Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Parable

When I was a kid, my mother bought me a children’s Bible. It had beautiful pictures with big-print words and a nice cover. I really loved the book and its contents. My favorite part of the book was the New Testament parables.

The parables I liked most were about Jesus and the prostitutes (not that I actually understood who they were). My understanding was that, if you needed a straight ticket to heaven, then you better be a prostitute!

Somewhere along the way, I have lost all that innocence, but a small story I heard yesterday, suddenly made me remember those days again. I was left wondering once more, whether you actually need to be a prostitute to get that ticket (not that I believe in heaven anymore).

Tony a.k.a Pullachen had had a few pegs before the story came out. For sake of conciseness, I will not explain the context in which he told it.

During his time in engineering college, Pullachen used to find himself in financial deep shit by the third week of every month. By the fourth week, not only would he be broke, but even the “world banks” would be broke.

The high-profile 10, 20 and 100 rupee notes would have already bid adieu to his pocket by that time. Only the coins, those ill-respected friends of a needy student would remain faithful. On such occasions, Pullachen would sometimes go to a nearby shanty shop (murukan kada) to buy a banana or some small snack.

This particular shop was (and still is) run by a woman in her late 60’s. She was a very kind soul, who would give two or even three snacks/bananas for a paltry rupee on seeing his plight. Naturally, she was very popular during the fourth week of the month. But during her formative years, she was even more popular (?) for a totally different reason. She was supposedly (according to Pullachen) the no.1 prostitute in Chengannur.

The years passed and finally engineering was over (Praise the Lord!). But when we passed out, the job market was really down. It was tough to get even a single interview and it took Pullachen nearly a year of job hunting to get a decent job. Naturally, he was right on cloud nine when he got it finally.

It was time to say thank you, to a lot of people. Thus, he went to see his old acquaintances in Chengannur. All of them were extremely pleased that he had got a job and unsurprisingly most of them immediately asked for a grand treat. Pullachen was more than happy to oblige these requests.

Finally, he went to see this old woman and told her the good news. She was so very happy to hear it that instead of the normal modus operandi to ask for a treat, the poor woman actually pressed him to have a few more snacks from her humble shop. He tried to pay for it, but she just wouldn’t accept anything from him. Pullachen was left open mouthed at her display of such innocent joy. Happy to know, that he had such a genuine well wisher.

What she gave him would be worth only a few rupees. But 4 years down the line, it is heartening to see that he still values her genuine heartfelt gesture as “priceless”.

5 comments:

jagadeesh said...

touching... what you do shouldnt say what you are!!

N!$#@N^# said...

man!! a good serious write up.

Sarah said...

Curious..was the shop on the left side of the panthalam road as you travel from the MC road towards panthalam?

N!$#@N^# said...

by the by on a lighter note.. if we didn't have the world bank "Mr Rinu" himself in our hostel, we would ve been worse... ;-)

Abraham Menacherry said...

Jagadeesh: Yeah man very touching.... infact when he said it, i was already half drunk and for me to remember it you can understand how "emotionally" he told it...

Nishu:Ha ha, without rinu where would we be...:)

Sarah: I am not sure about this, but I will check with him. My idea is that it is somewhere near the chengannu railway stn.