The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Talisman


The Talisman
Badri was rather bemused, wondering how his friend Vishal could gather such a piece of information. It was a secret, and he did not remember to have shared it with anybody, known or unknown. But the way Vishal solved the issue today proved he was no less than a real thief. After all, one must think like a thief in order to be able to track a thief down.
Having lost his purse Badri had a presentiment that something worse was going to happen to him, for he had also lost his talisman which was inside it. A saint had given him the talisman which had saved him from every danger that threatened him ever since he came to posses it. He would not remember how many occasions he averted an accident just in the nick of time, how many quarrels he could avoid for the past ten years. Everything he attributed to the protective power of his talisman. It was like a shield of blessings working to save him from harm, day in and day out. He knew what it meant losing his talisman: now he should expect only bad things to happen to him. They seemed just so much imminent! God only knew what all were in his fate to endure...
Badri could not explain how he lost his purse. He was sure he did not visit any crowded marketplace. Oh yes, he had been to the temple and yesterday there were a good crop of temple-goers. But then again, there was nothing unusual in it. On top of it, it would be too unfair to blame the theft on devotees. A temple was a temple, a place of devotion and goodness. Sometimes, there could be instances of theft of shoes and sleepers in temple precincts and that was few and far between. Nobody going to temple could think of actual stealing. Then, how did he lose his purse?
When Vishal was home in the evening, Badri related the episode of his missing purse to him. Listening to this, the former went mum for a minute. It appeared as though he were reminding himself something serious. Then he said, ‘Well, one should adopt alertness on matters of one’s purse, even though he is himself a thief.’
It had been ten long years the duo were friends. When Badri met Vishal at the railway station of Tatanagar for the first time, he was working as a salesman in a motor parts shop. He had been to the station to receive somebody but the blessed train was inordinately late and he was bored to death just by waiting endlessly. At that hour of need, Vishal came and stood on the same bench Badri was sitting. A few moments gone, they started talking between them. Talk led to talk and before they could even know it, three short hours had elapsed just like that.
Vishal was an unemployed fellow then and it was in search of employment that he had landed there. It was a common belief among people that Tatanagar was the place one should go in search of employment. But Vishal had no technical qualification that could have helped him in getting an employment with ease. Hence he had to remain content with the job of a salesman in a small textile shop in the town. Ten years had passed in the meanwhile, and there was no count of the jobs he had taken up and left. But at the end of the day one thing remained permanent: it was his friendship with his buddy Badri.
They used to share a room. As for their food, they used to prepare the same in turn—one day it was in the share of Badri and the other day was the turn of Vishal. There was an exceptional degree of understanding between them. When one fell ill, the other would nurse him to health. Give and take; mutual help and acceptance of each other’s excesses were behind such friendship.
Listening to everything his friend narrated before him Vishal said, ‘Stop regretting, my friend, and take a lesson from this. Theft takes place, even in temples.’
In fact, Badri was yet to tell his friend that he had visited the temple the previous day. He was surprised, ‘Oh yes, I had been to the temple yesterday, but then how did you come to know about that? Maybe, theft had taken place there.’ Badri was not particularly interested in getting a reply to the query he posed. With a sigh he continued, ‘I’m not so unhappy because my purse has gone with the amount of two hundred rupees in it. Rather I’m unhappy because....’
Vishal knew his friend had an unreasonable degree of faith in things like luck, bad omen. Blind belief in him was so much entrenched that a mere loss of purse had sent him to a state of utter restlessness. In fact Badri was apprehending that something catastrophic was going to befall him. He might meet with an accident or maybe he would lose his job the next day. Even if nothing of this sort happened to him, he might even lose his parents. The saint that gave him the talisman had warned him like this.
‘Why are you such a superstitious fellow, Badri? Ok, let me do something for you,’ offered Vishal.
‘What can you do now? Can anybody get back one’s purse from a pickpocket?’ Badri gave out a sigh of frustration.
‘Certainly. Something can be done even now...and I know what should be done,’ uttered Vishal with confidence of a know-all.
Then the duo went to the post office situated near the temple of Lord Hanuman. They were interested in the information if a red purse was found in the letter box. The staff from the post office replied in a matter-of-fact tone, ‘It’s true we sometimes get stuffs like key bunch, purse, I-card, driving licence, but as for today, no such thing has been found.’
Vishal accompanied by his friend Badri went inside the post office. At the far corner of the hall lay the materials retrieved from the letter boxes. Both the friends inspected the stuffs one by one but of no avail. Really, there was no purse among them. So, quietly they left for another post office in the neighbourhood.
In this manner, after doing the rounds of three post offices in the locality, Badri was able to trace it. But the postmaster would not so easily part with it, at least not before the owner presented an unassailable proof of the ownership of the object. And what could Badri say in support of his ownership? He just stated that there was a talisman inside the purse. On hearing this, the postmaster opened the purse and was satisfied about the evidence. Along with the talisman he found a currency note of one hundred rupees too.
‘Strange! What sort of a thief he was, who left money in the purse he abandoned!’ the postmaster guffawed as he inspected the purse a little minutely.
‘Postmaster Sir, the note in your hand is torn a bit and the same has been there in my purse for two months or so,’ Badri added as if to rationalise the conduct of the pickpocket.
‘Aha! I know what this pickpocket is up to! He knows what to take and what not to...and on top of everything else, he knows the difference between a real note and a fake one,’ blabbed Vishal. An I-know-it-all smile played across his face.
In fact Badri had not revealed to anybody that the note in his purse was a fake one. He would not know how he came to possess that, but now more baffling development had taken place before him. How the hell his friend came to know about the note in his purse?
Dumbfounded Badri looked on his friend with a mysterious stare. And simultaneously he kept wondering, ‘Isn’t a period of ten long years enough to know a friend completely?’
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By
A. N. Nanda
4-11-2011
Ghaziabad
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2 Comments:

Blogger NS said...

Dear sir,
The story of "The Talisman"expresses some morals.
1.Every criminals will leave some evidences. In this, VISHAL's premature disclosure of fake note in the purse and about the visit of the temple.
2.Nothing was happened to Badri during he lost the talisman, instead he finally found who his friend was.
3.Untrue friendship never continues.
--- N.Subramanian tirupur

11:16 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Thank you NS for reading my story and bringing out morals. It makes an author happy if his reader enjoys his writing.

A N Nanda

9:02 AM  

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