The Drunken Driver
Little Arpita tugged hard at her father’s sleeve to catch his attention, while he lazed in the hammock enjoying his afternoon siesta. “Papa, can you give me Rs.100?” “What for, do you need it at this time?” he asked sleepily. “I have to buy a watch,” she said impatiently. Just to get her off his back, he reached into his wallet and gave her the money, “Off you go, now leave me alone.”
Later in the evening the father noticed his articulately dressed up daughter wearing a rather shabby looking wrist watch. He asked her, “Arpita, where did you get that from?”
“I bought it,” she said. “You bought it? Why? And from whom?” “From my friend, Neena. You see she needed some money to buy her mother a parting gift, so she sold her watch to me,” answered the girl most solemnly. “Young lady, may I ask why she needed the money and why you need to do all this? If she needed the money, you could have given it to her anyway. It doesn’t bother me.”
“Oh! But Papa, she wouldn’t take it for nothing. So I took her watch. You see, she had to buy a lipstick and glass bangles for her mother.” “Why, did she have to do that?” “Because her mother had died yesterday. Neena said, her mother had wanted to buy that pink lipstick and glass bangles for months, but she never had the money for them. Now it was time to say good bye to her, she wanted her mother to have them.”
The man was touched at the girl’s love for her dead mother. He decided to take his daughter along and attend the funeral the next day. As they reached the place and went forward to pay their respects to the dead lady, he noticed the pink lipstick and the glass bangles she was wearing. But, that is not all that he noticed. He also noticed that the lady was the one who had been run over by him two nights before while he was driving home late in the night, in a drunken state. He had hit and run. His crime had gone unnoticed, for he had made a clean getaway.
But now, he saw little Neena, crying bitterly as she hugged her mother, one last time. He saw the husband, looking totally shattered. It dawned on him that in his drunken state he had not only taken the life of one but had also snatched the love and laughter from the lives of an innocent husband and daughter. Their lives would never be the same. And all because of an irresponsible rich man who could not see beyond the tip of his own nose.
Think before you or anyone around you, drives after drinking and … remember little Neena. No one has right to snatch away the smiles from another. Be responsible towards yourself and towards others too.