I soon forgot the memories of this old village here. And I can never forget their favors. I got married there. Today I have two sons and two daughters. All are happy. Under the pressure of children and wife, I have come here today to get my ancestral land released. But after coming here I came to know that this village had got devastated due to the flood and again the tears gushed forth from my eyes.
But soon after wiping the tears I asked, “Do you stay here alone? Was your father also indebted to that heartless Mukhia? Do you steal? Where from you got so much money in your bag? In a single minute, so many questions came out from my mouth- from where I do not know. Then suddenly I became silent, waiting for his replies.
He was looking at me with astonished eyes. When I remained silent, he started talking. He began to say -
I am Rohit, son of the same Mukhia. The flood that came 10 years ago swept away my parents and the whole village. And I got entangled to the roots of one of the trees. Our house was at a height so it could not be adversely affected. All the slums there were swept away by the same flood. Our house was the only one which my father had built so strong, sucking the blood of the poor, that it was not swept by that flood. After a few days when the water dried up, I went into the village. I saw that in the entire village only our house was left intact.
There was neither any animal nor any man or even a piece of brick of any house but only the faint memories of that village remained. I started crying bitterly. Only then I thought in my mind of getting out from there. I went inside the house and saw that the vault, in which my father used to keep money, was perfectly safe at the same place. But definitely, it was smoky. I opened it and whatever money was in it I collected and kept them in this torn bag. And then I walked away from there. I reached the same railway station where we got alighted. In respect of this village, all trains stop here even today. I remained in this village for two months and when the train service resumed after the water got dried up, I went to a far off place on that train. I had about rupees one lakh with me. I went to a village by train. There I asked a man, “Brother keep this bag and give me food for 2-3 days.”He gave me food and said, “Come on give me the bag.”I started eating rotis. But suddenly he changed his mind, I do not know why and said:” Do you think by giving me this bag you will take so much food with you?” Return me back those rotis. I told, this bag has enough money for you to eat comfortably for your whole life. But instead, he threw away my bag and took away the rotis from my hand and also the morsel which I was about to eat hurriedly. He started telling “I do not want such easy money. Take back your money. By saying this he snatched away the roti and went away. I was still dying of hunger and kept on looking at him while proceeding towards the village where I saw an old Baba
I told Baba, “Keep this bag and give me rotis”
He asked, “What is there in the bag?”
“This bag has money almost rupees one lakh,” I told full of confidence.
Baba began to say –“Dear, the money snatches away the happiness of man. So I do not want to lose happiness by taking so much money. And by the grace of God, who gives us the bread two times that is good enough for me”. Baba went inside and brought one roti. He asked me to eat the roti and drink water from the earthen pot. I ate roti and drank water. That one roti kindled the fire of my hunger. I walked away from there. Later, I went to the Mukhia of the village and said, “Maharaj, please keep this bag with you and give me some work. You give me food every day. I shall do all your work.”
“What's in this bag? Where have you come from?”The Mukhia asked.“I have come from a nearby village. In my village, my father was the Mukhia. And this bag has rupees one lakh”. I said firmly.
“But that village was swept away in the flood. Then how did you survive?” The Mukhia asked.
“Maharaj, I got entangled at in the root of a banyan tree. And when the water dried up, I came out releasing myself from the root. That tree protected me.” I said
The Mukhia of that village was a big crook, deceitful, and wreaked havoc on laborers. Are you the son of the same Mukhia? If it is so, leave this village just now and take this bag too. Otherwise, if the youth of this village came to know then they would not leave you without harming”. The Mukhia said. My hunger kept me uncomfortable. I went from there to a house outside the village and told to a young man,” Brother, give me a small rope. The young man asked,” What will you do?”
“I want to hang myself. You take all the money in this bag”. I said.
The young man said, "Do you want to hang me too? No, I am a family man with children. So long as my hands are strong, I shall labor and earn for my living. You give this money to someone else. I do not know from where you brought this ill-gotten wealth. Go away; I do not have a rope. The young man showed his red eyes, raged in anger.
I quietly left that place and returned to the railway station again. I thought that this money has neither allowed me to eat my food nor to live happily. Apart from that, I can not even buy a horrible thing like death even by that money. How unfortunate I was! I kept that money aside and laid myself on the railway track and told, “God, please grant me death”. I have freed myself of money but felt sleepy when the train came and separated my head from the trunk. I died. My soul left my body. Again I picked up the bagful of money, lying beside me, and thought that whatever debt my father had I resolved myself to repay them without fails so that my father’s wandering soul and mine may rest in peace.”I have died but still, the bag full of money is still with me. This money belonged to the poor people, which could not even get me death and was not accepted by anyone” Rohit‘s soul said this in agony.
On hearing his painful story, tears filled my eyes again and I started telling “Brother, what would I do with this money? It could not even get you death. What good will it do to me? Just then the young man, Rohit started telling, “Saheb, you make four parts of it. You keep one part with yourself and divide the remaining among the poor. This will bring peace to the souls of our family members. I told, “No I cannot do this”.
Then Rohit started crying, falling at my feet and begged humbly. Seeing his misery, I said yes to him. Then suddenly there was a miracle which I had not even imagined. The young man disappeared from there and began to say “Thank you very much. Now I am going to that God”. He went away from there.
I was standing alone there with bags in both hands - on one of my hands I had my new bag and on the other the dirty bag. Then I ran towards the railway station and caught him and immediately got the seat. Being on my seat, I kept thinking of that soul but after a short while my village came and I got down. But then I suddenly felt burdened. It was 4 PM in the evening. And my mother was waking me up for tea. When my dream was interrupted, I found my village safe. My parents were also safe. But only the bag which Rohit had given me was not there nor that railway station...