Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rich man's legacy

KParthasarathi Tuesday, December 04, 2007
He was a very wealthy man and had all the material things that one could aspire for. Yet he was a sad man burdened with a young son who was a polio affected cripple and mentally retarded to add to the misery. He needed constant assistance and supervision even for basic chores. He was given to tantrums and needless howling for no reason. The old man’s wife had passed away some eight years back. He had of course many relatives and friends who visited him regularly. He knew that they were all there lured only by the sumptuous feasts thrown in, costly gifts given and their desire to be seen with the famous and rich. They seldom visited the son who remained in his secluded room engrossed in his own world of fantasy. Even the very few who went to the boy’s room did so very visibly to the wealthy man.
There was a distant relation of his thro his wife who was in difficult financial circumstances. He and his family used to visit frequently when the rich man’s wife was alive and mostly when he was away at his work. They were very good people who empathized with his late wife and were genuinely attached to the hapless boy. Very shy by nature and apprehensive that they would be mistaken for some ulterior motive for their frequent visits, they reduced their trips considerably after the demise of the lady. The old man thought with the passing away of his wife, possibly the bond had weakened. But they still visited the son at least once a month. The boy also from what the father had seen enjoyed their company and was very quiet during their visits.
The paid servants were impersonal, distant and sometimes rude to the cripple when the man was away. He even suspected that they beat the young boy whenever he was adamant or defiant. For this reason he never stirred out except on urgent business. His poor health was bothering him and the constant worry told upon his weak heart that had already suffered an attack. He feared his days were numbered and wanted some security for the son.
When he broached this subject to a few relatives of his who frequented his house and claimed intimacy with him, he was appalled at their suggestion that he be put in a well equipped home for the disabled and to give the home a rich donation. They assured that they would keep an eye on the boy and his well-being though they kept silent on their expectations in his legacy. He disliked their artificial tone of concern and the fake warmth for the boy. He distrusted them totally.
It was then he approached the poor relative of his wife and his family and begged them to stay permanently in the house with him and his son. He told them of his sleepless nights troubled by the thought of boy’s future after he passed away. He assured them that they would be paid each month a good amount for their help and to compensate for shifting from another town leaving the earlier job. The relative explained that they are agreeable to this only out of affection and memory for the lady relative and their genuine liking of the boy. He refused to accept any payment and also made the stipulation that he would continue to work as before and that he would find a new job soon in this town. His wife and he would take care of the boy as if he were their own son for their entire life. This was agreed upon and soon they moved in. The arrangement worked well and he could witness a welcome change in the boy. He was well clad always, trim and was seen playing with the other children at home. He was no more sulking or morose. The boy also grew better in health in a short period.
It was then tragedy struck. The wealthy man could not survive a massive attack despite medical attention. After the obsequies were over, the lawyer spoke to the assembled relatives who were eager and curious to know how the rich man left his legacy. The lawyer who did not see the poor relation in the crowd had him brought. His wife was not present. He said his client had not bequeathed any money for any of them present. He had willed away his wealth after the son’s death to charitable institutions and hospitals. He has appointed his relative who is residing in the house as the trustee. The income from his wealth would be spent for household and other expenses at his sole discretion. His client was confident that the interests and the well being of the boy were safe in his hands. Fully aware that the relative would not touch a penny out of the income for his personal use, he had directed certain amount to be paid to him monthly for taking care of his son.
What the lawyer did not reveal then at the express wish of his client was the legacy of a sizable fortune in favour of the wife of the relative. It was this lady not connected thro blood who has been showering all her affection on the boy without any expectation. Knowing their nature well he had left twenty five percent of his wealth to her and her children. This fact would also be revealed to the lady and her husband only at the appropriate time by the lawyer.

1 comment:

  1. Your post clearly expresses the fact that good people sre still on this planet. Very optimistic and humanitarian story. Thanks Parthasarathi.