Sunday, July 5, 2009

Appearances are deceptive

Mr. Iyer is not exactly a pleasing personality. In his early Seventies, he wore a constant scowl in his lean and long face. Not given to much talking, his replies were always in curt monosyllables. The kids in the colony were afraid to play near his ground floor flat. He made their lives miserable when they broke the window pane long ago. He will snatch the ball and drive them away. The elders in the colony too kept a safe distance from him for no particular reason. He never participated in the social functions of the colony on the new year, diwali, flag hoisting days etc.A placard hung at his door ”Do not disturb between 11 AM and 3PM”
Mr. Iyer had bought his flat when the colony had sprung up twenty years ago. His wife who mixed well with other ladies in the colony passed away five years back leaving him alone. They had two sons who had migrated to US after their studies. Initially they were visiting once in a couple of years and this abruptly stopped after they found American partners in US. The old couple steeped in tradition was upset initially and reconciled themselves to the realities. The sons visited India when their mother passed away and the visits stopped thereafter.
Iyer though financially well off with a good pension, was a man of frugal habits. He had no extravagant tastes and led a simple life with very few wants. He never parted with his money easily. He used to protest when maintenance charges were hiked by the colony association. He traveled only by bus and very rarely used three wheelers even during hot summer. A deeply religious man, he picked flowers from the adjacent bungalows during the morning walks for his puja and never bought from the flower vendors. He went to the local municipal library to read the news papers. He rarely visited others and none went to his flat too. The residents of the colony regarded him as a miser and left him alone.
One morning the milk vendor knocked at the door several times and there was no response. The door was not open as he usually did at 5AM.The neighbours went around knocking in vain the windows in other rooms. They waited till the afternoon. It was then police help was sought to open the door. He was found dead having passed away peacefully in his sleep. His sons were informed and one came the second day. A wreath was laid on behalf of the colony members. After the last ceremonies were over, the son called the office bearers of the association and told them
“My father has considerable property. He was a disciplinarian in our younger days. Always Spartan in living, he had a large heart. Even I was not aware of his softer side till this day. He has left a will bequeathing the entire wealth to various charitable causes.Twentyfive per cent he has given to the local school for scholar ships to the poor children, twenty five percent to the local mission hospital for free treatment of the needy and another twenty five he has left to a couple of old age homes. Out of the balance he has given some amount to the local temple and has left a bequest of rupees five lakhs to the colony association for its corpus fund and for the development of colony with his wish to provide a play ground for children with swings, slides and other play facilities.”
The residents who had gathered there could hardly believe what they heard and wiped their misty eyes thinking of the departed noble soul. They genuinely regretted that they had not known the real man and judged him by his outward demeanour.He could have led a life of luxury but chose the hard life voluntarily to provide money for causes close to his heart.. Such men like Iyer with rough exterior possessing a heart of gold are rare.


  1. Yes, looks can be deceptive. A well-written story, conveying the message.

  2. hey sir that title .. haha ...
    there you go ...

    life is the teacher, experince is the light showing the path ....

  3. A lifetime is not enough to know about an individual and your post affirms the statement vehemently.
    Nice post sir.

  4. great story and not at all predictable. Loved it.

  5. Beneath the tough exterior lies a heart of gold !! Sounds like someone we all know but do not recognise.....



  6. often we judge ONLY by appearances...
    very well written!

  7. Looks are indeed deceptive and our mind works in such a way that it makes us believe in what we see. Though it might tell us that the other person is good but goodness doesnt cross the eyes to reach our mind.
    Well Written!

  8. His intentions were great, no doubt.But,he could have done them even when he was alive and see his money being put to good use.