This is yet another excerpt, taken from my unpublished memoirs 🙂
Here, I am going to introduce you to another memorable character from my childhood days. You have already read about Mr. Damchoo-A Donkey Herder, in the previous post, dated 4-Oct-22.
Mr. Naazir was a veteran bachelor and had no intention of ever tying a nuptial knot. He had been perhaps quite customary to his celibacy. He had never complained of his loneliness to anyone, at least in public. Such a stoic he had become over the years!
He was in his forties then; I guess. Whenever I happened to see him, he appeared to be the same. No visible change in his appearance was ever noticed. He had only one or two shirts and a couple of loose sheets (chadar). The loose sheets were alternately used as dhoti. This was the total collection of clothing he had in his wardrobe.
Not that he was a poor man, but he was painfully stingy–never willing to spend a penny or two. This stinginess had been inherited from his mother. She was the stingiest of the stingy. She would prefer walking barefoot on the paved road lest the shoes got worn out or broken. And while walking on the road, she literally used to take the shoes off and held them under her armpit. No matter how much rough and broken was the road, she did never put the shoes on.
Legend has it, she had saved thousands of rupees bit by bit. As there was no bank in the village, she decided to hide these rupees in the small cavities of the wooden ceiling. This was a smart, innovative move on her part, but the rats living in the house were far smarter than her.
Somehow or the other, the rats got wind of the notes hidden in the ceiling cavities and decided to settle the old scores with the tightfisted lady. Since there was little spare food in the house, they were literally starving. Perhaps forced by extreme hunger, they attacked the paper notes. They started nibbling at them and rendered them unusable.
When the old lady saw the half-eaten notes, she got the shock of her life. She could not believe her eyes. She felt as if the heavens had fallen on her. She had been deprived of her lifelong savings and she could do nothing. The tragedy was that she could not even share her unbearable grief with anyone in the village. The people, instead of commiserating with her, would have made fun of her bizarre decision of keeping money in the ceiling. They would have held her responsible for her tragedy. She had never expected such cruel treatment at the hands of indifferent fate. She didn’t deserve that. It was undoubtedly the rough justice for her stinginess.
Anyway, I was talking about her son, Mr. Naazir. Whenever we happened to meet him, he would ask only one question, i.e. “In which class are you in?”
On hearing our reply, he would thus continue: “I have been a class fellow of your uncle and father. They completed their education and found decent jobs. Then they got married and had children.” Then pointing towards us (cousins/me) he would add, “Now you too have grown young……… but……….. I am……. still there…….. unmarried………. unsettled”.
At the end of our conversation, he used to heave a deep sigh- a sigh of pain and regret. Perhaps we were unable to understand his feelings then at a young, immature age. But now in the hindsight, we can not only comprehend his feelings but also empathize with him.
No doubt he deserved a better lot. He must have gotten married. But he didn’t, or more precisely, his mother didn’t let it happen just to save the few thousand rupees she would have to spend on the marriage of her sole son. How cruel and callous she was!
Is money more important than one’s family? What’s the use of heaps of wealth, if one is not ready to part with even a penny?
I believe that we have no right to amass money if we are not willing to spend it on ourselves. And if we pray for an abundance of rizq (bounty), we must also pray for the largeness of the heart.
If Allah is magnanimous in giving away His rewards, should we be tightwad? This will be ungrateful on our part to hold Allah’s bounties back. And this invokes His wrath. We must understand that He can also reclaim whatever He has given to us. He is the Omnipotent. Therefore, we must share our riches with others, particularly with those who are poor and needy.