Straight from the Arabian Nights!
After learning my alphabets, among the first story books that I read was the Arabian Nights. That was
centuries ago! I have only hazy memories of the stories now, but one story that has remained etched in my
memory is of the merchant who stops to rest and eat. The merchant eats the dates he has brought along with him
and tosses away the seeds. Suddenly a demon appears and tells the merchant that he will have to kill him. The
reason: the seeds which the merchant had tossed away had struck the demon's son and killed him!
I have not been able to forget this story, and, after the incident which happened to me a few months ago,
I am unlikely to forget it ever. Believe me, a similar incident had happened to me!
I am a person who is addicted to tea. Offer me a cup of tea any time of the day or night, and I am never
going to say "no".
There is a a tea stall just outside my office, and I make numerous rounds of it. One evening (I usually work
in the evenings), I went to the tea stall for my favourite cuppa. Now, the stall is enclosed by a brick wall
which is shoulder high. There was a big crowd of tea drinkers at that time and I could not find a place to sit.
So I stood resting against the wall, and sipped my tea contentedly.
There was an open space beyond the wall. I took out a cigarette, lighted it with a match-stick, blew off the
match-stick and, without giving much thought, flicked it over the wall.
As I brought the cup to my lips, there suddenly arose from the other side a dark form. As I told you,
it was evening and quite dark. There was buzz of tea drinkers all around, and it was quite noisy. The dark form
took human shape and attacked me with his words. "What do you think you are doing? Don't you have eyes?"
I was flabbergasted at this sudden attack. I had no idea as to what he was talking about.
I asked him quite amiably what the matter was. "Why are you throwing match-sticks at us? (I had flicked a
Things became clearer. On the other side of the wall, a few men had decided to sit down for a chat. The tea
stall was quite noisy; I had not heard them. The wall was quite high and it was dark; I had not seen them. There
was open ground beyond the wall and so I had not given any thought while flicking away the match-stick.
I had a hard time convincing them that it was an unintentional act. I had no inclination to burn them. The
men finally quietened down, but in the interim it appeared as if my days on this good old Planet Earth were over. They
picked themselves up and went away. I sighed in relief.
Well, that incident has changed me for a better person. You will never find me flicking away match-sticks or
paper around. I always find a waste bin to deposit these things!