Monday, June 29, 2009

Left and right

After several unsuccessful ventures Balan set up this bakery opposite the school. The business picked up fast with the children making a beeline to the shop. Balan soon put up a cone ice cream dispenser, and made tea, samosas, bhel puri, noodles etc. His income grew steadily but he still lived in a single room on the roof of the bakery. A Keralite he could speak Tamil fluently with a nasal twang. He had lost his leg while he was in the army. His world was shattered when his leg was amputated. It was only when his new leg was fixed, he knew that all was not lost. A bachelor nearing forty with receding hairline, he was living alone after his aged mother passed away
A young boy in tattered shirt came daily to the shop to buy a small bun. His eyes never strayed towards the assorted cakes or cookies in jars. Balan took a liking for this handsome Malayalee boy.
Taking pity he asked him one day” Chottu, for whom are you taking this bun daily? Don’t you have parents?”
“I have mom who goes to work in nearby houses. This bun is for my sister who stays at home” he replied
“Oh, does she not work? I have never seen her coming with you. Is she your younger sister?” Balan asked
“No Sir, She is much elder to me but not yet married. But she doesn’t come out. Let me go. It is getting late” he hurried his way
Balan was sure that his sister must be a beautiful woman. When he was making the dough for the cakes, he started thinking that it was time he got married. The boy’s family is poor. They should readily jump at his offer to marry Chottu’s sister. He decided to talk to his mom. He bought new T shirts to look smart. He spent more time before the mirror in adjusting his hair.
The next morning he packed besides the bun a couple of pastries and vegetable puffs.”Chottu, Tell your mom to come here. I have some important matter to discuss.”
He replied” Sir, let me ask my mom. Why do you give all these? I have no money and my sister will scold me if I accept them free.”
“Never mind, these are all surplus left over and will get spoilt.”
The next two days the boy did not turn up. Balan became worried whether the sister had taken umbrage at the pastries thrust on them. He strolled after dusk towards Chottu’s place and found him playing on the roadside. The small room was dimly lit with a single bulb. He was delighted to see beside the old woman a very charming young woman in late twenties. His heart fluttered and he prayed to all his gods. Luckily the mother also hailed from an adjacent village. With the ice thus broken, he explained the object of his visit.
“Sir, we are indeed fortunate that you like her. But Paru is not meant for you. You can find a better girl. You are a thriving businessman and will get many rich and attractive girls” she said.
“Why not your daughter? She is beautiful and I wish to marry her only”Balan said.
“Do not make hasty promises, Sir. Paru, show him your misfortune and he will run away as many did earlier”
Paru pulled up her sari to reveal a stump for her right leg. It appeared she lost it in an accident and being poor did nothing about it.
Balan said “It matters little to me. See my left leg I lost in the war and got replaced. I will get a new leg for you too. With one right and one left leg in wood, we would make a perfect pair. If you agree to marry me, I will make arrangements soon.Chottu can assist me in the bakery. Mom, you can stop working and be with us."
That night Paru's sweet smile was the last thing Balan remembered before he fell asleep....


  1. hmmmm
    nice story
    but what if Balan was not handicapped......would he have accepted her........or viceversa???????

  2. I smiled too after reading this story. Do such good human beings still exist in this world,who can selflessly accept the one who is not at par with them.This is indeed a mystery. The world is full of both the good and the bad hope the former always stays in majority!

  3. Such a sweet story, only if our world were as sweet and as simple as your stories.

  4. Nice one.
    Lakshmi in her comments has asked whether Ram would have married had he not been handicapped.
    If yes that is true spirit of human consideration.

  5. I for a second felt that balan was exploiting the girl's misfortune of being poor. But he was man enough to accept her as she was. Nice story and i have started thinking in the lines of your inspiration ;)

  6. nice one partha
    reminds me of the fact that there are still good people in a world where mindset matters over beauty