The Customer

     In a small town in a corner of this world, a tea stall run by a couple could hardly meet their ends for a living. The tea shop owners, Shankar and his wife serve tea to a customer who questions them, “Shankar, how is your shop running?” Shankar, known among his friends and neighbours for his practical and down to earth nature, replied in a subtle tone, “It is going good…struggling…but doing pretty well.” After a while, the customer goes away. Shankar’s wife, Neelakshi, always has an argument regarding their shop with her husband and they always have a difference in opinion. She yells at her husband in a complaining voice, “You always remain calm and do not even answer back to what people like the customer commented just now. The customer laughed at our condition and to you specially.” He did not even react to it and explained her to make her understand and said, “Why do you take it in that way? We hardly get customers and if we behave with customers in your way, we have to shut down our shops. Do you want that? I hope not. Don’t get hyper.”

     After a couple of days, Neelakshi woke up a bit early from her usual time of 5 a.m. in the morning. She opens the tea shop and after an hour finds a customerin front of their shop. “Please come in. What can we serve you?” asked Neelakshi. The customer replied, “I want tea and an omelette.” She enters the kitchen to make tea and omelette. After a while, Shankar enters the kitchen and tells Neelakshi, ” After quite sometime, we have a customer and that too early in the morning. He seems to be new to the place. He has two bags along with him. A young chap.” His wife quickly replies, “Who cares? We have a customer, so we will get money. Don’t think much. Pray that we get more customers today.” Shankar serves the customer and finds out that the new customer is in search of a job in the town and will be staying somewhere near their tea shop. Shankar gets an opportunity to make him a permanent customer and questions the customer, “If in case, you want arrangements for food, we can provide you food from our shop – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You may personally come in our shop for evening tea and snacks. Please do not worry about the delivery charges, its free home delivery. Please let us know if you are interested. By the way, may I know your name?” The young customer replied, “Yes, of course. I would like to take your services and my name is Manish.” After saying this, Manish leaves the shop.

     Since then till a month, Manish kept visiting the tea shop and Shankar-Neelakshi’s business turns out into a slightly good business than before. But vanity enters in both  Shankar and Neelakshi’s lives which casts a cloud of pride in them especially Neelakshi. One fine afternoon, when their shop is filled with customers , Manish drops in at their shop. Neelakshi arrogantly utters, “It is already full and you are single. We do not serve singles. It is better if you come in groups.” Manish is surprised to see Neelakshi talk to him in a rude way. This scene makes a few other customers to watch the commotion. Manish walks away. Shankar comes to know about it later and he had a dual of argument that same day with his wife. Shankar spoke to Neelakshi angrily, “Why did you behave with Manish in that way? He is not just our permanent customer but someone whom we know very well. We had developed a good relation with him. You should not have let him walk away.” Neelakshi argued, “He came alone and the shop was filled with customers and we cannot serve and entertain only one customer.” Shankar continued, “Is that the reason why? It is not a matter if a single customer or a big bunch of customers come. I had told you a thousand times before not to have such kind of a mindset. This kind of a conduct from your side can effect our other customers as well. We are well-known in this locality. It is not you who is talking to me, it is your vanity, it is your pride which is speaking on behalf of you. I don’t think so Manish is going to return. If I would have been in his place, I would have never returned. There was a time when we had nothing much with us but struggle. When we have gained a reputation today, you are trying to ruin it through your pride. It is disgusting.” There was silence between the husband and wife. Neelakshi was still adamant and did not give any heed to it. She instead emphasized on proceeding forward in life instead of worrying about a single customer. She argues with her husband to be true to his nature, to be practical as he is as they have to go forward in life.

     After a couple of months went by, it seemed Shankar’s outburst on his wife taught her a lesson. Their past struggling life returned back in their lives with hardly a few customers in their shop. Proud goes before a fall. With the increase of many other tea shops and small restaurants nearby, Shankar and Neelakshi are hardly able to draw customers. In this process, she learns how to maintain and develop good relations with customers and how to render services in a better way. She gradually realises her mistakes and one fine morning, she finds a young customer with bags hanging on his shoulder. She remembers Manish. She told the new customer, “Please come in. What would you like to have?” The young customer said, “I would like to have tea and…ahh…” Neelakshi interrupted, “Try omelette with tea.” “That would be perfect,” said the young customer. “I am serving you in a minute, ” spoke Neelakshi. Shankar becomes happy for his wife and he witnesses Neelakshi’s encounter with a customer and that too a different woman.

     From here, they started growing their business, their life and their struggle.   

        

Life isn’t Irritating

       Let me introduce you to a character known as Raghu Chaturvedi. For him, life is about how one survives in the rush of life. He is a learned man who did his Masters in Philosophy but struggling for a living. Besides these facts, he is a level-headed person and very much contented and satisfied with himself. Maybe that is why he had no problem when he was offered the job of a Bus Driver with a very low income.

       It was Sunday morning when he along with the bus conductor had to wait for a few passengers in Munirka, Delhi. Early winter mornings in Delhi makes a person feel to stay warm in their own houses but for Raghu and the conductor, Ram, they had to adapt themselves within the tourist bus itself. Inside the bus, Ram speaks, “It’s already 7 am. Four passengers are supposed to reach by 6:30 am. Such wastage of time. I don’t feel like wasting even a second and that too in a place like Delhi.” Raghu agrees to what Ram spoke and harshly replies back, “For how long will these morons make us wait? We have to pick other passengers. Time is very important in a metropolitan city such as Delhi which is similar to money. Perhaps that is why, people don’t like wasting money.”

       Both of them come across an ascetic who was wandering like a recluse. When the ascetic saw the bus which was scheduled to leave for Agra, he told Raghu and Ram, “Will you please take me till Vrindavan?” Ram replied, “Pay 600 rupees for your ticket.” The ascetic said, “I don’t have money for the ticket but I can work as an assistant conductor to you. I hope you and the driver do not have any problem.” Both Raghu and Ram yelled together, “Get out. Do we look like clowns to you? We don’t entertain a person like you who wants to have a free ride. Just get out.” A scuffle took place between Ram and the ascetic and it had to be handled by Raghu. The ascetic lost hope and thought for a second that it is pointless arguing with them and he went away.

       Later, a lady came approaching them and said, “Can you take me till Nehru Place? I will pay you 5 rupees.” Raghu told the lady, “What do you think why are we here for? To entertain people like you as clowns. Go and get another bus. This is a tourist bus scheduled to go to Agra and we have passengers who have tickets with them. Tell me if you have tickets, if you don’t have, don’t even dream about it.” The lady had to ultimately pass by.

       Raghu tells Ram, “These morons want to go for a free ride. Those four passengers are yet to come and we came across two strange characters, an ascetic and a lady. People these days are a smart lot. The first one came and was even ready to be our assistant. And the lady wanted to go to Nehru Place paying 5 rupees to us. No matter for how long we have to wait for those four passengers. We came across two crazy people so far in the morning.” Ram laughs at what Raghu says.Ram tells Raghu, “We have to come across such kind of people in life. Life is interesting, it isn’t irritating. Meeting such kind of characters do irritate us but finally, we just laugh away.” After some time around 7:30 am in the morning, both Raghu and Ram receive their four passengers. Raghu starts the tourist bus and from here begins their journey to Agra. While on the way, Raghu thinks for a while about life, its predicament and the journey above all.

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The Realization

        When Rishabh was travelling by Delhi Metro, something struck on his mind which made him think for a while. Now what made him think, that’s the question.

        Rishabh was in need of a job and somehow he got the job of a receptionist in a law firm. But on the very first day of his joining, he felt he was not cut out for the job. Now, he started thinking hard about what to tell his parents. The mere thinking of his parents made him to worry. Worrying was natural for him as he had to be reasonable and ready to answer his parents. His parents were expecting a lot from him regarding this job. This made him worry more. But deep within himself, he was sure of somehow convincing his parents. We know how parents are. They are the people who are concerned about their children no matter how old they become.

        While he was returning back home, he found a young lad along with a handicapped person who turned out to be his father and they sat behind Rishabh in the metro train. The young lad says, “Dad, what do you think, should I go for this job or should I let it go?” The young lad’s father said, “I look physically challenged but I can say I am active despite all odds. I am ready and open for any kind of job.” It is from these words that the young lad derived inspiration from. Rishabh thought about his dad for a while which ran parallel with the situation. His father is an inspirational figure for him who could almost do anything despite the fact that his dad was growing old.

        Still, Rishabh was not able to take a firm stand as to what he should do. At one point of time, there were his parents who had a lot of expectations from him and on the other hand, he thought he should quit for he is cut out for somethin else. But Rishabh was unaware of another circumstance which was heading towards him and can make him to take a decision.

        While on his way back home, he sees a beggar somehow feeding his children and one of his children assures him to get a job as soon as possible so that the beggar does not have to beg for alms the next time. This picture had an effect on Rishabh. He thought within himself that it is not wise for him to quit the job as he can learn while on the job. Later, he reaches home but with a resolved mind of continuing the job instead of calling it quits. Sometimes small incidents around us make us think and make us decide. That is what signifies circumstances. That is what signifies situations…

The Unusual Sight

      Once there were five young boys – Rishabh, Vibhor, Saket, Arvind and Keshav. Arvind was a bit different from them. Its not because of the fact that he was blind but because he had the quality to observe. His observation was something exceptional in him. The rest of them were normal youngsters full of life. Arvind never felt bored or out of place with them.

      Arvind was a good orator. Saket was the guy who understood Arving properly. Saket also would answer Arvind back whenever Arvind would like to know something. Well, atleast Saket was good at telling Arvind exactly whatever happened around Arvind.

      One day, Rishabh and Vibhor had a good fight with one another. The entire scenario was explained fantastically by Saket but it was something which did not amuse Arvind but made him think hard. Saket asked Arvind,”Hey buddy, what is worrying you?” Arvind replies,”I don’t understand why both of them argue and fight with each other. I don’t find anything amusing in it. Afterall, we all are friends. Both of them are egoistic. Neither of them want to listen to each other. Its disgusting to say. This quality of maturity made Arvind stand out and be different. Perhaps, one sees some youngsters being immatured at a young age. So, that is what made Arvind a bit different in their group.

         Arvind, sometimes, was humorous. He was a cheerful lad. There was not a moment when he would come out with his wise cracks. A day came when even he had a scuffle with Keshav. It is a rare sight to see Arving having an argument with someone. But they had a heated argument one day. Well, that was a rare sight an unusual sight. Keshav is a silent guy who never used to talk much. Arvind was poking fun at him and he was going on making fun of him. It seemed there was no stop for Arvind that day. Arvind was later slapped by Keshav.Now, that was an unusual sight. The situation was heated up. Arving became silent and Keshav started yelling at him. 

      Two months passed by, Arvind and Keshav did not talk with each other. For the first few days, it seemed fine and everyone in their group thought they will patch up. But it didn’t happen. No talks took place between them. Things became much worser. Both of them became egoistic. The rest three of them thought of making them talk with each other but everything went in vain. Saket however made Arvind talk with Keshav. It was a hell lot of a try from Saket’s side. If it wouldn’t have been Saket, it seemed there would not have been a patch up between them.

       As usual, Saket explained about their friendship to Arvind. Friends do fight and quarrel a lot. But after some time, everything comes back to normal. Everything came back to normal, Arvind realises that it was not just Keshav’s fault, even he was at fault. The realisation overcame Arvind and Keshav and they became buddies again.

      Saket couldn’t explain of the unusual sight he had seen between Arvind and Keshav. It was an unusual sight for Saket and an unusual feeling for Arvind. The unusual sight and feeling of friends patching up after a fight is what friendship keeps on ticking.

The Mind as A Traveller

            Sometimes, even when I sit down to write a blog, I find myself unable to concentrate and focus. I do ask myself as to why it happens to me. That is when I get a reply about my mind which is similar to a traveller. My mind as the traveller.

             The mind of a person is not what you have read, seen or heard about. It is something exceptional and different. It is somewhat similar to light and multi-dimensional. I was never interested in reading before and even now, but when it comes to reading life entirely, it turns out interesting to me. I remember when I was an under-graduate, I was asked a question by a boy -“What is the most fastest substance in the world?”. Before I could answer him, he quickly answered it was the mind of a person. The mind is like a traveller. It covers a lot of distance in a lifetime.

               When I was a kid and I was told to study by my parents, I could not concentrate. My mind used to travel. I don’t want to sound as a jerk but it is a fact. It had happened with me a number of times when I was a kid. Even at present, when I think of writing a blog, my mind starts travelling in different directions. A direction towards the horizon of the world and life. With a gradual passage of time, I realised that my mind roams and travels the world unlike any other thing in the world. This is where I can say that it is a far more better traveller than me. It really sounds weird when I say that but that is a truth of my life. The mind is not just a traveller but a wonderful companion and a traveller. It is something which is similar to a bosom pal for me. Even when I sit down on a chair, it does not stay idle. It starts to travel with no hurdles on the way. I do feel sometimes, if only the life of a person could be like the mind. But life has hurdles on the way. I really feel contented when I think about the mind which knows how to travel.

A Silent Leader (Part 2)

               Akshat found Rajiv an interesting and a promising guy. Rajiv is a silent guy who never used to talk much. This quality of Rajiv made Akshat feel very irritating at times but matured on the other side. One cannot see maturity in a high school; it is something which comes out gradually with the passage of time

        Rajiv joined the group which was preparing for the Annual Drama Competition. One fine day, Rajiv was going back home after school when he saw Gautam and his gang of pals busy eve teasing a girl of Juvenile High School. Rajiv went straight to them and told them to stop eve teasing. Gautam was surprised to see someone who has the guts to stop him and his gang. Gautam thinks carefully and hard,”Who is this chap? All these days, I thought it is Akshat who could face me but this chap is a surprise?” He must be from Juvenile High School. Gautam asked Rajiv to mind his business to which Rajiv did not even reply and he went off after helping the girl. Gautam and his gang did not have the guts to face Rajiv.

         This incident spread all over Don Bosco School and their arch rivals, Juvenile High School and Rajiv had his share of limelight. This even reached the ears of Akshat and he thought for a while about Rajiv. Robin tells Akshat,”I think we got our leader and that too… a silent guy. So we have a silent leader. What do you think Akshat?” Akshat looked at Robin with a smile but did not reply. Robin could see hope springing in Akshat’s eyes.

        The next morning, Akshat tells the entire Juvenile High School drama team about Rajiv and his plans to talk with the principal to make Rajiv the leader of the drama team. Many of his teammates start yelling at him. One of them, Keshav, an outspoken guy, tells Akshat,” Do you really mean it? …Okay fine, Rajiv Chaudhary right…he was the hero that day when he courageously saved one of the girls of our school. Well, a hell lot of a drama took place that day. But that does not mean that you will talk about him to the principal. I don’t understand as to why don’t you become the leader?” There was silence for some time.

       Rajiv became a member of his school’s drama team and was even made the leader. He hesitated to be the leader of the team but after a long session of talks with Akshat and Robin, Rajiv accepted to be the leader.

       As far as the Annual Drama Competition was concerned, Juvenile High School lost to Don Bosco School, but their hope did not lose. Juvenile High School gave a good competition to their arch rivals. On one side was a team led by a haughty and show off guy, while on the other side was a promising guy, the so called Silent Leader. With the gradual passage of time, Rajiv won the hearts of his school drama team and even his school. His journey of winning hearts started to begin…     



… A Silent Leader

      When the students rushed in their classes expecting to receive sweets from Gautam, it was all smiles and greed for them. It is always exciting and opportunistic to be on the receiving end where one gets a lot instead of getting. Gautam starts giving sweets to his friends which turns out to be his birthday. When he comes across his bosom and naughty pal, Shyam,  the wily Shyam says, “Give me two, you passed the maths test because of me… remember. I deserve it.” Gautam, a spoilt kid, is known in his class for his pride and arrogant nature and mainly because he knows he belongs to a filthy rich family. He replies Shyam, “The first sweet is for helping me cheat in the maths test, the second is the half price to help me out in the upcoming Annual Drama Competition which is going to take place next month. The next half, after we win it and that too if we really win. Every time I always come 2nd to Akshat, this time I will secure the 1st place and that too at any cost. I am second to none. I’ll talk to you later buddy.” After going on distributing sweets to his classmates and friends, the class teacher Madam Sulochana tells Gautam to hurry up and then he faces his long time rival, Akshat, a brilliant student of the class and more of an all-rounder, and looks at him straight on his face. It was an eye for an eye situation and Gautam aggressively hands a sweet on Akshat’s hands.

      The very next day, students participating in the annual drama competition of Juvenile High School start their rehearsals with Akshat sitting on a corner and thinking hard about his team’s rehearsals and tells his team, ” Something is lacking in our story…story, plot,… guys, don’t you think something or maybe someone is missing. A leader… yeah a leader is what this group wants…” Robin, a team member and a friend of Akshat, known for his keen intellect, interrupts and says, “What did you say… you are no less than a leader dude and who cares about… a… leader. From my point of view, I don’t see anything lacking. I don’t know about the rest of the lot in our team. Everything is just going fine.” Many of Akshat’s teammates did not have any problem about having a leader, many accepted him as an effective leader. But Akshat had something else in his mind.

      Everthing was going pretty well in the school. Students participating in the drama competition were seen seriously working hard for it. A student delivers a dialogue and misses a few words. This made the haughty Gautam furious and wild with anger and when he was about to pick up hands on the student who turned out to be his junior, he was stopped by the wily Shyam and he said, ” What’s the point in creating a scene here, listen to me very carefully. The time of getting the next half of my sweet is getting nearby?” Gautam replied, “What do you mean?“. Shyam continued,”Three judges will be attending our annual drama competition?” Gautam interrupted, “So what? What’s the big deal in that?” Shyam continues, “Will you let me say? You can give your taunts and expert comments later. Your dad knows them well. They happen to be your dad’s pals of his college days? The next good news for you is Akshat wants a leader in his team.” “Why the hell does he need a leader, if only he would have been in my team, he would have got a leader and thats me. I am a born leader, you know. One of the most richest student in Don Bosco School. Beat that.

      The proudy Gautam with his crafty pal, Shyam, were all out laughing and mocking Akshat. While on the other side, Akshat came to know about a new student in his class who is in the Principal’s office having a talk with him. The new fellow comes in the class along with the amiable teacher, Madam Sulochana and she introduces him to the class, “Meet Rajiv Chaudhury. He has joined today and I hope all of you would love to be friends with him. You can have a seat now and remember there are a few naughty boys in the class known for their pranks.” Rajiv had no problem and sat beside Shweta, a chatter box in the entire class, who whole-heartedly befriended him.

A few weeks passed by and Rajiv was well-known to his friends.

(to be continued…)