I had just retired. The house that I had built was too big for me, so I rented out a room in the backyard to one Santokh Singh, a mechanic. In the first meeting itself, I had found something unusual in his personality. He radiated peace and happiness.delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2010 01:00 IST
I had just retired. The house that I had built was too big for me, so I rented out a room in the backyard to one Santokh Singh, a mechanic. In the first meeting itself, I had found something unusual in his personality. He radiated peace and happiness.
“Santokh ji, I shut the main gate at 10 pm, so you must be back by that time.” I told in a tone reminiscent of my service days. “Madam, that’s really good. It will keep me disciplined,” he replied with a smile.
A few days later, I noticed that he’d keep the light of the verandah on throughout the night. When I pointed out this to him, he said, “Madam ji, I am doing this so that people passing through our lane have good visibility. Please don’t worry, I’ll pay for it.”
One evening, a friend visited me. After some chatting, she remarked, “The rent you are charging is too low and I feel you should keep a tenant who is of your status.” I manufactured a story that my son was coming back from the US, and told Santokh to vacate the room.
“Ma’m, this is indeed good news. You are very lucky. I have seen young progenies only going. There are very few who return. You are very lucky. I'll vacate by the month-end.
On the last day of the month, he kept his word. While he was exiting the house, I found a small box in one corner. It had my gold necklace in it, that was not traceable for long. After a pause, I said, “Santokh ji, were you really not aware that it was gold?” He smiled and said, “Madam ji, I may be a simpleton but am not an idiot who can’t differentiate between stone and gold.” I kept looking at him with disbelief and reverence.
Looking at the departing horse cart, I was feeling too small and his stature looked to me too lofty. An unlettered person had taught me the meaning of life. “No complaints, only gratitude.”
First Published: Jul 21, 2010 00:59 IST