Nandu's Tea Stall!
“People are bereft of gratitude, which is not right. One should be grateful for the help they have received from others as long as one is alive.” (Bhagwan Baba)
A beggar sat by the curb, holding out a shabby tin container, with a few coins in it. It was a cold day and the wind beat mercilessly through the trees in the foothills in this sleepy town. The beggar pulled his shoddy blanket closer to keep himself warm.
Shikhavat Singh, a rich man who owned most of the tea plantations in the vicinity was taking a walk, wearing a smart tweed coat and flannel pants. He wore a warm golf cap and held a handsome walking stick that added class to his purposeful gait. Walking past the Green valley, he noticed the beggar shivering in the cold.
He stopped there and asked him, “My friend, why are you begging?” The beggar, though young, looked weary and sick. He said, “Sir, I came to this town looking for work. I have not been able to find a job. I finished all the money I had. I have not eaten a morsel for the last three days. I am begging because I am so hungry and I don’t have the strength to go around in search of work anymore.”
There was a note of honesty in the beggar’s voice. So Shikhawat Singh said to him, “How about you and I start a business? What’s your name?” The beggar said, “Nandu” as he looked up in disbelief. “Why would you want to start a business with me? I have nothing to contribute, let alone invest.” Shikhawat Singh shook his head, smiled and said, “Oh yes! You do! You have a sound mind in a sound body.
A few days of good food shall get you back on your feet. Listen, I shall give you a hundred boxes of tea leaves every morning. All you have to do is, set up a little stall on the roadside. This place is swarming with tourists. Just sell the tea leaves and we shall share the profits.” Nandu couldn’t believe his ears. This was unbelievable. He said, “Sir, what share shall I get, of the profits? 5% . . . . or?”
The gentleman straightened up, adjusted his cap and said, “Oh! We’ll work it out. Here take this fifty rupees and have some dinner. Come to me tomorrow morning, at the green bungalow at the top of the hill.”
So, Nandu became a tea vendor. He worked hard from morning to night. By the end of the month, he had made a handsome profit. So he put it in front of Shikhawat Singh and said, “Sir, this is all due to your benevolence. Give me a small share, as you deem fit.”
The rich man smiled and picked up half of the money saying, “50% is yours. Keep up the good work.” Nandu was beside himself with joy. This was unbelievable. 50% of the profit! Oh Lord! You are great!
So the next month came and went and so did the following one. Nandu was in good health and spirits. The colour had returned to his cheeks and his eyes shone bright and happy. Another few months later, when Nandu came to Shikhawat Singh to handover his share of profit, he had a disgruntled look on his face. He thought to himself, “Why do I have to give half of the profit to this rich guy? After all, I do all the hard work. What does he do?” So in the following months, he paid the profit but most unhappily.
A day came when he said the unpleasant words that had been bottled up in him, to Shikhawat Singh. Shikhawat Singh smiled as he always did and said, “My friend, all the share of profit that you had given to me, lies safely with me. It is yours. I have saved it for you. In future you can decide if you want to share the profits with me or not.”
This is life. God gives us opportunities to work and earn. Initially we promise to pay back a share of the grace. Sometime later, we don’t want to do it, because we become greedy.
Money should not be allowed to go to the head; it should remain confined to the pockets. Just like a boat sailing in the water is a good thing, but if the water gets into the boat; it becomes the cause for it to drown.