Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Secret of Wealth: Revelation

(Please Click here to read part one - The secret of wealth: Investigation)

The security room at Ramkishan’s mansion is a turmoil today. Chaos. Clamor. Every black suit in here is rushing for something. Some are checking security footage of last two hours. Some are busy over communication devices. Some mull over the documents. Some aren’t doing anything but at least they seem worried. Ramkishan enters the room. A fair man with a decent moustache. Simple clothes. Convenient hairstyle. He is worried too. His eyes searching for the chief. “What happened?”

“We lost signal from one of the trackers,” The chief says. “We are still trying to figure out what happened, the chicken itself jumped over the walls or he had had help. But we are more lenient to the case where he might have had help.”

Ramkishan gaps at the chief. “Imbecile,” Ramkishan growled. “Get away from my face and search the village!”  

The banyan tree inside the Krishna temple looks like a corona today. Candles burn around it as if stars in clear night sky. A two feet high platform surrounds the tree and a sea of villagers surround the platform like an asteroid belt. Men and women. All eyes inquisitively look at the platform. Some kids play at distance, some whine in their mother’s arms. Natwar stands tall on the platform, all swollen of pride. These villagers once despised him and now they are all here to hear him. Even at this moment, Natwar is able to think something deep and wise. Had life been a sea, every boat would reach the land upside down. Natwar is wise. Natwar is humble. Natwar learnt humility in his mother’s womb, like Abhimanyu learnt to fight.

Today is the day of joy, for Natwar. For others, their heart burns. All those women, who once declined Natwar’s love proposals, could cook supper over their hearts. All those men who married those women be like – light a cigarette dude!

Ironic! All their kids want to be like Natwar!

Behind this entire envious crowd, where candle light doesn’t reach, sits a man, dark and bearded face. Sinister eyes and bare hairy chest. This is Lakha! The abductor of buffaloes. The consumer of Alcohol. His right-hand holds a bottle of rum. His left hand soothes folds of his shabby white Dhoti. His eyes follow Natwar’s movements on the platforms. His nose breathes fire. He hates Natwar. Not only Natwar stole the buffaloes he had stolen, he exposed him. Now a lamb goes missing and villagers come knocking at his door. Had Lakha carried a dagger, it would be hanging across Natwar’s heart right now. Alas, he doesn’t. He pours another sip of neat rum into his throat and all his rage washes away.

Meet Lakha – Lakha is chagrin but Lakha knows how to maintain propriety. Lakha stays calm. Be like Lakha!

“Friends!” Natwar’s voice travels. “For years, Ramkishan had been holding a secret from us. It ends today. A few weeks ago, I vowed to unfold the mystery. I stand in front of you, at this hour, and I hold the answer to all your questions…,” Natwar says. He turns around and village chief’s son, Raju, hands him a Hen. The villagers look curiously at the chicken. Suddenly, Natwar is not the center, the chicken is. Talent doesn’t count, the peculiarity does. It triggers a clamor among the audience. Some start despising Natwar already, some crack jokes from behind. “What does this chicken do? Does it give golden eggs?” A collected laugh rises.

Natwar smiles, he is about to say yes, at the same time, cohering with a shrill sound, something impales his shoulder. Electricity. It is a pin. It carries a small pocket behind it. Sedative. Now, no matter how much pro Natwar is, he cannot resist a sedative drug. Within seconds, His view begins to blur and he falls from the platform like a wooden log. Straight and lifeless.

Natwar opens his eyes in a perfect darkness. He closes his eyes again. Nothing! He opens, still nothing! It confuses him. Whether to open his eyes or close them. It doesn’t make any difference whatever he does. Natwar finds himself worried now. This situation has left him indecisive. Has he gone blind? A chill runs through his body. Well, only the morning can confirm it for him. All he can do is wait. He erects himself with the support of an invisible wall.

Natwar’s eyes open themselves a few hours later. He looks around. He can see his legs. He smiles. His eyes are okay. Light enters the room from a window near the ceiling. It makes frustum of a cone as it flow into the room, small particle shimmer as they scatter the light. He looks at the shabby wall around him. A deformation lies in a corner. It is not a deformation! It is human. A man. He stares at Natwar with his bony eyes. His beard as long as Leela’s hair. (Leela is a girl from village.)

“Are you from village?” Something reciprocates below those stone eyes.
“Yes!” Natwar replies, his voice cold and ignorant.

“How is my son? Lakha. You must know him. It is a small village.” He says. Natwar doesn’t reply. No way is Natwar going to tell Lakha’s father how Lakha is. He hates Lakha and now Lakha plus one. The man speaks again, “He was a dumb kid, you know. I tried to teach him the art of stealing, the way my father taught me. But poor kid couldn’t even steal a glass from Ramu’s tea-stall. I was so disappointed. I thrashed him that day. I feel guilty. How could I know I would never see him again? It has been six years.”

Natwar opens his jaw. It takes him moments to process it. Yes! He is Lakha’s father. He knows him. But no one noticed he had disappeared several years ago, except Lakha of course. Natwar smiles. There must be a reason Ramkishan is keeping him here. He knows something. “Well, you may feel proud to know that Lakha is your blood and now happily stealing things as big as a few buffaloes. You just tell me one thing, how did you end up here?” Natwar asks.

“Well, it is not that complicated,” The man says. “Back then, Ramkishan used to live in a hut. One day Ramkishan came to me. He said he needed to sell some gold, needed my help. I thought Ramkishan had also begun stealing things. In the hopes of expansion, I helped him sell some gold. But there was something peculiar about that gold. It was brittle, like a very thin layer of it, as if removed from a curved object. I tried to find out where it came from. That day, I sneaked into Ramkishan’s home, and  it was the last day I saw the sun.” His eyes turn pitifully sad as he says that.

“Did you find out about the gold? Why it was layered like that?” Natwar asks.

“Of course, I did,” The man says. “It was peeled off of an egg. Ramkishan’s chicken are not like normal birds. They give eggs with golden layer. Inside, there is a natural egg, which upon harvesting would give a chicken, which would give more number of such eggs. This is the secret of Ramkishan’s wealth.”

Natwar smiles. Is it possible? The existence of such creatures, which would give golden eggs. But if an object as large as the earth can rotate around a bulb as small as the sun, anything is possible. Natwar smiles broader. Now, he knows the secret. The mission is complete. He admires the way universe acts. It does not act in circles, but in spirals. You may think you are repeating the same path, repeating the same milestones. But no! You are not. You may be passing near the previous milestones but not through them. Eventually, you are going to arrive where it begins. Because it is a spiral after all.

But no matter how wise Natwar has become, he is still in captivity. Wisdom doesn’t break walls; hammer does, and no matter how much pro Natwar is, he doesn’t carry a hammer all the time.

Natwar stares restlessly at the walls. He tries to reach the only window, but it is too small. Only an infant can pass through it. He tries to jump and look outside. Nothing! He tries to rattle the steels rods that bar the prison. It doesn’t budge. Eventually, he gets mad and start kicking the wall.

“What are you looking for?” Lakha’s father asks.
“The thing you have been looking for last seven years–a way out!” Natwar replies irritatingly.

The old man spits. He slides from his place and turns around. He removes a chunk of garbage that is deposited along the wall and there it is! A cave! A narrow passage through the wall. Natwar consecutively looks at the cave and the old man. “It is a cave!”

The old man spits again. “I completed it about two years ago. But just when I was going to go, it occurred to me. I like this place more than I like outside world. I get free food and I don’t have to bath every day.” The old man shrugs.

Natwar never thought it could be this easy. He hugs the old man and slides through the tunnel. Within two hours, he was outside the walls of Ramkishan’s mansion.

Two weeks later:

About fifty percent of Ramkishan’s chicken are stolen. Every now and then villagers break into Ramkishan’s mansion and steal the hens. One day Lakha goes in. But he doesn’t steal anything, he comes out with his father. His father carries one or two of the chickens, though. Within few months, people who want to sell the yellow precious metal flood the market. It doesn’t take very long for the market to figure out that there is more supply of gold than demand. Soon, the price of gold crashes like an aircraft made by amateur engineers. In the first week of October, they said that onions were costlier than gold.

Does Natwar care about it? No! He doesn’t. Natwar is above pity things like money and onions. The villagers worship him. The kids hear Natwar’s stories every day before bed. Leela’s father wants to make Natwar his son-in-law. However, Natwar does not care about it at all. His eyes dream of bigger adventures at a bigger place. Natwar is ambitious!

The village kids, who study in town, they say, Natwar has left the village and gone to London. There he joined an organization known as MI6. He changed his name. They call him James Bond now and he has a package of seven lakhs per annum.

…and then they all begin to laugh.

Moral of the story: Morals don't do any good. Stop reading morals!

1 comment:

  1. Funny (fanny) end of story. Nicely written.gangadhar is Pareek is a writer, he writes his thoughts and dosen't care about people's comments. Be like Pareek...cheers :)