A Pious Lot Indeed!
You know there is a 70 fold return promised
SALT N' PEPPER BY DR. AJAZ A. BABA
Since the beginning of the holy month I have been meeting a surprising number of ‘pious’ people. I went to this government office to check upon the progress of my file regarding some issue. The clerk dealing with my file whom I had met a number of times was not to be seen anywhere. As I made enquiries I was directed to a junior clerk who took out a list and searched for my name in it.
“There you are! File number 145A,” he pointed to my name in the list. I could see something not quite legible scribbled in the margin beside my name. He squinted at the paper holding it close to his eyes and then laying down the paper he took up a pencil and neatly printed 'Rs 5000/=' on a pad. He smiled up at me all the while tapping on the penciled figure.
I failed to understand what all this was about.
“Where's…?” I asked him about the clerk dealing with my case.
“He is here only, but he is not meeting anyone these days. I showed you your file number… your work is nearly done, what is pending is...” he rubbed his thumb over his index finger in the well known gesture for money.
“Well, yes of course all that is fine,” I hastened to assure him, “but where is Mr. …”
“Oh Haji sahib is such a pious man. This being the holy month of Ramzan he won't be touching any... er... cash transaction these days. So you have to deposit it with me. Of course only if it is OK with you,” he shrugged.
“Of course there is no problem,” I said and taking out the pre-agreed sum (agreed upon before the holy month) handed it over to him.
He meticulously counted the currency notes and smiled at me.
“Okay?” I smiled back.
“Yes, but you have to pay a surcharge of Rs 500.”
“Surcharge?!” I asked.
“That’s for my services,” his smile widened further.
I took out a five hundred rupee note and handed it over to him even managing to return his smile.
I made as if to leave but he stopped me and taking out a couple of receipt books from his drawer said, “A new mosque is coming up in our locality and I am also doing my bit. I am sure you would like to contribute something. This is a Holy Month and you know there is a 70 fold return promised so…” He handed me a receipt for 500 rupees. I dug into my pocket and fished out a 500 rupee note.
“And this one is for the destitute home,” he handed me another receipt for a couple of hundred bucks.
I forked out more currency notes.
“Ah! This is sending forth riches to your eternal home. All the rest of our wealth we leave here in this mortal world.” He sermonized in an appropriately pious tone. I don’t know about him but it seemed to me that I was definitely going to end up with leaving my meager wealth there only.
It is not as if this ‘piety’ is restricted to government officials only. I went to a butcher shop some days back. When he handed me my packet of meat I was surprised that it weighed considerably more than it usually does. Seeing the puzzled look on my face the butcher smiled and said, “You see this is the holy month and it is such a sin to short-measure. That’s why you get exact weight.”
I handed him the money. He counted it and demanded some more.
“How come?!” I asked in surprise.
“Well when you get full weight you pay in ‘full’ as well!” he responded with a smile.
“But I paid you as per the rate,” I said pointing towards the rate list displayed prominently in the shop window.
“Oh that! That’s the government rate. One can always have a difference of opinion with the government. That’s what democracy is all about, isn’t it?” he chuckled.
Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 14 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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