Thursday, March 6, 2014

A token that spreads happiness...

Happiness is not just a state of mind; it is the reason for us to live. From the smallest of our actions to those of our biggest futuristic plans, they circle around our desire to attain happiness. Reasons to be happy are innumerable, but its us who decide what would make us happy at the end. Job, money, foreign tour, a lavish bungalow, and the list can go on increasing. But the reason for happiness for a few around us could be to be able to get a full day meal for himself and kids. The reason for happiness could be to gather enough money to cure the disease that the wife is dealing with.
They gave me a token of happiness, and it changed my perspective towards life forever…

Bodh Gaya is the prominent tourist spot in eastern India, famous for Mahabodhi Temple. It lies in Gaya District of my home state, Bihar, and is known for Gautam Buddha to have obtained enlightenment here. Events that I will explain to you here dates back to the time when I was in class sixth. I, along with my mom and dad were on tour in Bodh Gaya. It was around 10 AM, and we are strolling down the streets outside the premises of Mahabodhi Temple. I was reluctant to move, while mom consistently pulled me by my arm, making me step forward forcibly. I merely inched, and that too through baby steps. Do you know why?

As I am the only child to my parents, most of my demands get fulfilled quickly. I said most of my demands, and not every. My parents have always kept a watch on me that I don’t demand something that would spoil me, or that which is beyond their potential. I was adamant and not willing to walk along with my mom, because my mom didn’t get me Brick Game. Most of my friends had this game. Rahul and Trija, my best buddies, they had one too. Trija shared her game with me, but Rahul always asked me to get my own. He was rude. Bunty, he was our neighbor; he had his TV Video game. Bunty’s father was in Indian Revenue Services, my mom used to tell me, which meant they were financially strong unlike us.  How understanding I have always been. You see, I never asked my mom to get a TV video game as I knew they were costly. But what I asked for, mom could have convinced dad easily but she didn’t. I don’t remember when did I ask for something to dad directly. He is caring, loving, and strict at times, but I chose not to demand anything from him openly. My mom has been my messenger ever since I turned demanding. And by the time we were on tour for Bodh Gaya, my tries to appease mom had spanned more than a month. My ‘non-cooperation’ with mom on the streets resorted as a protest against her anarchy. ‘Chalo!!!’, she pulled my arm again, and I refused to move. 

My dad was exploring the area at ease, and we were about fifteen feet behind him. There were series of little shops and stalls selling Buddhist artifacts and statues. At the roadside end, mom stopped at one stall. The lady at the stall was selling idols of Laughing Buddha. From small sizes to big ones, her table was full of these. Golden, shiny and perhaps costly too. Mom bargained for a medium sized one. I never had interest in bargaining. While mom was busy, my eyes were fixed on the baby that lady was carrying in her arms. His leaky nose, teary and kajal smeared eyes, with puffy brown hairs, took hold of my attention. 
'What could be the reason that he is crying? Could he be sick? His tummy empty?' Before I could have deduced any answer my hand was pulled again.

‘No you are asking too much. Just a medium sized monk, and you are asking Rs 200? We would prefer not to purchase’, declared mom. I had started not to cooperate again in our walking, but she pulled me harder. ‘Chalo!!!’

The lady pleaded, ‘What I am asking is genuine mam, for the quality that my idols have’. Mom might have listened but she started to walk away from there. But then at sudden, from vicinity came a man in his thirties.

‘What happened mam? What we are asking is reasonable price for the product of this quality. I doubt if you would find one like this anywhere else. Mam, what my wife asked is the lowest price for this idol in the market.’

With this I came to know that he was the husband of the lady, father of that wailing baby wrapped in tattered clothes, clung within arms of his mother. 

‘The laughing Buddha brings happiness. Monks say that we should keep them in our living room. I am sure you would have your living room. Sadly, we don’t have neither the living room nor the happiness. The idol you chose is very beautiful. It will bring happiness to your family. And if you will purchase this from us, it would bring happiness to us too.’

My mom didn’t utter a word. She had released her hold on my arm as well. The man was polite, and humble.

‘Mam, you won’t believe but it’s very difficult to earn honestly. Everyone makes us realize this. Somewhere you are about to teach us that too. I have tried my best to prevent my family recourse to begging.’ 

The way he spoke, it seemed as if he had learnt a lot from life. Was that so due to the effect of living around Buddhist monks? Or was it so because of ugly tides of time he bathed in?

‘We can’t force you to buy, its always your choice. But a little help from your side would be nice.’ And as he spoke these words, it was like he would end up crying. 

My hand was not pulled thereafter. There was no need to do so. I was gulped into the facet of reality that convinced me how lucky I am. How lucky I have been all through my life I lived so far. Mom purchased the laughing Buddha from his stall, and I remember she didn’t utter a single word. We stepped forward, and hurried towards dad who was waiting with ice creams for us. I wish, if that baby could be this lucky too.

For more than ten years now, the memento has been beaming smiles at us in our living room. Each time I see it, I feel strength. It pushes me through miseries and helps to infuse happiness. It makes me thank the Almighty for whatever he gave in my life.



This post is my entry for the ‘My Most Memorable Memento’ contest conducted by My Yatra Diary travel blog and Indian Coupons.

I would recommend my three blogger friends to be a part of this blogging event.
Namrata
Simran
Ramasish


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