“According to the calculations, the positions are not that favourable, so I think you can postpone it for a week !”
Rama’s face was serious. So was the face of the man sitting opposite him.
Rama continued, “But no need to worry, your patience will be rewarded, it says!”
Now the stranger’s face glows a bit.
The stranger stood up, folded his hands in reverence, said a “thank you” and parted.
Ashok, who was watching all these, came from inside the house and gave a sharp look at Rama. Rama didn’t look at his face, but at the gate through which the stranger passed out.
“How many times have I asked you to stop this ‘charity’ business? You are old, but any stranger can come here, get what they want and go, without spending a penny. Either you should charge for this or else you should stop!!”
Telling this Ashok mounted on his small scooter and rode away. Rama looked at him. As his image disappeared from his sight, a drop of tear rolled down Rama’s cheeks. Rama never wanted to displease his son, he only wanted to help others!
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday” ~ Kalil Gibran
Those were the words of a great artist and philosopher who passed away twenty years before Rama’s birth, and of course Rama didn’t ever come to read this truth. Rama happened to be none other than the son of a village peasant, who grew up in poverty and other difficulties, which ultimately made him another young farmer.
Neither he had been gifted with the chance or choice of learning nor had he cultivated an interest by himself . So, that still gives him the status ‘illiterate’ in any profile or document. And needless to say, his thumb impression was his signature. But years of experience working in the field, made him an expert farmer, who was knowledgeable and dependable in all ways. That itself is a great qualification these days. Having a mind and body to cultivate the food he wanted, he could always enjoy fresh and healthy meals, and how many can do that these days?
But there was another talent he possessed that attracted some of the farmers from the village and nearby places to him. Rama had a good knowledge in astrology, and those farmers who came to him, wanted to know the best time for sowing, so that they could reap the best harvest. He did the predictions so accurately, that his limited clients were very happy with him. But none other than farmers met him. Who will meet a farmer to know the future, when you have hundred boards of ‘professional’ astrologers on your way? And those who met him only asked about crops, sowing and harvest. Actually he knew more, just like a real astrologer, he could predict about their life, their wishes and may more. But no one asked and so he didn’t tell them too. He was not greedy to charge for the predictions, as today’s almost all astrologers, but sometimes some clients used to give him charge in the form of kind, like a small sack of rice, or a basket of vegetables and even a bunch of good banana. He didn’t refuse them either.
Since his youth, he had been a simple farmer with a helping mentality. But there were not many friends for him, because he never drank, or smoked or gambled like some others. He never gossiped. Whatever he did was toiling in the fields in the day and having a good sleep at night in his small house. When his parents died, he became alone in the house, and he decided to marry.
Kamala thus came and made his life happy and he was more happy when they were eagerly waiting for their child’s arrival to this world. Unexpectedly and unfortunately, Kamala had to undergo a surgery then and this information stopped Rama’s heart for a while. He knew the moon transition is going to have a bad luck…and he had a really bad luck, he got the son, but lost his wife!
From that moment he lived for his son, initially he had to struggle much to bring up the little one all alone, but he enjoyed his fatherhood each moment. Ashok was a sweet and calm boy initially, but as he grew up, he developed hatred to whatever his father told and always behaved arrogantly. But Rama silently wept, he was not that type of father who liked to scold and punish children.
Ashok, now doing his last year graduation in engineering, looked down at Rama and his beliefs and always announced that he is an atheist. Rama would get hurt each time Ashok makes such statements. But when he got placed in a good company through campus selection it was Rama who was more happy as any other father. His boy is going to be on his own, he is educated, that was a wonderful feeling!
Young people in their young days do many things just because of the adventurous mind which finds joy in risk taking. Ashok was now into one of those things…the business of shares! His gang of friends are all involved, but they were all from economically sound families, so this was their hobby, even if they used their parent’s money. Ashok, who didn’t want to feel less, was asking Rama money for investing. Rama who had toiled all those years have managed to have an account, which was not very low, may be his only savings apart from the field and home. Ashok was demanding to give him a considerable part of it, and for the first time he became seriously angry at his son’s demand and refused to give money.
“You can serve others for free, why can’t you help me? I am not going to waste it, I can make it many times bigger! Why you act like a miser?”
Rama now lost all his control.
“I lived all these years for you and only for you, and my only wish is to see you live in a good way. When did I act like a miser to you? But I don’t want to spoil all those hard earned money just for this gambling like business. Firstly, you haven’t entered your job yet, you are not self sufficient, if some losses happen, how will you make up? Don’t play all those games played by your wealthy friends. You should think who you are, from where you come. Never ever forget that…..”
“ I know very well that I am born as a son of a petty farmer who believes in stars and planets and who knows nothing but working in soil, like a donkey. And where the hell you got the idea that the share business is gambling? Ok… you hug your hard earned money and sleep…..If I want to play, I can also find the way to do it…..”
Rama replied, but Ashok turned away, “I said gambling like! Are you sure you will always get more than you invested? Are you sure that you won’t not lose everything you gained the very next moment? Isn’t that almost like gambling?”
There was no one in the house to answer. Ashok has left before Rama completed his reply. He came only late night. Rama was anxious, but didn’t ask anything. But when he saw Ashok coming near him, Rama felt love surging in his heart. But his tone made him gloom again.
“I am going to the town for the next few days. I have got some work there. I will be back when I am done!” With these words, Ashok went inside the house and came back with a bag.
“Don’t keep on enquiring at my friends’ homes!” That was the next instruction.
Ashok started his scooter and drove away. Rama didn’t understand what is going on. He left with a bag so suddenly , so he might have planned everything well before.
Rama sat in the veranda, lost in thoughts. He couldn’t sleep. Days passed. Rama was feeling bad. Without seeing Ashok even after one week, Rama decided to enquire his friends’ places. He had all wild fears in his mind. When he was about to lock the door and go out, he saw a shabby figure walking into the home.
“Ashok!” Rama cried, went near him and hugged him. Ashok was now crying like a child.
“Where were you? What happened to you? Where is your scooter?”
Ashok was now crying hugging Rama. “Father, please forgive me. I didn’t obey you and I got the reward for it too!”
Rama was almost crying now. “Son, please tell me what happened?”
“I borrowed money from my friends to invest in shares, first two days, we got profits, then it started to decline, and I lost everything. Then my friend, asked me to return money, but I didn’t have anything left. I sold the scooter and could give a small amount. I still owe him a lot…..please forgive me…..” Ashok fell on Rama’s feet crying.
Rama lifted his son. He couldn’t look at his son’s tear filled face. “Don’t worry son, we will repay the amount. I am happy that you are back without any danger…. A parent always forgives …don’t cry…I can’t see this …!”
If it were the tears of guilt, loss and repentance that flowed from Ashok’s eyes, it were the tears of a father on getting back his lost son, flowed over Rama’s face.