Friday, March 19, 2010

My God.

“Can money buy everything?” he asked innocently.
The question seemed to be a mature one from a boy of only five. Chacha smiled at this maturity and replied, “No, money can’t buy everything. It can’t buy love, friendship, or loyalty.”
“And God? Can it buy God?” he asked quickly.
“Of course not, Sahil,” saying this Chacha went to his work.
* * * * *
Sahil’s father died while working on a construction site and his mother was the lone earner of his family of four kids. She stitched clothes at night and cleaned dishes at day.
Chacha was Sahil’s neighbour and he made gods’ idols for a living. Chacha was a sanitarian with kind eyes and a humble face. He lived with his youngest son who was an alcoholic. His daughter-in-law used to sweep and clean peoples’ home but still they didn’t have enough to feed their 4 sons and 2 daughters.
Sahil was just a year old when Chacha made his best sculpture ever, a beautiful idol of Lord Ganesha. He told Sahil that Ganesha is his friend and he will give him anything that he desires with pure heart.
Sahil used to talk to Ganesha’s idol for hours. He considers him his best friend. He used to discuss his problems with him and used to tell him everything about his life. Sometimes Sahil’s mother listened to his prayers and desires and she tried to give Sahil whatever he wanted. He was always told that Ganesha is listening to his prayers and he is the one who is fulfilling Sahil’s wishes.
The other person with whom Sahil was very close was Chacha, the one who gave him his best friend as his blessing.
It was a fine day when Sahil went to Chacha’s home and after having a chat with his friend Ganesha he went to play with his friends. A few minutes later Sahil’s mother came to talk to Chacha’s daughter-in-law, Lakshmi.
“Lakshmi, where are you?” she shouted after entering the house.
“Arey Geeta beti,” (Oh, Geeta daughter) said Chacha, when he saw her.
“Namaste Chacha,” greeted Geeta. “I came to tell Lakshmi some good news.”
“Oh, may I also know what it is?” asked Chacha.
“Of course Chacha,” replied Geeta. “I was just talking to Lalita…”
“Who?” Chahca seemed confused.
“Lalita, Chacha. Ramesh’s wife,” Chacha gave a nod as if he understood now, “she is looking for a wife for her son. Her son is working with his father but will become a tailor after a few years just like his father. So I suggested your granddaughter Mira’s name to her.”
“Mira? My Mira?” Chacha seemed glad.
“Yes, Chacha, your Mira,” Geeta smiled. “She is now 17 years old and I don’t think Lalita will get a better daughter-in-law than Mira.”
Just then Lakshmi came in and Geeta told her the news. “That’s wonderful. But are you sure Lalita will marry her son into a family like ours?”
“Lakshmi dear,” consoled Geeta, “don’t worry. Let us pray to God. When I talked to her she seemed interested though.”
When Geeta was discussing this matter with her elder daughter, Sahil overheard them. He quickly went to Ganesha and told him the whole matter. “Ganesha, I want Lalita to agree. Please Ganesha tell her to come to Chacha’s place and ask for Mira’s hand.”
After 3 days of restlessness spent by Lakshmi and Chacha, Lalita finally came to their home. They greeted her warmly and soon after Lalita asked Lakshmi if she can have Mira as her daughter-in-law. Lakshmi was overwhelmed by the news and readily agreed.
When Lalita left, Lakshmi went to Geeta’s home and told her the good news. When Sahil came home that night, Geeta told him that soon Mira will get married. Sahil was very happy and ran to greet his friend.
Soon all the people of the street started preparing for the wedding of Mira with Kishore. The kids were having a blast. Geeta started stitching beautiful clothes for the bride and her family.
Then one day Lalita came to meet Lakshmi and told her that her son will soon become a tailor and in a year or two he will have his own shop.
“So,” said Lalita, “I would like you to give your daughter at least a television at the wedding.”
Lakshmi didn’t know what to say. She barely had anything to give as a dowry. She thought that Lalita is a fine lady and will never ask for dowry. But now a week before the wedding how could she manage to buy a television.
“Don’t worry Lakshmi,” said Chacha, “I have so many idols right now. And I will make some more idols this week. I will try to sell all of them so that we can get enough money for the television.”
Sahil was listening to all this while sitting beside Ganesha. “Ganesha,” he innocently said, “can’t you do anything for this? See how worried Chacha is. I can’t see him like this. Please do something for him.”
“My mother was saying that she will sell our utensils for the money,” Mira’s younger brother told Sahil. “And all the idols of gods that we have in our home will also be sold.”
“Will everything be sold out?” Sahil asked.
“Yes, of course. Money can buy anything and everything.”
Sahil ran to Chacha and asked, “Chacha, can money buy everything?”
The question seemed to be a mature one from a boy of only five. Chacha smiled at this maturity and replied, “No, money can’t buy everything. It can’t buy love, friendship, or loyalty.”
“And God? Can it buy God?” he asked quickly.
“Of course not, Sahil,” saying this Chacha went to his work.
Chacha had sold almost all of his idols but still they were short of money. He was making a fine Durga idol when Sahil came towards him.
“Chacha, I have asked Ganesha to help you. He will surely find a solution for this problem.”
Suddenly Chacha stood up and went inside the home.
“Lakshmi, oh Lakshmi,” he cried.
“What happened?” Lakshmi came running. She saw Chacha and Sahil standing there. Sahil was as confused as Lakshmi herself.
“Lakshmi, I have decided to sell my Ganesha’s idol. That is the best work I had done so far and I’m sure we’ll be able to buy the television then.”
“No,” cried Sahil. He had tears in his eyes. “You can’t sell Ganesha. He is mine.”
“Sahil, please understand,” said Chacha, “Mira’s wedding is the most important thing right now for us.”
But Sahil started crying by then and Lakshmi came to hug him. He ran from there and went to his home. Geeta asked him the matter and he told her everything between his sobs.
“Sahil beta,” (Sahil, my son) said Geeta, “Can’t you see, Ganesha is helping Chacha this way. He is going so that happiness and joy can come to Mira’s house.” But Sahil’s sobs were not stopping.
The next day a wealthy man bought Ganesha and gave Chacha a huge amount of money for his wonderful work. When the people came to take Ganesha with them, Sahil came running and held Ganesha tightly. He started crying and was not leaving him.
“Sahil, go away,” Chacha said angrily. “What are you doing? Don’t you want to see Mira happy? Let him go.”
“But you said money can’t buy love, friendship or God. You are a liar,” and he continued crying.
Geeta came and took Sahil in her arms. She was also crying seeing Sahil in such a pain.
Those people took Ganesha with them in the car and Sahil jumped from her mother’s arms and ran towards the car. When the car was out of his reach he stopped running and came strolling back with a red face full of tears.
Chacha looked at Sahil and felt bad for him. He can still recall his mature words when he asked “Can money buy everything?”