I used to give damn even to my wife’s squall while reading horoscope. It was something which was very close to my heart. I knew most of the people considered horoscope as a pseudoscience which was based on fallacious assumptions but I had witnessed so many times how its predictions emerged out as a facts. My day used to start from reading horoscope only and then I planned my entire day according to the predictions.
As usual today I was waiting the newspaper to hit my verandah. I asked my wife to serve black tea there only. I finished my tea and crossed the budgeted time for reading horoscope also but still there was no sign of newspaper vendor. My restlessness was boiling down to anger and the moment I saw the fleeting glimpse of the vendor I stood up from my relaxing chair and shouted “ Is this the time to supply newspaper……..we have got another hell lots of work to do…….If you can’t reach us on time …… tell me clearly……I will look for another vendor…………………..”
Newspaper vendor stalled for a second and then replied “ My son has been suffering from high fever for last night………we went to sleep after 3:30 in the morning sahib ji………from now onwards I will adhere to the timing Sahib Ji…………”
Within this short span of time my anger went down and gave an artificial smile. In return he also grinned.
I returned to my wife and shouted for a dress. Very soon I realized my loud voice was not reasonable. I knew she had been very sincere in all these daily routine work.
My close friends had suggested so many times to consult the doctor for my mood swings. I never cared for that. I always justified my ill temperament with the cause. At last I opened the horoscope page from where my day started. It took me three to four minutes to get upset.
“ Oh no……I have to be careful today……..” I murmured but my wife’s sharp ear just picked up my whisper and asked “ Why…….what is written in horoscope……..”
“ today’s prediction is very unusual……..It says that today I would upset so many people ………….” My face became serious.
“ you have already done that……..” my wife grinned.
Her statement made me uncomfortable. As far as I knew myself I was not a sadist then why would I upset someone. I knew I needed to work on my unnecessarily fluctuating temperament. I called my driver. Once again my temper upsurged when my driver informed that he would not be able to come to duty today. But I controlled my irritation.
I was already late for office. I dressed up fast and left for office without having proper breakfast. While driving to my office I submerged in my deep thought. Suddenly I realized the signal and applied the break out of my reflex. The screeching wheels of my car attracted the attention of all the people around there.
“ Oh God……nothing would happen to this country………no. of signals are more than the roads……..” I grumbled.
My eyes abruptly got stuck on a little poor girl wearing half torn clothes begging at the traffic signals in the scorching sunlight without thinking twice that whether her unconditional efforts would fetch a complete meal for a day or not. I could see that how she was plunging towards to the private cars to get some paise. It is very painful to see at someone whom you can sympathize but cannot help them totally to change their destiny. Today I was feeling the same when I saw that little girl. She looked at me and I flickered my eyes to signify my approval. I wanted her to reach me fast but the traffic signals did not support me. For a second I decided to slow down my car but the klaxon of the vehicles behind withered …………….. I had to move from there without making her smile. During the rest of my journey to office her hardships, her struggle, her efforts and her innocent face were floating in front of my eyes. I was cursing those people who came close for their fun but never thought of their end results.
“ Who give them the rights to produce the baby whom they cannot nurture…….Bastards ” I grumbled unconsciously.
I slid my car into the parking area and stepped out with heavy heart. I was convincing and reiterating myself for not bringing the smile on her face as I knew I had the intent of helping her. No sooner did I think of entering my office than a lady in her 40s appeared in front of me. She was looking pale, her clothes were untidy and hair was uncombed. She was not looking exactly beggar but one could see her poverty. From her bearing I knew she would ask for money. As expected She came near and said “Bhaiya…….. my daughter has not have anything for last two days……please make me buy few Rotis and Daal…….”
I did not know what happened to me, my anger upsurged immediately after hearing that. Her demand reminded me the mistakes they perpetually commit, the casual attitude they have about life and the stubbornness to never learn from their mistakes.
They are the same persons whose children have to suffer throughout the life. They are the persons who are the actual source of all crimes. They are the persons who produced the baby out of their pleasure and then throw them out into the scorching sunlight to fend for them.
“ What happened Bhaiya…….my daughter is hungry for last two days………”
“ Shut up……shuttt…..up……..” I shouted.
She gazed at me with complete disappointment and slowly moved away from there. After a few seconds I realized what I did. I always react first and then think. This time also I did the same.
I reached office. No sooner did I sit in my cabin than my Boss called me. I was already late today. My Boss had some urgent work with me but due to my late arrival he could not complete his presentation which was required in the meeting. I made him upset. I related this incident also to the morning predictions. I have the habit of discussing with my wife the issues which irk me continuously. I called my wife and shared both the incidents. I showed my sympathy towards the little poor girl and explained the reasons of my hatred of the beggars who were the cause of these things.
She listened patiently. I wanted to hear the justification of my reaction against that lady from her mouth. But unlike my expectation her statement made me disturb.
“ How would you judge that lady is not the victim of time……may be her daughter is actually hungry for last two days……if your intention is to help someone….then do it…..don’t think much……..God is there to pay you back for your good intent………..” She tried to make me understand.
“ I didn’t understand……….”
“ Okay let me share an incident……..” and then she narrated “ One day while I was returning from my school I saw a lady who was looking exhausted, pale faced, untidily clothed, holding some soiled paper in her hand, was standing at the bus stand with her small daughter. I was expecting that she would come to me and ask for alms. But she had been standing affixed in her place and gazing at me intermittently but did not utter a single word. After few minutes I felt she must be the victim of ruthless time. I wanted to help but in the course of dilemma my bus reached and I got up in the same. I could still feel her daughter’s eyes piercing at me and asking me the reason of not helping them…….” her voice shivered.
I also felt this kind of incident was not easy to forget if you have conscience and I did not want to continue with the same repentant feeling from which my wife was suffering. The last line of my wife made me more restless. I hung up the phone and went out of the office to find out that lady. I would get relief only when I helped that lady.
I combed the area around 1 km radius but did not find that lady. I was scanning all the beggars while searching her. Today’s prediction was floating in front of me. I was just counting the numbers of people whom I had made upset. I was also adamant that I would not go home without bringing smile on the face of at least one person.
Suddenly I saw that lady was sitting on the pakka beside a hotel. My heart wrenched. I cursed myself for scolding that lady in the morning and not helping her. I immediately took out a hundred rupee note and forwarded towards her.
She looked at me and gave a thankful smile. I got relieved from the burden of my conscience for not helping that little poor girl. I was very happy. At least I could bring back smile on someone’s face. I immediately called my wife and shared my satisfaction. Her voice was also turned on. I knew she must be happy after hearing this. Might be this would reduce her some burden of repentance.
It was 3:30 pm and I did not even start my day. I returned to my office and dug myself into the work. I was going through all the mails and abruptly my eyes stuck in one communication for which my Boss scolded me in the morning unnecessarily. It was not my responsibility at all. I felt bad. But I did not react. I finished my job and left the office at late hours. My mood spoilt further when I saw the front left tyre of my car was punctured.
It was 8:45pm and difficult to find out someone who could change the tyre. At this age I could not have even thought off to do the same by my own. I tried few numbers but from everywhere I received unprofessional reasons for not coming. It disturbed me like anything. Finally I got one mechanic who was on his way to home. I requested him to help me. Initially he was reluctant but somehow I cajoled him. He asked the kind of service charge which I could not even think in my dream.
“ Rs 300/………Boss ……..this is toh exploitation……..” I said irritatingly.
“ Okay…..don’t get exploited………ask someone else to change your tyre……..” He answered back bluntly.
“ Okay….okay…….how long it would take………”
“ half an hour…………”
I thought what I would do by standing half an hour there. It was 9:15 pm and I was tired and hungry. I moved out from there to have some food. Behind the parking lane there was a restaurant. I did not have any choice but to go to any other restaurants so I got inside. Without wasting any time I ordered Masala Dosa and lassi. I was waiting for the same restlessly. Finally the waiter served Dosa after 20 minutes. I had also the sense of urgency at the back of my mind. I tore the small piece of dosa and lifted up to my mouth suddenly I saw the same lady, whom I helped with hundred rupee note, was receiving some amount from the cash counter.
At the first instance I felt immense happiness that she was able to feed her daughter today but on the next moment I realized she was alone and her daughter was not with her. I could see the few notes she was grabbing in her hand. I wanted to ask her the reason but she left before my asking anything. My curiosity did not end here. I immediately reached to the manager and asked “ Sir….if you don’t mind….can you tell me how much that lady has given to you………”
That man gave a smile and asked “ Why are you asking like this…..do you know this lady……..”
“ Yeah…..actually not……….actually her daughter was hungry for the last two days and she was very disturbed………………” I blurted out.
That man laughed loudly “ You are so simple Babu ji…….This dialogue has become so old………how did you get trap in this……….I know her for last 5 years….she stays with her uncle in Bustee area…. ..and does party whenever she traps good people like you……she doesn’t have any daughter………By the way how much did you give…….”
“ Hundred rupee……”
“ Haah…….that’s why…….I am thinking ……who has become rat today…….Oops….sorry….sorry……” He grinned.
I didn’t say anything to him. While I was moving towards the parking area silently I revisited the whole day. As per the prediction I did not make anyone upset whether newspaper vendor or that lady or my Boss or even my wife. But in that prediction no where it was written that everybody would make me upset whether it was my Boss’s scolding on my late coming, or that newspaper vendor who was the cause of my delay or that driver who did not join the duty today or that mechanic who exploited me or finally that lady who made fun of my emotion.
I was silent but thinking hard whether to believe on horoscope or not from now onwards.