Anyway, when I went to the paan shop after three or four days, the paan-seller did not show much enthusiasm in serving me. She busied herself in sorting the betel leaves for quite a long time and then went inside to fetch the stuffing. I thought she was being extra careful in rolling the betel leaves and I was pleased. But, still, my paan was not ready! The paan-seller kept a keen eye on the road as though waiting for customers; it was as if I was not a customer at all! Her inattention irked me, more so because I had been a faithful patron who made rounds of her shop twenty times in a day! I could not take it any longer and told her crossly, "Are you aware I have been waiting for a long time?"

"Yes sir, you have had to wait for a long time. But, please wait for a little while more," the paan-seller said apologetically. "Forgive my bluntness, but on the days when you have been the first buyer at my shop, I have not had much business. Yesterday, you were the first customer, and I could make sales worth only six annas. You were the first customer the day before yesterday also, and that day, I earned only eight annas. Panditji was my first customer four days ago, and on that day, I had already made sales worth 2.5 rupees by afternoon! Everyone has his share of luck, and the share is not always equal!"

The words hit me like bullets. I had never considered myself lucky; there might be only a few men more unfortunate than me in this world. I may not be the king, but I held a high post. It was intolerable to be branded as inauspicious. I cannot stand it if people, believing me to be inauspicious, refused to serve me as the first customer or refused to see my face in the morning.

Well, I finally got my paan, but resolved to erase the stigma that had become attached to me. I was sitting in my room when a friend arrived. He was on his way to the market to buy vegetables and had decided to drop in. While conversing with him, I spoke highly of the woman who sold me paan. The friend was an admirer of beauty and had a high sense of humour. He looked at me mischievously and said, "Brother, neither do I have any extra money now, nor do I have the urge to chew paan."

"I will lend you the money," I told him.

"It is all right then. But don't ever ask me to return the money."

"That's a tough deal."

"Did you hope to gain someone's admiration for free?"

I was helpless; I gave him the money to buy himself a paan. I extolled the paan-rolling skills of my paan-seller to everyone who came to meet me. My friends laughed at me and called me names. They described me as a "dark horse", "ardent devotee", and whatnot. But I suffered the taunts smilingly; I had to wipe off the stigma at any cost!

The next day when I went to the paan shop, the woman immediately rolled a paan for me. "Sir, you have brought me good luck. Yesterday, when you were my first customer, I made three-and-half rupees. Henceforth, please be the first customer to buy from my shop," she said.


Some useful links for
your career:

  • 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