Dr C L Gupta
Oh, what a reputed and respectable man he used to be. All the best things craved and needed by a man on this earth were bestowed upon him by the almighty.
He was rich, prosperous, very influential and carrying one of the highest status in the society.
He had plenty of land and plots as immovable property more than a man needs, reminding about a famous story written by an eminent russian author tolstoy under the heading of
how much land does a man need;.
Legal acumen and high political status duly recognized by all were also in his possession in plenty.
His uttered words and commands were listened to with very rapt attention and carried out according to the best of his satisfaction , by those who were supposed to be working for him.
Doubtlessly he commanded respect from all and sundry.
He had in his family all well educated and settled sons and daughters in their own respective professions.
As I vividly remember to be one amongst many of his appreciators, I could not help than to feel envious of his this exalted and respectful status in the society.
Being a student i was not well versed with the worldly affairs but with the passage of time,i could form my own impressions about his personality and working style after a brief contact with him.
Still my impressions regarding this great personality started dominating in my mind and they started clashing with what others were thinking about him.but the respect for him never lessened in my mind and psyche.
Two things which i found in him were a bit disturbing for me ,
One was plenty of satire in his talking to the extent which could hurt any body in conversation him and Two ,that he was selectively philanthropist and helpful to those who needed any major or minor help from him thereby hardly reflecting any selflessness or sincerity in his actions.
Naturally, a negativity crept in my mind about him.
As time did not show relentness in its own speed i also got my medical degrees and settled in the medical profession as a specialist enabling me to gain more knowledge about the worldly affairs and knowing who was who in the city of jammu and the other areas of the state.
Many strange experiences encountered which were full of pleasures and pains during the active professional life. Few of them made indelible impressions urging and compelling me all the time to share with the society there by imparting satisfaction to my own mind.
Coming back to the man in focus i must admit that in spite of analysis of wholesome of his personality,he commanded respect from me.
His better half whom i happened to meet few times was a noble lady and commanded lot of respect from her relatives and all other needy people whom she used to be empathetic and helpful.
Having observed all about ,it looked to be a happy prosperous and perfect family,leading a peaceful life.
But sorrowfully the noble lady suddenly felt sick thereby causing sudden emotional turbulance in the family.
She had a serious medical disease .
In spite of all the best of treatment rendered by best doctors of the town ,she could not
Survive and left for her heavenly abode peacefully.
Everyone concerned felt aggrieved by this irreparable loss.but what was destined could not be averted.
People including relatives and all those acquainted with her husband having a wide social circle started heading towards the residence of the deceased to express the sorrow and sympathy with the family.
Due to the heavy rush and the dearth of space inside the house ,her dead body was kept in the lawn of the house for people to pay the last respects to her.
Herein, a strange thing was watched in that the dead body was decorated and dressed like a new bride. All the parts her body were loaded with glittering yellow metal.
Inspite of the presence of prevailing gloom all around, everybody commented and expressed his/her appreciation as to how much the husband must be loving his better half but so much gold ornaments sacrificed for her beloved wife were a sorce of concern for few who commented by quoting famous lines from a song sung by late lata mangeshkar in a hindi film ;laila-majnu ;; in early fifties.these lines were,
Aik murday ko sajja kar naam dulhan rakh diya.;
Having heard such comments ,i realised that the world can be so wicked as to pass such like comments in that prevailing circumstances. But there was no alternative than to listen and accept such things without any reaction on my part
However,the last rites of the noble lady were performed under the cover of crying, wailing and grief by the family members.
After all the rituals were completed according to hindu customs ,the pandit (called charji in our local terms)was called at the residence and all the ornaments as were exhibited on the deadbody and collected before setting the pyre on fire were handed over to him as a donation.
The pandit took all this and kept safely at his place.his spirits and happiness was soaring so high that he kept awakening throughout the night, lest someone should steal this costly gift.his elated feeling was natural because he had three daughters in the marriageable age.he must have felt assured in his mind that
This gift would stand in good stead at the time of need.
So the next morning he took the gift and went to a man he trusted almost like god father .his utmost faith in this man was out of having been associated with him as driver of his vehicle for nearly two decades.
But at the same time, this noble soul popularly adressed as ;lalaji;by the local residents of the area was also their custodian, solving their problems impartially for many decades thereby earning their trust.
Incidentally this so called charji/ pandit was inducted into this profession by lalaji, after the death of his father ,
To fill up the void created in form of non availability of a charji for performing the last rites of deceased in that area.
It was after a lot of persuation by this noble man that the so called charji/ panditji agreed to take up this profession.
Aftermath of the above story should have come to an end.but for the startling revelation of the part two of the episode as had been narrated to me by the elderly noble man himself and that too, a few years has had lived after this all happened and before his death.
Here in I must highlight by admitting that lalaji had dictated me not to reveal this story to any body ,but i am violating this dictatate to satisfy myself by exposing the ways of life as practised by the high and mighty persons .my prayers to almighty god to forgive me for this
After the confession of this violation. I am quoting as per narration in his own words.
It so happened that the pandit( charji) came to me and after paying due
Respects, expressed his happiness and joy,which i had never seen on his face before .he handed over the bag to me.after inquiring from him,he revealed that this bag is containing ornaments which had been given to me in lieu of the services rendered by me after the death of the genelman’s beloved wife.
Futher, he said that “the great man has freed me from worries which as a poor man i shall encounter at time of my daughters be married in due course of time. Futhermore,that the bag ,i have brought to be kept in your safe custody as there is no other person than you i can trust;;
Old noble man ,experienced and mature enough after life long experience took a note book and told the pandit to take the ornaments out of the bag so that a proper inventry could be made.
As soon as the ornaments were taken out of the bag and seen by lala ji, he suspected the authenicity of the ornaments to be made of gold.
* He immediately did not react and told the pandit to immediately go and bring lalaji’s friend who was a gold smith living nearby and ensured that he should bring the passi a stone used by the gold smiths for testing the purity of the gold.
* To the horror for both the pandit/ chargie and lalaji the gold smith after testing the ornaments confirmed and declared the same were not made of gold and were artificial.
* Pandit/charji who was exalted before almost fainted and started cursing the giver for doing all this fraud with him.
* The other character,lalaji also felt shocked .
* But at the same breath he thanked the god almighty for saving him from biggest sin and embrassment, which he would have faced, if he would have kept them as gold ornaments as per the version of the charji and deposited with him without getting the due precaution and procedure he had followed.
* This infact was greatest anticlimax for both the panditji and lalaji for no fault on their part.
* This writeup and its aftermath compels me to ask myself few questions but i am fully conscious of the fact that their answers i shall never get as all the three characters have left this mortal world.
* Still the main question which i cannot resist to ask is :
Wether the so called aggrieved husband loved his wife or was it a show of exhibitionism by adorning her dead body with artificial ornaments to get the applause from society for his this act.
Why did he deceive the pandit by donating the ornaments which in fact were shown as made of gold.in such a bargain he could only get ;bad duwas;/;thecurse from the poor man the charji/pandit Bol malik yeh tamasha tuj se kuyun dekha gahya;
(The author is surgeon and urologist)
The big deception
Dr C L Gupta