Monday, December 1, 2008

Memories-A fast buck

This is an incident about my childhood which is stuck in my memory and would probably always be there for the rest of my life.
It was a wedding in my neighborhood in the beautiful city of Chandigarh, Punjab. It is a custom in Punjabi weddings to throw money in the air when all the guests are dancing in the streets to the rhythm of the "dhols" (drums) played by "dholwallahs". The money thrown was then collected by beggars, domestic helps and the guys playing the dhol. I was a six year old then who was invited to the wedding with my parents, watching the proceedings with boredom when it suddenly struck me that I could make some quick pocket-money in that situation.

I eyed the coins and the currency notes scattered on the road with lust and was looking for an opportunity to pick up a few coins and stuff it in my pockets before anybody could notice. Throughout the celebrations, my total concentration was on the road, looking for currencies which went unnoticed by the beggars and dhol-players. What I did not know, was that my father, who was on the first floor of the nearby building, was watching the entire episode from the balcony and had read my intentions correctly.

After the celebrations were over, and as I was headed home, I suddenly felt a strong hand on my shoulders. It was my father, with a very mean look on his face. He took me to a corner of the building, where nobody could see us, and asked me to empty my pockets. I tried to protest and wanted to demand why I was being asked to do so, but the look in his eyes told me I should simply do as I was told. I turned my trouser pockets inside out and to my good luck, my pockets were empty. My father checked my pockets again as he was sure I had picked up some of the coins from the streets. Luckily for me, I did not manage to pocket any of the coins or currencies and I thanked God for that. Had my father found any coins in my pockets, I was in for a good bashing. After having gone through all the pockets in my clothes, and finally satisfied that I had not picked up anything, my father told me, “I know what was on your mind. Don’t think that you can fool me just because there was nothing found in your pockets. I can read your mind, so don’t you ever dare to pocket what is not yours”. With that, he went away, leaving behind a very relieved boy of six, who had missed out on making a fast buck, but learnt a very important lesson of life.

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