“Practice moderation in speech for most misunderstandings and factions arise out of carelessly spoken words. When the foot slips, the wound can be healed. But when the tongue slips, the wound it causes in the heart of another will fester for life.” (Bhagwan Baba).
Tamang and Kapin were two brothers who had a shoe shop. They had a couple of old and faithful craftsman, who specialized in hand made shoes. For many years these brothers had a monopoly in the local shoe market. Their handmade Chinese shoes were comfortable and durable too. One day, ten pairs of trendy brown leather moccasins were delivered by the head craftsman at the shop counter. They were made of snake leather and were quite expensive.
Tamang had gone out for the day and Kapin was looking after the shop. Just before closing time, a customer bought a pair of the latest trendy brown moccasins. Soon Kapin closed the shop and went home. The following day was Kapin’s weekly day off and Tamang opened the shop in the morning. He saw the new lot of shoes standing smartly at the counter. He happened to read in the stock register that ten pairs of shoes had been delivered. The sales register said that one pair had been sold at 8 pm. But the counter had only eight pairs on it.
The following day Tamang asked his brother Kapin if he had forgotten to enter the sale of the missing pair into the sales register, or had he liked it so much that he had taken a pair for himself ?
Kapin looked puzzled and replied that he had sold only one pair and he had not taken any for himself. Tamang got annoyed and said sarcastically, “Well I guess then a ghost entered into those shoes and walked away with them!”
With each passing day, there was an increment in bickering and mistrust between the brothers. Soon the brothers came to such a juncture that they decided to split the business and Kapin offered to move out. He set up another shop across the road.
Eighteen years later, a gentleman walked into Tamang’s shop and said, “My friend, are you the proprietor here?” “Yes, I am,” said Tamang. “Have you been here for the last eighteen years?” “Sure,” replied Tamang in surprise. “My friend, I have come here to make a confession. Eighteen years ago I came to this shop to look for a cheap pair of shoes, for mine was worn out beyond repair. You were at the rear end of the shop attending to a customer. At the counter were some expensive leather moccasins. I was desperate because my feet were so cold. I picked up a pair, slopped my feet into them and rushed out. But the guilt of the theft has haunted me all these years. I have come to confess and also to pay for them, for today I can afford to do so.”
Tears welled up in Tamang’s eyes as realisation dawned on him. He said, “The man with the customer was not me, but my brother. Please come with me to the shop across the road and repeat your story. That shall be payment enough.”
The man went across to Kapin’s shop and repeated his story. He was amazed to see Kapin come out of the shop to hug a sobbing Tamang!
The mystery of the missing shoes was solved and it had just cemented back the bond between the brothers.
Misunderstandings are common amongst brothers and friends over issues, big and small. Cool headedness and large heartedness often succeed in solving the issues.