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8

Mister Nooray's lawyer met with an honourable end. A distinguished lawyer could not be made to sit on the floor or on the shelf. Two nails were driven into the wall some distance apart. A piece of wood was carefully placed over the projecting nails. The top of the wood was covered with paper to serve as carpet. Lawyer saheb sat on this perch looking magnificent. Nooray began the practice of fanning him with a bamboo fan - the lawyers in the courts had electric fans revolving over their heads all the time; shouldn't his lawyer have, at least, an ordinary fan? It cannot be said with certainty whether it was due to the force of the breeze or whether the bamboo fan actually hit him, but lawyer saheb toppled from his perch, and that was the end of him.

Mahmood's policeman remained. The policeman was entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the village. He was no ordinary policeman and, so, could not be made to walk while discharging his duties. He had to be carried in a palanquin. One basket was employed for the purpose. Some red-coloured rags were stuffed into the basket so that the policeman could travel in a degree of comfort. Nooray picked up the basket and began making rounds of the courtyard. His two kid brothers followed and lisped in chorus, "Wakhe up, thleeping peepule", on behalf of the policeman. But the night has to be dark, and people stumble in the dark. Mahmood stumbled and the basket dropped from his hands. The policeman was thrown out of the palanquin, and broke a leg. It dawned upon Mahmood that he can be a good doctor; he knows of a good ointment that can join broken legs. All that is required is the milky sap from a sycamore tree. The sap is brought. It is used as a glue to attach the broken leg. But the moment the policeman is made to stand upright, the leg came off. The operation was, thus, unsuccessful. The other leg also had to be amputated to allow the policeman to at least sit comfortably; he would not have been able to walk or sit with one leg. The policeman has now turned into a hermit. He sits at one place all the time and guards the village.

Now, hear about Mister Hamid's situation. When Hamid arrived at the doorsteps, Ameena hurried to meet him. She lifted him up and showered kisses on him. Her eyes fell on the tongs and she was taken by surprise.

"Where did you find this pair of tongs?"

"I bought it."

"How much did you pay for it?"

"Three paise."

Ameena was astonished. What a foolish boy! It is late in the afternoon; he had not eaten anything but brought along a pair of tongs! "Could you not find anything else to buy at the fair other than these iron tongs?"

Hamid said guiltily, "Your fingers get burnt while removing rotis from the tawa, so I bought the tongs."

The old woman's anger at once turned into affection; it was affection that could not be expressed in words. It was mute affection full of sweetness. The boy was so selfless, he had so much wisdom, and he was full of good faith. He must have yearned for the toys and sweets; how could he have overpowered his yearnings? He remembered his old grandmother even at the fair. Ameena was overcome with affection for the boy.

Then a strange thing occurred. Stranger than Hamid's tongs! The little boy had acted the part of a grown-up man, and now old Ameena became a child. She began to cry like a child. She kept blessing Hamid all the time, and shed large tears. How was Hamid to understand the meaning of this strange behaviour!

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  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu