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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 engaged 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 day before yesterday too, and on 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 own share of luck and the share is not always equal!"
The words hit me like bullets. I had never considered myself to be lucky; there might be only a few men more unfortunate than me in this world. I may not be the king but at least I was an official; it was intolerable to be branded as inauspicious. It was slanderous 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 alright 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. Thereafter, I extolled the paan-rolling skills of my paan-seller to every one who came to meet me. My friends laughed at me and called me names. I was described as a "dark horse", "ardent devotee", and what not. But I suffered the taunts smilingly; I had to wipe off the stigma at any cost!
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
- 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