Raveendranath got retired recently and was totally at a loss as to how to spend the endless time hanging on him. He was getting bored – utterly bored. While in service, he was quite active and was running short of time; in fact all the time he was chasing time. Now to sit idle with no specific work on hand and nothing to keep him busy and engage his time fruitfully, he was finding himself restless. The only task he was performing was, reading Newspaper from first to last page and a few magazines from cover to cover. Earlier he would have a grazing glance at the headlines and then rush to office. Now he had time to go through all the pages and read the peppy and juicy stuff also. Sometimes, out of boredom and without any serious thought, he used to go through the classified advertisements also, like matrimonial columns which were in very fine small prints. On one such occasion, a block of advertisements caught his attention “WORK FROM HOME – PART TIME OR FULL TIME”. The ad emphasized on flexi timings, easy money, etc. “Oh! So cool! How Nice!” He thought and read it again and again. He took it seriously and thought why not give a try. First and foremost, he need not worry about how to kill time and then, he certainly did not have to worry about wading through the jam packed traffic nor had he to get into the already overloaded city buses. Neither subject himself to pickpocket, nor worry about getting late to office… The advantages of working from home are plenty. He made up his mind. He took out a small diary and marked it as “WFH”. He noted down the details of contact persons and their mobile numbers. There were about 7 cases.
Raveendranath had a strong faith in starting things or making new attempts only on auspicious days and at auspicious hours. Anyone who made sarcastic remarks about his about his strong belief, he would immediately retort him saying “Does anyone get married on any inauspicious day or at Raaghu Kaalam?” So he wanted to start his new venture also on an auspicious day only. He took out the almanac and jotted down the auspicious days during the week and timings available, so that he could contact his would-be employers at the earliest. Since he had strong belief in Numerology also, he wanted to try first with the third contact number, as number three was always his lucky number. Yes! He was really lucky. At the very first attempt itself, he got the person on the line who said that he believed in meeting people in person than talking on phone. He took down the address. Raveendranath became so ecstatic and was wondering what sort of a man he could be, to come home and offer jobs at his door step! “Nowadays who cares to come to see the person and do things like this? May be the ad man was in dire need of a hand and so he is coming in person! He should pay me well and not keep dodging….” His thoughts ran wild and just then the door bell rang. A well built man turned up. His name was Gurunath. He was keenly interested in introducing various techniques of amassing wealth. “Can you imagine a wealth – A Wealth by no means ever diminishing, nor can it be stolen, but just multiplies on sharing! I will teach you how to acquire it” He even recited Sanskrit slokas. Raveendranath knew one such sloka which referred to Vidhya Dhanam which attributed Knowledge as supreme – “Sarva Dhanaath Pradhaanam”. But this Guru was referring to some other Dhanam. He must be a real guru in his field! He was giving long sermons on how to work hard and earn good living. He said he was pained to notice that modern day sedentary lifestyle was taking a toll on many of his near and dear ones. So he made it a point to place an ad in papers and advise people to work from home, on easy terms, flexi timings that too, just half an hour a day, morning or evening. To make it more catchy and attractive, he added few more phrases – No costly Gadgets! No Computer! No Internet! No Browsing or Surfing! Amazing Results! Abundant Benefits! He happily confirmed that every week at least one or two customers did turn up to become the beneficiaries of the bounties!
Then he was referring to various poses in the work involved (which Raveendranath misunderstood as various processes in the work). He was really amused when Gurunath said “ Many a times you may have to work lying down, sometime sitting head down or legs crossed, kneel down, with folded hands or stretching arms (which again was mistaken as alms stretching!)” He was using Sanskrit words profusely like Karanas, Asanaas, Soorya Namaskara etc. Only then, Raveednranath had some idea as to what this Guru was up to. Was he by any chance a Yoga Guru? So he asked him directly – How all these types of WORK FROM HOME techniques would earn him money, how much and at what intervals, who would pay…. He wanted to clear off all his doubts. Guru then attempted to answer him one by one, “Money in monetary terms may be rupees, but it is not real wealth. It may get diminished on spending or stolen or get reduced when shared –but not the real “Wealth” I refer to which is good health. Let me tell you, and just be assured – there is no wealth greater than good HEALTH. As long as a man is free from all modern day health problems like Blood Pressure, Hyper Tension, Diabetes, Asthma, Constipation, Sleeplessness, Depression, Obese, Back Pain, Migraine, Joint Pains etc. etc. and enjoys good health, there is nobody happier than him – not even a millionaire! Do you know Yogasana offers remedies to all these problems I mentioned to you just now. You name it and I tell you the remedy. For respiratory disorders, there are many breathing exercises, for BP and tension, there are meditation and Praanaayaama, for reducing pot belly, there are Bhujangaasana, Naukaasana, Mathsyaasana and for anything and everything, there are Padmaasana and Soorya Namaskaras. The great sage Pathanjali had laid down each aasana for each purpose. Though many of them are lost and only a few are known to us, we try our best to pass them on to next generation.”
“I am charging a one-time fee of Rs 500/- only, that also just to cover my conveyance expenses. Actually I teach Yoga free of charge. I want all Indians should practice yoga everyday for one’s own sake – for their own well being and good health. It is easy, cheap and very-very useful. Above all, it is purely Indian. So shall we start now, Mr. Raveendranath?”
Raveendranath was awestruck. “My God! What an awesome idea of WORK FROM HOME and a new meaning for ‘amassing wealth from Work From Home’! This Yoga Guru had catapulted my very idea of Work From Home! But I am not interested in such work-outs”. So he told Gurunath that his regular morning walk rather a long walk, took care of his quota of drills for the day and therefore he was not interested in learning yoga now. He thanked him for the interest evinced. Gurunath asked “Are you very sure? You are missing a golden chance”. When he learnt that Raveendranath was adamant on his stand, he left the place grumbling that people had no regard for things they would get free. “Vinasha Kaale Vipareeta Budhi! They just don’t understand the merit of our age old Yogasanas or our heritage values. Only when foreigners applaud our Indian practices, they acknowledge them half heartedly” and then the man was gone.
Raveendranath took out his diary and struck out the number of the yoga guru from his list of 7 cases. What an irony, he thought! A dream of dollars raining on him every day through Work From Home was simply shattered! Having met with failure, he did not want to call the next contact number right then. He would rather wait for next auspicious day, so that at least his second attempt bears some fruit. Very soon the day dawned. Invoking the blessings from all Gods and Goddesses, he called the next number – this time not as per his choicest numerology, but on random picking. The number he tried went through and the man on the other side asked him to come down and meet him in person. Raveendranath was in high spirits.’ So it means’ he thought, ‘an interview would be there. Number of candidates may be more and that is why an early morning time was given to him’. Unlike his previous experience, the present job offer may not fizzle out. Even the zodiac fortune for the day clearly stated “a great deal awaits you. But don’t make an impulsive move”. He set out, with lots of hopes.
There was no difficulty in spotting the address as the landmarks specified for locating the house were very clear. The house was aptly named “HARITA” as the entire building was enveloped in greenery. The fragrance of fresh flowers and the wavering creepers beckoned the passerby to have a second look at the house. Raveendranath was quite pleased with the serene and cool atmosphere prevailing there. It had a very soothing effect and was casting a divine spell all around. The man Mr. Vaidyanath was right at the door to receive Raveendranath. Even before formal exchange of greetings, Raveendranath, wholeheartedly appreciated the green appeal of the house, which is a rare feature in the modern day concrete jungle. Vaidyanath humbly accepted and admitted that it was his cherished dream. He called it Hermit rather than a house and he took him around the house including the terrace. He explained in detail each and every plant, most of them herbs like Aloe Vera, Ashwagandha, Krushna Tulasi, Doorva grass, ginger, garlic, Sabjaa etc. and their medicinal usages – both curative and preventive. He took him to the backyard also, where the plants and creepers were seen profusely laden with vegetables. There were local and hybrid fruit crops also. The Bilwa tree was seen, with many ball- like fruits. A bee hive was also in place. By the side-walk, there were plenty of tiny plants in poly bags as he had seen in any Nursery Garden.
Having gone around the green garden, both came back to the drawing room, only to be greeted by two tall glasses of a herbal brew. Vaidyanath proudly said, “My Home Made Product! No adulteration! A very good health drink made from Aloe Vera”. Raveendranath was slowly losing interest I n the conversation going on from the morning. He thought, “What for I came here and what is going on here! Does he want me to be a salesman for his herbal products?’ He applied brakes to his thoughts so that he would not make any impulsive move. Instead, he preferred to wait and watch and observe what sort of Work From Home was he going to deliver. Was it in anyway similar to his previous experience?
Vaidyanath came to the topic of his business – that he was a dealer in herbal plants. He normally gave anything between 50 to 100 Nursery plants to the customers along with detailed printed instructions on how to nurture them, grow them, and develop the plants up to maturity level. He also gave requisite inputs like organic manure, organic pesticides and insecticides. After 30 – 60 – 90 days – that is, depending upon their maturity and growth he would come and collect the plants with assured payment in hot cash on the spot. While describing him about his plants, he drew his attention to his very advertisement – “Do you remember – I had mentioned Work From Home! No Machines – Only Plants! I was referring to these Herbal Plants only. As time passes, Plant and Machinery in any factory are subject to wear and tear and are necessarily to be depreciated in value to know their real worth. But the plants I recommend are not subject to wear and tear, on the contrary appreciate in value as time passes”. He wanted to make people understand the importance of our precious herbal wealth which are easy to grow. “They are cheap and full of good health factors. Most importantly there are no side effects. That is the beauty of our Indian Herbal System. But nowadays people want fast and immediate relief and therefore without hesitation, simply go in for English Medicines, unmindful of their side effects. They get relieved from one, but fall a prey to another and thereby get trapped in a vicious circle. One more funny thing you would have noticed – people prefer to spend hours waiting for a Specialist’s Consultation where as, they refuse to spend a few minutes with their plants. Do you know that a consumption of just a small bunch of few leaves of Neem, Tulsi and Bilwa every day will work wonders on any person with or without any ailment. If only I am permitted, I would rather replace all saline bottles in all hospitals with extracts of Neem, Tulsi and Bilwa leaves (NTV). … Mr. Vaidyanath kept on talking and talking as though he was the very incarnation of God Dhanvantari.
Raveendranath cursed his stars. What a mockery of “Work From Home Concept! His understanding of working from home was doing some paper work – like writing, typing, doing calculations etc., and getting paid for such works. But what he learnt now, were all unheard of. Earlier one Yoga Guru and now a Herbal Guru! Raveendranath had no inclination at all for digging, ploughing or doing such down to earth activities. He clearly told Vaidyanath that he was not cut for the plants. He had some other plans for himself and walked out, without even waiting for Vaidyanath to utter a word.
He came home, took out the diary, struck out the second caller and then heaved a sigh of relief. His son Surendranath, when came to know that the second episode also fizzled out, asked his father,”Give me a chance. Let me try. May be it will click well through me and work out successfully for you”. His father immediately retorted, ”No! No! Not now! Don’t. Who knows the third one would be a washerman / Dhobi or a presswallah, who would deliver me clothes of dirty dozens by the morning and ask me to wash and iron them and would collect them by the evening! On top he would coolly tell me this also is Work From Home! The fourth one may be our corner shop Dhaabhawallah who would supply ingredients for 100 Samosas andtell me to keep them ready so that he would collect them in the afternoon. I am sure the fifth one would the Supermarket fellow, who would simply dump his grains by tons of kilos and ask me to neatly pack them in small ½ ,1,2 kgs .packs Thank God! I do not know stitching. Otherwise, the tailor would come and deliver clothes for dresses and embroidery and nag me to work from home and complete them by date. The next one would sure be a Tele Calling business in which, I would have to call unknown people and advise them to buy products which they simply do not require and in return listen to all sorts of absurd and vulgar brickbats in all Indian languages, that too in impolite local slangs. Is it all necessary for me in this old age?” Surendranath was laughing. Still he asked, “Shall I try the next person and find out what he really has to say?” to which Raveendranath immediately said, “Nothing Doing! No more of work from home. Enough is enough! I made up my mind. I will go with my friend Ramnath and enroll myself in Ramakrishna Madam and spend some time in their Library or Dispensary.”
Surendranath still persisted. “Uncle Ramnath and R.K.Math are always there, Appa. They can wait. Why not try only one more attempt with this Work From Home list?”
“Oh! No! Not Again!” Raveendranth yelled and put a full stop then and then.