Vikram And Betaal
Vikram And Betaal
24-11-2020 Vikram and Betal in Modern Times
Betaal was a corpse that hung from a tree in a graveyard. King Vikramaditya had been tasked by a mendicant to handover Betaal to him. For this, he had to carry Betaal on his back and walk back to the mendicant, but he had to do so in silence or Betaal would escape back to his tree. To break his silence and hence escape, Betaal would tell him a story and ask him a question at the end.
One day as King Vikram carried Betaal on his back, Betaal started his story, “ The pandemic had hit the city of Mumbai in a bad way. The hospitals were running out of beds and ventilators. On one such day, there were two men admitted to the ICU in one of the hospitals. One of them a 27-year-old boy and the other was an 83-year-old man. They had slight breathing difficulties, which could possibly worsen. The old man heard the doctors discussing that they had only one ventilator and had to make a decision on whom to use it. As he lay on that bed, he thought back over his life. He had a good marriage, had brought up and educated his son and daughter, and had enjoyed playing with his grandchildren. He knew his family was devastated that he was in the ICU, but then he looked over to the young man sleeping on the next bed. He had seen that man’s mother and young wife weeping as they had been wheeled in. He was also possibly the sole bread earner of the family. The old man called and told the doctors that they should give the ventilator to the young man. He said that he had lived a long and happy life and he could move on, but the young man had a long life ahead of him and people depending on him, so he should survive. The next day the old man peacefully passed away and the young man survived after he was put on the remaining ventilator.”
“At the same time, in one of the poor sections of the society, a small girl had met with an accident and had been rushed to the local hospital. She had lost a lot of blood and was in immediate need of a transfusion. Her friend, a boy, who was standing near her and looking scared, immediately offered to donate blood. As he lay on the narrow bed, he had scrunched up his eyes and looked as if he was praying. The doctors thought that he was terrified of the needle, so they were very careful when they drew blood. But even after the process was completed, the boy continued to stay in the same position, eyes tightly shut and praying. The doctor shook him and asked him what the matter was. The boy in a scared tone said that he was waiting to die, now that he had donated all his blood. The good doctor realized that the kid was uneducated and had mistakenly believed that he would die after donating blood. The doctor praised him for his bravery, told him he would not die, and also gave him the good news that the blood transfusion had saved his friend’s life. The boy cried with relief and happiness and went to sit with his friend. This brings me to the end of my story. Now you tell me, whose sacrifice was greater? The old man who lost his life or the small kid who donated blood? “
King Vikram thought for a bit and breaking his vow of silence, said, “ No doubt, the old man’s sacrifice was great. He will be richly rewarded in the afterlife. But in this instance, the kid’s sacrifice is incomparable. He was an innocent who had spent only a few years on this Earth. But when it came to his friend’s life, he did not hesitate. He donated blood even though he thought he was going to die. He did not have time to reflect on his life and then act. He was ready to give up his life for his friend. Yes, definitely the small kid’s sacrifice is greater. “
Betaal was happy with the answer and also with the fact that he had made Vikram break his silence. “You are correct, Vikram. Ab mein jaata hoon. Mera picha chod de.. Mein tere bas mein aane waala nahin hoon, (Dont follow me. You will not be able to catch me)” and saying thus, Betaal escaped and flew away.