Sunday, June 26, 2011

THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE: PART 2

After the pompous ceremonies ended and life returned to normal, the villager who used to be just ‘a villager’ but now ‘the’ villager realized that nothing much had changed in his home and his surroundings every since he left. Despite his fate being altered, the fate of the village remained stagnant. His neighbors left and right, were still fighting with members of his family. There were treacherous plots and tricks played against each other. There was a constant tacit and ostentatious competition of outdoing one another. To make matters worse, he saw how his nephews and nieces were encouraged to throw stones and sticks at the neighbors’ house in retaliation for their efforts of the same nature. Some rich bigots in another remote yet much advanced village were also adding to internal problems at his home. They were interested in the land his gardens and home sat upon. So even they would raise hue and cry accusing his entire household of muddying their waters. The aim was to annoy and have each household busy in these dirty games while they devised ways to take the land.
The villager was now an experienced man, a man that spent a life learning valuable practical lessons which he wanted to exhibit in these strenuous situations. So he built a tall wall around his home that made it impossible for the neighbors to eavesdrop, watch and even throw stones at them. Life became peaceful for a few days till the villager’s elder brother came home and saw the newly built wall. He immediately ordered the wall to be demolished. His second brother had a different opinion. He suggested the wall should remain half-way so that the neighbors heard and saw things going around and would burn in envious flames over their prosperity. The argument soon became a heated debate which turned into an ugly quagmire. His older brother was a bully and by default won every argument in the home. In matter of hours, the wall was taken down to much dismay of the villager who had spent a good portion of his hard earned money on the finances of the wall. With the wall gone, the arguments inside and outside his home continued and escalated to violence at times.
Time was passing by and each day seemed worse than the previous. Despite the valuable lessons and rich experience, the villager could not fix the problems at home and in the neighborhood. He remained in a state of confusion and disappointment. In his despair, he would curse ‘Every man’s friend’ for having such a nice peaceful, neat and orderly house with manicured gardens. He cursed everybody in that house for following the book of rules and living peacefully there. He compared the two freedoms; at his home and at ‘Every man’s friend’s house. The inhabitants of ‘Every man’s friend’s house obeyed the book of rules, worked hard and were paid accordingly; to them THAT was life, THAT was freedom. They never cared what ‘Every man’s friend’ himself did. While the inhabitants in his home had a different kind of freedom; no regard for any book of rules. Every person was fighting for himself. He became depressed and turned to religion for he believed in God’s Mercy.

He prayed day and night for a miracle to happen. He didn’t know how and what could fix the problems at home but he prayed; first for one miracle and then for more miracles as one wasn’t enough. God had other plans for him and with time he developed an ailment that led to a heart attack and eventually his death.
The villager was buried and people went back to their homes. His soul enters a line where other souls are awaiting their one-on-one meeting with God to account for their deeds. The villager hears shrieks of agony and sees most of the souls are sent through the left door instead of the right. Very few are sent through the right door. The villager is worried and as his turn nears, he wishes he could have done something useful while he was alive.

Finally it is his turn to meet God. God asks him what he did that was most remarkable. He replies that he prayed; he looked after his parents; and he never lied. God says that these acts were commendable indeed but that they were compulsory, mandatory acts. The man is puzzled and wonders if all that he did were mandatory acts. God asks him about charity; if he ever gave some of his time, money, a good deed, a good word, an advice?

The villager remembers how he spent all his youth in pursuit of making tons of money; how he never had time for charitable acts as he tried to rush his chores and prepare for the next day. As he shakes his head in the negative, he remembers how he tried fixing the problems back home; maybe that could be regarded as charity he thought. God again says that it was his duty. God asks him for one last time if he has done anything commendable that hasn’t been mandatory. The villager humbly replies, “I have always believed. I am a believer in Your Mercy…” God smiles and lets him pass through.

2 comments:

  1. You have such wonderful talent!! I really enjoyed this story. Thank you so much for sharing it. It really gave me a lot to think about.
    June 26, 2011 12:38 PM

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  2. A banquet of thought you have laid out here. I suspect I shall have to read this again. A fetching narrative indeed.
    July 21, 2011 3:29 PM

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