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Harbinger of Good Luck

This is an image of Munshi Premchand If people avoided me because they thought I brought them ill luck, I shall feel very miserable. However, if people thought I brought them good luck and made a beeline to catch a glimpse of my face the first thing in the morning, it would make me feel good at first but, if this continued, my life would become much more miserable!

"Bohoni", a story by celebrated pre-Independence era writer, Munshi Premchand, narrates the misery of a man thus afflicted. It is, or used to be, a common superstitious belief among shopkeepers that if a "lucky" person made the first purchase (bohoni) from their shop, they would do good business throughout the day; on the other hand, if an "unlucky" person were to make the first purchase, the business would suffer.

The narrator of the story is addicted to betel leaves. He goes to buy betel leaves from a new shop near his house. Unfortunately, on the day when the narrator is the first customer at the shop, the shop owner gets hardly any business. This leads the shop owner to conclude that the narrator is an "unlucky" person; she openly declares this to the narrator. The narrator, of course, wants to wipe off the stigma cast upon him. He hits upon a plan; the narrator urges his friends to buy betel leaves from the shop and even pays for the betel leaves. Well, if the friends get to eat betel leavel for free why should they refuse? The shop owner's business flourishes and she now believes that the narrator is a person who brings good luck. That should have been the happy ending. But, does the story indeed have a happy ending?

A nice and simple story that, perhaps, is also trying to convey that life would be a lot more easier if we learn to say "No"; always trying to be in the good books of others might not be a good idea after all.

(This story is being republished)

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Raining Garbage!

A picture of a beautiful yellow rose My acquaintance, Mr Thakur, was in a dilemma. He was admiring the beautiful flowers in his small garden when his brows creased into a frown. There were bits and pieces of egg shells sticking to the petals of the flowers; there were skins of potatoes, tiny slices of tomatoes, scraps of all kinds of vegetables, and tea leaves marring the beauty of his cherished flowers!

This was nothing new; Mr Thakur had been witnessing the defilement of his flowers for quite some time now. He looked up at the balcony of the flat above and clenched his fists. The maid who worked in the flat above had emptied their kitchen trash into his garden once again!

(This story is being republished)

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A Sweet Affair!

Four cups turned upside down During Holi, a fair was organised near my house. One of the main attractions at the fair was a contest.

In this contest, four kinds of sweets - a laddoo, a barfi, a gulab jamoon and a pedha - were placed on a table in full view of the participants. A curtain was then dropped blocking the participants' view and the sweets were rearranged and inverted cups were placed over each of them. The curtain was raised.

The participants had to correctly guess as to which sweet lay covered by which cup. Those who guessed all the four correctly were awarded prizes.

Now, 50 children participated in the contest. When the cups were removed to reveal the sweets, it turned out that 32 of them had not been able to identify even a single sweet correctly. Eight children had made one correct guess while getting the remaining three wrong, while six children had correctly identified two sweets and got the remaining two wrong.

How many children made only three correct guesses and how many of them got all the four right?

(This puzzle is being republished)

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