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Lost and Found

Why does it happen sometimes that you lose a thing and despite your best efforts, you do not find it. But when you have given up all hopes, you find it at most unusual places.

And sometimes, you never find it despite your best efforts. What will you call it? Luck , destiny or coincidence? Recently, we went to our daughter’s place at Sarita Vihar in Delhi. My wife lost her diamond ring and one earring. My daughter, myself and my wife searched the entire house a number of times but could not find either the ring or the earring.

My wife was certain she had brought them in her small jewellery box. Now we started speculating where could the jewellery go. First finger of suspicion was pointed towards the maid. She was needy, was fond of good clothes and jewellery. We could not ask her directly as this could amount to blaming her for the theft. So she was asked to join in for the search of ring and earring. But no results came.

We came back home and again searched each corner of our house but in vain. Looked like jewellery had disappeared into thin air. This was Uma’s most favourite ring, presented to her by one of her close friends on our 50th marriage anniversary. Ultimately, we gave up all hopes. But we became more vigilant.

Time passed and after a gap of about a month, I was having my lunch. Fried broken pieces of papad in a bowl were part of the meal. I do not know whether you have noticed, when fried, papad takes different shapes like a cone or it rolls up. As I put one of these pieces in my mouth, I felt something hard against my teeth and when I rolled my tongue over it, it felt like a ring. And indeed it was a ring.

I thought may it was a publicity gimmick. A free artificial ring inside a packet of papad. I kept it in my plate. As my wife came in the room, I said see, you have served me a ring along with the papad. She jumped with joy, my God, it is my diamond ring that we lost about a month back. You know, she said, as I was frying papad, lost piece of earring came in my ladle. What a coincidence.

Both gold items were found on the same day. The biggest mystery was, how could both land inside the plastic bag containing papad? This plastic bag had come along from my daughter’s place, Sarita Vihar. Perhaps my daughter had packed some thing for us in this bag. We used contents and preserved bag for future use. My wife put broken pieces of papad inside it. Normally, she would have thrown away pieces of papad but she kept them.

Normally all the frying work is done by our maid. But that day, she decided to fry papad herself and as a result we found two jewellery pieces worth thousand of rupees. Now the big question is who would put gold jewellery inside a plastic bag along with pieces of papad?

My wife is certain she would never do such a thing. Had someone hidden them inside the ordinary plastic bag once hue and cry was raised at my daughter’s place about missing jewellery. Difficult to say. Yes, we were lucky to recover lost gold. Another thing. Suppose I had swallowed the ring which contained a diamond. Could it harm me? Remember Guru Dutt’s Hindi movie, Chaudhvin ka Chand. In that movie, nawab sahib, played by Rehman, swallows diamond ring and commits suicide.

Here I am reminded of a short story written by RK Narayan, in Malgudi days, which was televised on Doordarshan. It is about an orphan given shelter in a well to do house. A very good worker and really liked by young daughter of the house. The child is highly pampered and careless. Once she loses her some gold item which she was wearing. Finger of suspicion points at servant who is handed over to police. Police uses third degree method to extract confession out of him. Than one day, all of a sudden, the gold article is found in a jar.

Now the housewife asks husband, should we tell police and get boy released. But owner of the house says if we inform police, we will become butt of joke in entire village.

Thank God, we did not go to police and gave benefit of doubt to maid servant. But who placed gold pieces inside plastic bag, still remains a mystery. A small piece of advice to all my friends. Please keep your things under lock and key. Do not keep your valuables in the open, do not let them become a source of temptation for servants. As they say, precaution is always better rather than repenting later on.

We always expect our support staff to show utmost respect to us but the big question is are we prepared to extend the same courtesy to them? Remember, they are an essential part of our system. Can any household survive for a few days if the maid servant does not turn up?

Most of householders are bread earners these days and have no time either for children or house keeping. Cooking is almost a forgotten art. Imagine what will present generation do if there was no Zomato or Swiggy. We always have a feeling that maids, vegetable and fruit vendors, rickshaw wallas and others like them are trying to overcharge us.

Most of us have inbuilt prejudice against them. But do we realise that if we, the middle class feel pinch of rising costs, what about poorer sections. Please be kind and treat them well. They will give you their best if you are polite to them and talk to them with a smile.

Let me give one example here. When we go to a shopping mall and enter a multinational brand showroom, we are at our best behaviour and promptly pay the amount written on price tag. Of Course we also pay all the taxes shown in the invoice. We do not bargain at all.

But in sweltering heat with mercury touching forty plus, we bargain hard with a rickshaw puller. We want best of fruits and vegetables but do not want to pay just and fair price.

Is it fair, you tell me? All human beings are equal. Treat others nicely and than only expect the same from them. Let compassion and kindness be our religion. Do not forget we all have been assigned different roles as per our capabilities. For smooth and efficient functioning of society, role of each individual is equally important.

Never forget that an egotist is not a man who thinks too much of himself; he is a man who thinks too little of other people.

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