Friday, 28 June 2013

The overburdened donkey

Once upon a time there lived an old man named Boluram in a village called Vedaranyam. The village was devastated by flood and the survivors were few in number. Boluram and his grandson Kasi survived the floods, while the rest of the family members were washed away by the evil waters. Boluram was a washer man, but after his son started earning, he gave up his work and assisted his son in his endeavours. 
Boluram once again started collecting clothes from the neighbourhood
But after his son’s death, Boluram once again started collecting clothes from the neighbourhood and washing them on the river bank to feed the two of them. With the money that he managed to save he also educated his grandson in the village school.

Kasi was both bright and hard-working. He helped his grandfather during the weekends and went to school during the weekdays. One day as the little boy was helping his grandfather, he told him, that friends in his school teased him for washing clothes. The neighbours advised him to concentrate on his studies as he was a bright student. His grandfather completed his work, washed his hands and legs and sat on the rock nearby. He called Kasi near him and narrated a story to him.

“When I was a small boy, I used to accompany my grandfather to the river on a donkey every day. My grandfather was a washer man too!” said Boluram with lot of pride in his voice. “The villagers used to give a lot of free advice. They ridiculed my grandfather for making me sit on the donkey, while he, an old man was walking all the way. So from the next day my grandfather used to sit on the donkey and I used to walk along with the donkey. Sometime later, people started telling him that a small boy was walking while he was enjoying a free ride. From then on, both of us started walking, while my grandfather led the donkey all the way to the river” said Boluram to Kasi, who by now was in rapt attention. 
“After a while, some of the villagers started laughing at my grandfather, telling him that the donkey was meant to carry load. Since both of us were not fat, we could easily sit on the donkey’s back and reach the river. So, the next day, my grandfather made me sit ahead, while he sat behind and we reached the river.” Boluram could not talk anymore and grew silent. After a while Kasi asked Boluram what the matter was. As Boluram looked up, Kasi saw tears in his grandfather’s eyes. Kasi was upset as he never saw his grandfather crying and always knew him as a strong person.
Kasi got up and gently took Boluram’s hand and helped him to his feet. The two walked home silently.
After they completed their dinner, Boluram sat next to Kasi’s bed and began once again.
“Kasi”, he called out. Kasi nodded and said, “I am listening grandpa, go ahead.”

“Do you know what happened after that?” Boluram asked his grandson and without even waiting for a reply from his grandson, he continued. “In a week’s time my grandfather’s donkey died. It could not bear the weight of the two of us and the old animal died silently without giving us any advice. It served us loyally till the end. All of us felt sad, but my grandfather felt guilty. In a month’s time he was consumed by his guilt and he passed away.”

Kasi was moved beyond words and understood why his grandfather narrated this story to him. “Grandpa,” said Kasi in an understanding tone. “Wake me up early tomorrow, I have not yet completed my homework", he said.

A sense of peace overtook Kasi and he slept blissfully that night.