A walk through a village and talking to people there, you come across many interesting characters. Listening to their life stories can be so inspiring. Their hardship, their day to day fighting with life troubles, yet to keep that smile on your face, yet to make sure to stay in touch with all, they all tell us the basic mantra of how to stay happy in life. In all this you at times also get to meet someone who you can call as one in a million. And this weekend I did meet one.
This person was an old lady of 87yrs named Basanti Devi. She stays all alone. Her daughters are married and her son works at Kolkata. I found the lady really brave but what I loved most about her was her witty nature.
When I entered her mud hut, I found a big hole in the wall of the front room. On inquiring she told it was few thieves who made the passage to enter the house. I got interested. She asked me to sit and brought two cup of tea, then started the story. I am putting it here as she told me. It was told in broken funny hindi but I could understand.
Lady: Most of the houses here are made of mud without any electricity. And thieves have a very simple method of breaking into. They are never sure if the people in a house are sleeping, so they cut out a big hole in a wall. Then they take a mud vessel, round shaped at the bottom, paint it black and pushes through that hole. People inside the house if awake might take it as the head and hit out, in such a case they can now run off safely. But when there’s no response, they then enter the house carefully and carry on with their evil deeds.
Just two days back they targeted my house. I was woken up sometime after midnight. (She has no watch to keep time. For her time does not matter anymore). Hearing the sound I could make out they were cutting the hole. Then they put in the vessel, I decided to keep quiet. And finally three of them entered my room. Seeing me sitting on my bed all three were shocked and turned back to run off. But I called them back, “Wait why are you leaving? I won’t harm you”.
They stopped and stood before me silent. I then requested them to have a seat and got up to make some tea for my guests. They were suspicious and said no, they won’t have any. I then asked one of them to come with me and watch if I am up to any mischief. After serving them tea I gave them all Prasad. I told them that there’s none to have it daily so today you all share it.
After all done I explained the boys that I have nothing worthwhile with me for them to steal. I gave my keys to the trunk I have, my sole wealth. They refused to take the keys and started walking towards the hole to go out. I again stopped them and opened the door for them to walk out. One of them before vanishing into the darkness turned around towards me and said – Thanks thakma for the treat, maybe someday will again meet in a better position.
Me: But why did you let them enter? Why didn’t you call your neighbours? Agree you didn’t have anything worth to be stolen but they could always have harmed you physically. And you even serve them food as if they are some big time guests!!
Lady: At this age harms don’t matter much. I didn’t want to call anyone. Then winking her eyes she says – Just see, they used the same channel to enter my house that they do for others when they could easily have done it by breaking my already broken door. They knew I am 80+ old lady, with no strength, yet they shower so much respect to my strength. This was the least I could do to welcome them and feel good.