Saturday, 28 March 2009

Bhutta waali

"Unless we have equality in our society , it will only remain divided and unstable. Howsoever elusive it may seem to be , communism is the only way to achieve stability", ranted a socialist during a TV debate. Being too pissed off of the nonsense being uttered I got off to ramble around. It was a cool calm evening of Darbhanga , which lasts for few days an year only. I wished to walk around the empty field, and for company thought of buying baked bhutta. There were too many options in terms of the sellers, I landed onto the one where a middle aged lady was sitting with a child around 10 years of age. She was baking bhutta on charcoal. Seeing me approaching see took out a bhutta for me , I felt the toughness of corn and retorted, " no , this is too hard". She smiled back, "babu! take this one, its tender and sweet!" I protested , "No! I want other one!", perhaps to show who the boss was! " . All right ! she brought out another one and started baking it. A quaint smile was sprawled all over her face. It was a caring smile, a peaceful smile, a smile found on face after achieving the satisfaction of a victory. What victory did she had today ? I wondered.

She was meanwhile tutoring her son as well , as when to pluck out the maize off the field. When is the best time to get it off the field and he seemed to understand it all. That scene of a child getting the knowledge of survival from her mother seemed like they way Krishna taught Arjuna in battlefield. Although the child here was not confused as Arjuna was.
In the process she kept negotiating with other buyers as well , and perhaps indicated her son to follow her in the art of negotiation. My bhutta was ready meanwhile and I handed her a 20 Rs. note . I was a bit lost into the calculation as to how much would they earn in a day. At most 100. Not more than that. But there was no sign of pain on their face, as pain has forgotten their address or may be they have grown inured to the daily challenges of life.

Well I took the change and bhutta and went ahead thinking about it. About the disparity. About the honesty of the poor even though they have everything to loose. How much they charged for a bhutta? I saw that the change was 7 rs. She must have charged 3 rs. It just then that I remembered that I had given her 20 rs. note. She should have had returned 13.
Did she cheat ? Or had she mistaken. I thought of lambasting the lady for this, just when the face of child and his mother came in front of me. How much will she gain my cheating me of 10 rs., may she will be able to give him a better food for the day. Or may be sweets tonight. I couldn't decide what should I do ? Also , I was apprehensive that she might refute my claims of giving her 20 rs note. All my assumptions of poor's honesty was drowned. It was not that I would have minded loss of 10 rs .

After some minutes of debating with myself I decided to get the money back . I went to her and told that I had given you 20 rs. note, expecting a refusal from her side. However, she immediately apologized, beat her knuckles against her head and returned a 10 rs. note to me, still smiling the same way. I felt sorry for her, though it appeared reverse.

I don't know why I went back to claim my money. I don't have an answer to that. Maybe I didn't want to dole out alms to her or may be I was too cynic with the thought that she might have had cheated. I went with bhutta to the field to roam about, only that I had more companions now, her persistent smile and my heavy heart.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah! Each and every word of yours enabled me to visualize the whole scenario. The 'Geeta Gyan' was absolutely stupendous.
But at one place I didn't feel good, when you returned back to ask for the money. Anyways! if I would have been at your place, I might have done the same, because this is the practicality of life. And at last you hv written that your heart was heavy bcoz of it.... that was really sweet :)

Wait! I hope the bhutta picked up by you 'Boss' might have not troubled you :)) isn't it....?