Monday, 10 November 2014

Ten dollars a bunch, please…

Aryan was rather silent and remained so all through the ride back home. Vivek was surprised at his friend’s unusual silence but decided to wait until they got back home.

“Aryan, what’s bothering you?” Vivek asked sipping his evening tea. Aryan looked blankly into his teacup.

Vivek gently placed his cup down and took Aryan’s teacup and placed it in his friend’s hand.

“I am not just your roommate, I am your best buddy. Now tell me what the matter is,” Vivek sounded firm.

“I am doing a job that I never wanted to do and yet I have to act like this was what I wanted to do all my life,” said Aryan, his frustration echoing in his tone.
Vivek understood his friend’s plight. He also knew that getting a job was difficult and therefore did not want to advise his friend to quit his job. He knew Aryan’s family was dependent on his salary.

Vivek asked Aryan to change into his shorts and T-shirt, while he himself took out his sports shoes.

“Are you calling me out for a jog or something?” Aryan asked his friend.

“I have been wanting to take you to a place and today seems to be the aptest time to do it,” Vivek replied.

“Where to?” Aryan was curt.

“You will get all the answers shortly,” said Vivek, placing his arm around his friend’s shoulder.

A fifteen-minute walk took them to a narrow lane where a short, dark man was selling flowers and greens.

“Did we walk all the way to buy flowers?” asked Aryan rather angrily.

After taking a bunch of spinach Vivek asked the young man how much he had to pay.

“Pay me ten dollars for a bunch,” said the man smiling happily at his customers. His language was impeccable as were his manners.

Ten dollars a bunch...

Vivek paid ten rupees to the man and traced his steps back home.

“Aryan, this man was the class topper in his school until grade 8. It was expected that he would do well academically and go abroad. His father spent all his savings in educating him. He too wanted to study well and go abroad and earn well for the family,” Vivek said becoming more serious.

“What happened?” asked Aryan.

“His father passed away and his mother could not afford to send him to school after that. He joined a vegetable vendor and slowly saved money. Now he has his own mobile shop and sells flowers and greens.

When I first heard him say, ‘Pay me ten dollars a bunch,’ I was surprised. Later when I heard him narrate his tale I was moved.

He told me that he still thinks he is abroad somewhere earning for his family and when he thinks of it thus, he feels happy and light,” Vivek paused and fumbled into his pockets for the key.

They let themselves into the house and settled down on the sofa before Vivek continued.

“I am sure he will have a flourishing business soon. Though selling flowers and greens were not what he dreamt of, he has done well for himself.

One day I asked him if he was happy selling flowers and greens. He told me that his aim was to feed his family and see them happy. When I pressed the issue further, this was what he told me: 

‘Sir, I may not be doing what I wanted to, but I have achieved what I had to.’ 

Babu considers himself a success!

Aryan, we can only choose our goal. The path to the goal may not be what we had dreamt of taking, maybe because that path may not lead us to our goal. So quit worrying about the path and focus on your final goal,” Vivek concluded.