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Shoe Polish Boy.

After a very long time I visited Connaught Place in New Delhi today. It has changed quite a lot and I don’t remember when I last visited the place . Was sitting on a bench in the inner circle before H&M showroom waiting for a friend who was to accompany me there , a feeble short statured shoe polish boy with a wooden box carrying his equipments of the trade on his shoulders asked me if I wanted my shoes to get polished. Generally I don’t entertain such requests and ask such boys to move on. But today somehow I saw that I my shoes were in a bad condition and untidy and badly needed some dressing. So I acceded to the request. But then promptly asked him the money he would take for the job. He did not ask an astronomical sum and whatever he asked appeared reasonable to me. He took one of the pair and started his work. Something in the boys looks and eyes were captivating. His eyes were sunken with a lot of sadness visible . The clothes he was wearing very old and torn at many places and above all his entire demenour was no better than pathetic. I suddenly felt very sorry and sad for him . In few minutes he was done with and asked me for another of the pair. He was doing his work very diligently and with sincerity.

Suddenly I could see his eyes filled with fear and he quickly tried to hide his box he was carrying behind the bench on which I was sitting .He had watched someone in the crowd . I did not see anything unusual or alarming in the people who were passing by . Perhaps I was not able to discern as I was not related to his trade. When I asked him about the cause of his sudden discomfiture , he replied that in the crowd was one official from the municipal corporation of Delhi and they had business to see that no such shoe polish boys roam the streets there offering their inconsequential services. Maybe the government did not want such people to habitat Connaught Place. But all this passed in a minute or so as the person moved on without catching this particular shoe polish boy . The shoe polish boy continued with his work and finished it in another five minutes or so. He seemed satisfied with his work and maybe also felt relieved that he was not cought and his wooden box and equipments not seized . I gave him ten rupees more than he asked for the services and he moved on was out of my sight in a minute. The work he had done with my shoes was marvellous. I was thinking of throwing away the pair but his work has done wonders and I decided that I could use it for few more weeks.

Feeling grateful I could not move my thoughts away from the boy and the likes like him. How difficult life is for many in this big city of ours. ? How precious is a small wooden box with few boxes of shoe polish and brushes for some. ? How difficult it is for some to earn few rupees for a living . ? With hunger written all over his face I could not move away my thoughts from that emaciated figure who was roaming the streets to earn his living. Continuously hiding from the authorities who had declared his trade as illegal and we’re bent upon even devouring it. I still cannot fathom the logic of the government policy. What harm can befall on a society when a hungry ,emaciated boy wants to earn an honest living by polishing shoes.

My friend whom I had been waiting for was visible in a distance and gradually when he arrived we started gossiping and everything was forgotten.We went to a nearby restaurant run by an ex IITian and ordered two different glasses of beverages . The total bill came out to be three hundred fifty six rupees. I felt ashamed at the profligacy . The amount we spent on two glasses of exotic beverages was may be equal to the entire days earning of that shoe polish boy . And the toil he was undertaking to earn that much was heartbreaking.

Some people have a lot in this world and are blessed .It is a result of the circumstances in which they are born . Some are unfortunate and the misfortune is written all over the faces of such creatures . But people do not have time to look at such creatures. Most of the time they bear the brunt of abuses and violence , of authorities and of better placed humans.

A question comes to my mind. Is birth of a human being is by design or choice.? A soul which encapsulates a body, does it have a choice in selecting a particular body ? I think the answer to all this is No… And if the answer to this is so then is it not required that all those souls who are better circumstanced and encapsulated in better bodies show some empathy and kindness towards those who are less fortunate. Ultimately one day everyone has to move on leaving the body in which one is sitting .It is not a Sultanate which one can hold on forever. It grows old one day and a time comes when it is abandoned . Then why not show some empathy and compassion towards those not so better circumstanced……….

Condemned

Walking towards the execution ground before a firing sqad surprisingly all my fears of last night spent in my prison cell have vanished. I am feeling a surprising calm .In an hour of two everything about me Mariam Hadija will be over.

What a life it has been .Born a Harami an illegitimate child by the union of a wealthy merchant and his young servant I decended to this world by an accident and not by any deliberate design by my parents. But Nana my mother often said that Jalil Khan promised to marry her. She got conned into surrendering her body to Jalil in a moment of weakness. Nana really loved Jalil and only then she did what she did and I was conceived. She always wept in moments of aloofness and kept on insisting that she was not a harlot as she was made to be. She was a virtuous girl .But in the conservative society in which she lived she was immediately kicked out of her home and abondoned by her mother. The question of being abandoned by her father was never there as he had been long dead .

But Jalil Khan never really abandoned Nana . He never either accepted her either. With already three wives and five children he could very well have afforded my mother and in turn me. But he chose not to do so and therefore Nana and me were condemned to live in a shanty on the outskirts of Kabul. But for the atonement of his sins he never fully abandoned us. The tiny dwelling in which I spent my childhood was given by him to my mother to live and raise me. He used to visit us regularly and for me always brought gifts and toys and anything I demanded . But I could not call him my father as he had not wed my mother and my mother legally as well as in the eyes of the town folk was a Rakhail a concubine of Jalil Khan and a dishonourable women with whom very few wanted to mingle and seen with.

One of the few figures who wanted to mingle and be with us was Alimuddin a maulvi and man of letters. It was he who taught me the early letters of Farsi and later how to read and write.He taught me about Allah and how we human beings are his best creations. I never considered my self to be Allah ‘s best creation. Living an ignomious life in the outskirts of the town how could I praise Allah. But maulvi kept kept on insisting me to change my views and said that it is only Allah who would come to my rescue when I am in trouble.

For Jalil Khan ,my creator ,I had an ambivalent feeling. Whenever he came to meet Nana and mother he appeared to be coming to us to show his repentance and his helplessness in changing our existential situation. He never faltered in his duties of being our provider. In fact he could afford his generosity. Whenever we used to go fishing in the nearby rivulet he used to tell me stories. All kinds of stories . Stories related to the life in town which we were condemned not to ever experience. I liked him not for his visits or his stories but for the gifts he brought to me. His stories nonetheless enriched me and my understanding of the world beyond our dwelling. I dreamt of someday living that life.

I often asked Nana as to why we could not live with him. She always got irritated by the question.Have I not told you umpteen times that this is not possible. You are an illegitimate child and will remain so through out your life. No effort on our part is going to change that. Don’t annoy him with your insistence . He may stop visiting you and then you won’t be getting your gifts.But in my heart I was stubborn that one day I will make him accept me as his daughter . For that whatever is required I would do.

So I ran away from Nana one day . I never knew what a calamitous step it would be. It forever changed my life’s destiny. I was able to reach Jalil’s house but he refused to take me in or talk to me. Lying three days and outside his house on the street I finally had to return. But on my return I saw Nana hanging from the ceiling . Nana always told me that I was the last and most precious thing she ever had and had warned never to betray her ever for anybody. I had never imagined the enormity of the threat and how insecure she was without me . But the realty of the threat was before me. My mother was dead and I a Harami was all alone in this world.

Maulvi Alimmudin ,Jalil Khan and me along with two bearers were all in her funeral procession.I was weeping consistently but Jalil showed no such emotion of deep grief. Seemed relieved that the object of her penance was dead now. But for me Jalil Khan was the only person to whom I could turn to now that Nana was gone.

Seemed that the penance of Jalil Khan for bringing me this world would continue. As I could not live him he very soon had to find someone who would take my responsibility. So I was married to Rashid at the age of thirteen . He had a small shoe manufactering shop in Kabul and was a childless widower . His age didn’t matter to Jalil. He was of the same age as he was.

My uneventful life with Rashid continued and decended from being that of unmindful in the initial years to that of pure contempt and hatred as years progressed. The reason of the contempt and hatred was that I could not bear him a son. Maybe god had destined me to bear the pain and sorrow of a thousand of his other creations whom he had chosen to shower his grace and blessings. The verbal abuses gave way to physical one and I like an non living creature bore it all without resistance. When I sometimes resisted Rashid grew more voilent and the result would be more bruises on my body.

However one day all this changed when the house two blocks away was blown into pieces in the heavy rocket fire from the Taliban who were pounding the city with heavy artillery and rocket fire in an attempt to take control from Ahmed Shah Masood who was  in command of Kabul after the Soviet withdrawal and fall of their Najibullah . A beautiful young girl of about fourteen was the only survivor. Parents killed and she with nowhere to go came to our house to live. This gesture of kindness in Rashid however had a long term goal. His magnanimous gesture was not without any expectation of return from girl. Laila was her name and she sensed the expectations  early . I took time to understand the whole situation . One night he spoke to me ask the girl to become his second wife. He argued that I was getting older and needed a helping hand in the household chores. I was aghast. Accustomed to all his abuses in these years I had never expected this final abuse . I however had no choice and did as he had asked me to do so. The girl listened to me in silence for a moment and then to my surprise without resisting gave her consent. So she became the second Begum of our Shahajahan. In physical attributes she was far superior to me . Tall , statuesque , aristocratic had she not fallen to this unfortunate situation Rashid was not even fit to be her servant let alone her husband. Obviously with her becoming his second half I was reduced to being just a housemaid .

Rashid’s behaviour was different with her. He was soft spoken and caring with her . Always tried to please her . Laila, however , was indifferent to both of us in the household. He never raised his voice let alone her hand on her. I too became an unintended beneficiary in his change of heart. I however knew that the change in behaviour was more to do with the way he was pleasured behind closed doors at night when she heard the moaning noices. Life was moving on with its pace. Nine months into marriage a girl was born . Rashid was not happy as he had always wanted a boy but then had to accept Alia. Laila his Mercedes Benz had lost some shine after the birth and this gave a pleasure to me.

But gradually I a Volga as he used to call me while comparing both of us got to liking Laila . I do not know the exact reason but this happened as her child started calling me Mama Jaan when she was about three. The first time she did I could not control my tears . I who could not bear a child of my own was being addressed Mama was too much of blessings which floored me and I forgot all the enmity towards Laila. I had convinced myself in all these years that I would be breft of all filial happiness in this life as my life as Harami was a cursed one . And to add to all this I had committed a crime of running away from Nana for whom I was everything . I was responsible for the sucide and death of my mother and that is why motherhood would evade me forever. But all this had changed now. As Alia grew older I now had someone with whom I could relate too . Someone with whom I could bond and someone I knew loved me and cared for me. Alia was growing to be an intelligent but quite child. She was indifferent to Rashid as she in the very beginning sensed that she was not his first desire as an offspring.

Alia and my bond grew. I used to tell her stories Mulla Allimudin used to tell me when I was a child . Tried telling stories from Koran .The stories of truthful conduct and words and educated her with whatever wisdom I an uneducated women herself had or had learned in the forty years of her uneventful life. She listened to me attentively and her asked me questions in return. At times I could answer then but many a times I could not. I sometimes felt that Alia was more close to me than her own mother and this feeling always elated me.

Never imagined that our mundane but happy existence in war torn Afghanistan is awaiting another shock which would change the course of our destiny in time to come. All was going well in our household until a man named Tariq came visiting our house. He introduced himself to be a childhood friend of Laila and had returned from Peshawar recently . His and Laila’s family had been neighbours and he and Laila were schoolmates. His parents had migrated to Pakistan to escape the war going on in Afghanistan.

So here was Laila’s long lost friend . But the way they saw each other and behaved whenever he visited our house gave me reason to believe that there was more to their relationship than casual friendship. Why has Tariq returned? What did he want from her ? These questions kept on making rounds in my head. I had no answers to this until Laila herself told me. Alia is not Rashid’s child. Tariq is her real father. He was her lover and had gone to Pakistan after the consumation of their union in a chilly winter night. Laila had married Rashid to give legitimacy to Alia . She had cheated Rashid into believing that he was her father. That was a sin but she had committed it to protect her and her child. Rashid had been bewitched by her beauty and it was not difficult for her she being her Mercedes Benz.

I was surprised but not shocked . Rashid deserved such treatment for the way he had treated her . Laila was a cunning and un scrupulous women . But as it happens words on Tariq’s visits to our home when Rashid was not home spread. And finally one day when Rashid returned home early in the evening he found Tariq at home with Laila. Now the words which he was hearing hushed tone around him were found to be true he was consumed with anger. He warned Tariq never ever to visit his house again . He said that he was fully capable and right in protecting his and his family’s honour and would not mind killing both of them if need so arose.The explosion that day was somehow postponed for a more calamitous day.

But as fate would one day have it Rashid again caught both of them in the afternoon at home. Tariq managed to slip out but Laila’s fate was sealed and in turn my fate took to an unexpected turn. Rashid bolted the outer door from inside and pounded on Laila like an animal.First the fists were used and then when he got exhausted he took out his belt and used them with full ferocity. You whore! I gave you protection in your time of need and in return I get this.I will kill you. I tried intervening in the fight but in return got my share of his pounding and bruises on my body. He had physical powers of a man and we two women could not be any match to him even when we tried. He was like a wounded animal eager to pound on anyone who came in his way.I am going to kill you .You whore! He kept shouting. Laila had stopped fighting and was lying on the floor .Badly bruised with blood oozing out from her head she was about to faint. With her having no resisting power I tried to reason with Rashid and pleaded him to stop. He now directed his rage towards me and started hitting me . First using his fists and then with his belt.

I don’t know what transformed in me that day. I have had enough of Rashid’s abuses. Something inside was telling me now to not take all this anymore . Some external power that day had possesed me. I was recalling all the beatings and abuses which I had borne and as if all the years of hatred against Rashid were about to burst.

He was now done with me and turned again to Laila .He was now on top of her with his hands on her neck. Still mumbling ” I will kill you whore . You ungrateful bitch”. Laila was in no position to resist. I could see before my eyes a murder being committed . There was an iron spade used for digging lying in the corner . I did not think twice and picked that up and with all my strength hit Rashid on his head. The impact was enormous. Rashid gave a agonizing cry and dropped and was still. Suddenly I realized the enormity of the act I had committed. In order to prevent a murder being committed before my eyes I myself had committed one. Rasid lay still on the ground – dead.

I could watch Laila now gazing at me , bewildered and panicked look. Coming to our senses after a while we decided to dispose off Rashid’s body .

‘ Walk fast – a harsh noise and a push of hand jolted me out of my thoughts. My destiny was now near may be about five hundered yards or so. I was praying and was trying to remember all whom had joined me in this world which we called being alive and so fondly cherish . Nana my mother ,Jalil my father, Maulvi Alimuddin ,Laila, Alia my apple of eyes and many other faces. An uneventful life was about to meet Allah my creator. But no this life had not been a waste. I had been loved by atleast one Alia my daughter who I knew would miss me once I am gone. I had released Laila from Rashid whom she had never liked but was condemned to live. From the bottom of my heart I wished her and Alia all the happiness in life. I wished the love story between Laila and Tariq continued and reached it’s conclusion – as a life of man and wife .

As for me I conclude my life had been incomplete but not a waste. I was incomplete as a daughter as was born -unwanted , I was incomplete as a wife as I was married to someone who cared little about me other than someone who cooked and mended for him and was a punching bag for his frustrations .But all this dwarfed when I compare my bonding with Alia. It was love pure , requited and reciprocated as Allah would have with his creations….It made my life full and complete .

‘Stop now. Bow your head and say your last prayers. ‘ Someone shouted . I could hear other noises emanating from the ground and then I could see a gun pointed at my head and ………………………………………………………..!

Journey – continued

  • Yamraj stared at me. He knew what was going in my mind and I think he was taking some kind of pleasure seeing me in such discomfiture. I a Bharat Ratna meeting such a fate at the gates of heaven! I started thinking about my whole life. My immense accomplishments seemed dwarfed now as I was pronounced unworthy at the very outset by Yamaraj.I gathered courage and asked – please tell me what is your final verdict. He thought for a moment . I cannot disclose all this at the beginning and my lord Shiva does not permit me to do so. You will have to listen to all the pages of your book.

I asked him to continue. He said that the lady who lit your funeral pyre your adopted child. I knew a lie here would only seal my fate for the worst. I said timidly..For the world she is my foster child but in reality she is my own daughter conceived by Padma Kaul in our moment of weakness. Yamraj seemed to be pleased that at least now I was speaking the truth. Never in your heart you felt any remorse about this fact which you both hid from the world and your daughter.I said I did feel so but could not accept publicly as it concerned my reputation Padma’s reputation and my dear friend Brij Mohan’s reputation.How would the world have reacted to this. I could not have reached the position I reached had I accepted the truth . My social and political reputation would have been ruined. Yamraj said calmly that had I done so my current predicament here would have eased a bit. But nothing could be done now. I asked him to turn over to other page of my book.

Yamraj sifted to other page. You were a philanderer and a womanizer. In fact on your first assignment to UN when you were sent by your Prime Minister you were found more interested in women in New York than preparing your speech which you were to deliver there. In fact the news of your dalliances reached your Prime Minister through an envoy there and for which you repriminded on your return.You almost created a scandal there for which your Prime Minister felt ashamed.

But I did deliver an excellent speech in Hindi at UN and for which I am remembered and praised even now. I established Hindi to its rightful place to which it belonged. A language spoken by millions at home but not heard outside which was quite a national shame. No other Indian leader had dared to do so earlier . It was I who broke from our colonial past and for which I am very proud off. As far as my dalliances are concerned all of it is true . I did not consider it wrong as I was not married and was not violating any marriage vows.

But you were still living with Brij Mohan’s family and still stand by your utterances that you were not doing anything wrong. Any way you are not here because of this alone.Let us move to other page ,Yamraj said.

I was getting tired and irritated standing at the gate waiting for the pronouncement of the verdict. I asked Yamraj to move to the next page.

You once said before everybody that every ruler should see and treat all his subjects equally and should follow Raj Dharma . But you did not sack Harendra Modi from CM ship even when it was found that he treated two categories of his subjects who followed different faiths differently. He allowed the killings of one category of subjects while his police looked the other way. You yourself did not follow Raj Dharna then. Why did you do so ?

I was about to sack Harendra but my friend Krishna prevented me from doing so. I do consider this one of my grave mistakes . Harendra has now become Prime Minister and I know that he is not a good man. In fact he is very cunning and chameleon like and does not any remorse . He is totally self-centered and would go to any length for self promotion and glorification.I have a lot of love for my countrymen and I hope they do not get swayed by his oratorial skills again in 2019. He is not sincere and does not have any interest in the welfare of the country in his heart. Yamraj was listening to my candid confession and smiling.

I asked Yamraj out of curiosity that if the gates of heaven are not opened for me where would he keep me. He said that they have a place called Atonement House where all such souls are kept till they find redemption. But it is not a comfortable place. You are constantly under watch and are asked to undergo ordeal which are painful and very difficult. For example taking a bath with ice water at 2 degree temperature or running 20 kilometers at a stretch in 44 degree temperature.

Now genuinely afraid I asked him about any other alternative other than this .He said that for those who opt not to be born as humans in near future there is an option for taking the body of an animal or an insect. But if you wish to be born a human in near future it is not a good option as it would take hundred rebirths if you take an animal body like a dog or a monkey a donkey or a cat and about 100000 lakh births if you opt for the body of an insect like a mosquito or a fly or a cockroach.

I gathered courage and asked Yamraj further regarding the workload he may be having in pronouncing verdict on so many souls as thousands die everyday and all souls must be coming to him for judgement.

No my dear soul . Our screening process is very simple . Most of the souls don’t come to me for pronouncement of verdict . They are automatically ushered in to heaven. You see we are very generous here .Anybody who has lived by the vows he took in his life and did not deviate much from the path of virtue is ushered into heaven without much scrutiny and is allowed to live there in an eternal bliss till he again desires to go down again. Be born and experience the cycle of birth and death again. When you were coming here my dear soul you must have experienced that you were sailing very smoothly and you were floating among the white clouds. Thousands of souls were travelling along with you which of course you were not able to see .All floating ,in a state of bliss heading towards heaven. Most of our cloud is white and it smoothly enters through the gates of heaven with fairies welcoming them at their gates and escorting them to their rightfull dwellings . It is only complicated cases come to me for judgement. The clouds with yellow and saffron and other colours are taken care by my deputies. I take care of souls who come with black clouds only.

I wondered about the life I lived on earth. Had I lived an ordinary virtuous life there I would perhaps be now relaxing in my paradise instead of waiting for my judgement before Yamraj.

Yamraj probably knew what was going in my head. He was smiling and finally said mortals forget that they have a soul and to protect it to its pristine purity is their duty . And to do this they do not have to run after money, adulation, glory . In fact pursuit of all such things only makes it impure . It should remain the way when you are born .Soul of a newborn child. Throughout your life .

I am fully chastised now. I know that I do not have a place in heaven now . With all the pages of my life Yamraj has shown me so far. I did not want to experience the ordeal of Atonement House. It all seemed very frightening.

Yamraj already knew the questions emanating in my head. So what options you are choosing . The body of an animal or an insect.????????

Journey

Finally I have been able to wriggle out of the body which had caged me for almost a decade. A disfunctional and debilitated body with only one kidney and replaced knees and with cerebral functions also not working properly . But most painful was the loss of speech for which I am known and celebrated in my country and all over the world. But finally all is now over and while my countrymen mourn me and immerse my ashes in different rivers in different parts of the country I am free now and in a state of bliss floating among the clouds and reaching the place I hope to find my near and dear ones. I am really longing to meet them I am sure my deeds on earth have adequately reserved my seat in heaven where I hope to find my seniors who undertook the journey before me.

I am passing through clouds which initially had no colour but gradually to my amazement and consternation I see that these clouds are turning into pale yellow and then they have turned saffron . I feel that I am not able to float as fast as I was doing and now I see that these saffron colour is also turning darker and now it has turned grey . An immediate apprehension I am having is that I am not moving in the right direction . But then suddenly the realization occurs to me that I am a mere passenger in this journey and not the driver and I have no control over this journey. Somebody else is in the drivers seat and it occurs to me suddenly that he does not harbour good intentions about me . And then suddenly the clouds turn black and with a jolt I am stopped before a grey wall with yellow lights illuminating the the frame. I am confronted by a equally dark and ferocious looking figure. I am a little afraid now. I ask him as to who he was. Listening to my apparently innocent looking question the figure started laughing. ‘You don’t know me ? I am Yama the god of death and it is I who decide about the fate of the souls of mortals on earth . My fears somehow subsided now. I knew that with the kind of stature I had down there it would not be difficult to answer all the questions this god of death asked and secure my place in heaven . What is in store for me. ? I am sure you do not many questions to ask . Please ask them quickly so that I can move forward.

He smiled and said smuggly .Are you sure you have a place in heaven? I said I have no reason to disbelieve. I am a distinguished public figure with millions of followers ,have an oratory skill which at times moved millions and changed the course of history. Many people are mourning my demise down there. He gave a crooked smile and nodded in disagreement. Here you are judged by your deeds and not by what others think of you and on that yardstick of whatever I have you do not have a very encouraging balance sheet to merit a place in heaven. I was flabbergasted by his utterances and was speechless. Here this God of death was pronouncing a judgement which is completely different from what I had expected. I was crestfallen.I asked him about my balance sheet.

He opened a book and started speaking slowly. You have been a absolutely self centered man. Your occupation has been that of a politicion who has throughout his life played with the emotions of gullible and innocent people with the sole purpose of self glorification. I said it is not my fault . I had skill in my oratory and people liked listening to me and believed in me. But you were insincere to the core in your utterances. You promised them things which you knew all along that you cannot deliver . But still you kept on uttering these throughout your life and you were never remorseful once . I see in my books that many people died and committed henious acts which otherwise they would not have done had you not instigated them to do so. I confronted him to name one. He smiled and said that he had many in his books but pointed to one of my speeches a few months or few days before Babri masjid was demolished in which I was referring to make land flat before anything new could be constructed. I knew that my followers had taken this as a signal for asking them to demolish Babri masjid. What happened afterwards was unfortunate riots in which many lives were lost . But to pin the entire blame on me is not right I said.

I was sure that you would come with this excuse. But is it not true that your utterences had created a buildup and instigated people to commit that act. And were you not aware that your entire action was solely guided by your lust for power whatever the repercussions it may have had on the social harmony of the country. I did not had any reply. Whatever he was saying was absolutely true. He was reading my thoughts at that time and he was not wrong. I could not run away from it as it was precisely the thought I was having when I was making that speech.I was caught now. My conscience warned me at that time but I payed no attention to it as I was in the middle of an adulating crowd who were clapping and chanting my name and I was on seventh sky with nobody to stop me. Never in my dreams I thought that my perfidious thoughts would be cought someday and I would be held accountable for it by someone . This insincerity in thought would place me before Yamaraj and I would not have any answer to it.I would stand an accused here with verdict to be pronounced .

I am sure the reader would have known me by now……

To be continued……

Larson & Toubro – Amazing Wealth Creator.

I am really amazed with the performance of a company in the Engineering and Construction sector in India. I was just curious to know as to how some leading companies in India have performed over a period of say last twenty years or so. I was amazed with some really startling and figures. This company has created wealth 772 times over a period of eighteen years.

Let me enlighten you with the facts. The share price of this company was Rs 15.77 on 30th October 2000. The company declared a bonus of 1:1 on 28th September 2006. Then it again declared a bonus in the ratio of 1:1 on October 2008. Then again the company declared a bonus in the ratio of 1:2 on 11th July 2013 and again a bonus in the ratio of 1:2 on 13th July 2017. Thus effectively your one shares turns into 9 shares over a period of eighteen years. Thus if you had bought 100 shares of L & T on 20th October with an investment of only 15.77×100= 1577 now you have been sitting on 900 shares . The current market price of L& T is Rs.1360. It means you would sitting over a corpus of Rs 1360×900= 1224000 i e . Rs Twelve lakh twenty four thousand . Means your investment of Rs. 1577 would have given a return of about 772 times. This is by all means an exorbitant return on any investment option available be it property or gold or any other instrument. In any case one could not have bought any property with Rs 1577 even in 2000.

To bring this fact into better perspective our investment in 1000 shares worth 15770 in 2000 which I am sure many of us would have been capable of in the year 2000 would have fetched Rs 12240000 i.e. one crore twenty two lakhs today enough to retire peacefully if you are in a normal job earning 1.25 lakh per month today . And if you were slightly well off in year 2000 and had you invested in 10000 shares of L&T i.e. Rs 157700 your investments would have been worth 122400000 i.e. twelve crore twenty four lakhs which is a mind boggling figure for a middle class person. I say this because I see my senior colleagues retiring with a retirement benefits of about 80 to 90 lakhs today if they are in group A of the Civil Services and that too if they have accumulated a significant chunk of this in their GPFs.

However the above calculation misses a point here. This would have happened only if one had not looked back and seen the performance of those investments over this period and would have been very strict about divesting a portion of it for immediate gratification like buying a car or foreign trip which is normal human nature. And irrational as is the nature of most of us we could not have resisted the temptation of immediate gratification .

So all seems to be lost as far as far as timely investment in L&T is concerned?.

Not exactly. Most of us save money and want to leave something for the posterity .It is a normal human nature and I am sure many of us agree that eighteen years is not a very long period. If you are say 52 years of age today and your son or daughter is in the age group of 13 to 20 years which is my case I would recommend that instead of investing in absolutely safe investments like government bonds , GPF, PPF of fixed deposits go for investment in this stock . The company is the largest player in engineering and construction sector and it has an excellent future as India grows and increases it’s infrastructure . A large chunk of all infrastructure projects would be bagged by this company with such an excellent track record. And if the company repeats its performance over the next 18 years as it has done in the past your investments in 100 shares of the company with current market price of Rs 1360 today could multiply to Rs.104992000 ( 1360× 772× 100) i.e. ten crores nintynine lakhs ninty two thousand in Year 2036 which may be a distant future to you as you would have turned 70 by that time and of course if you are alive and kicking but it would certainly not be for your daughter and son who would be 38 and 30 by then.

That kind of inheritance would definitely make their lives a lot easier even if at that time value of Rs would have eroded significantly.Think of the value of goods and services you could have bought with Rs 15700 in year 2000 and the goods and services you can buy today with 12174440 i.e.one crore twentyone lakh seventy four thousand forty.

Think of the value of goods and services which can be bought with Rs 136000 ( investment of 100 shares in L&T) today to what goods and services could be bought in 2016 with Rs 104992000 i.e. Rs Ten crore fortynine lakhs ninty two thousand.

Don’t you want to be remembered by the MRF Dadaji who bequeathed such an inheritance which when it was discovered by his grandson some fifteen years after his demise made each member of his twenty member family richer by 25 crores. Now that is what you as Dadaji would want yourself to be remembered. Isn’t it ?😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

Tears

The issue is something which struck me while I was have having a conversation with one of my very dear friends some days back. One of our colleagues died about a month and half due to heart failure. He was a diabetic and according to my friend did not care much about the disease and took it casually. However this is not about which I am writing today. My friend received the body from Dharmshala where the colleague died. He narrated that when it reached his home what stuck him most that nobody in his home was showing any sign of grief. There were no tears in the eyes of the most near and dear ones . It stuck him so hard that he narrated the story to me when I met him that day. That colleague was an aqaintance of mine as well. He loved his children very much and wanted to give them the best in life as per his abilities. But in reciprocation he was not even getting few tears after his demise. A know this event is an exception as one does not find such things generally . Our close ones and friends do grieve on the demise of their near and dear ones. His situation must have been different. Nobody knows about the relationship he had with members of his family and how one lives behind closed doors . That apart the issue I am talking about the sensitivity or rather the lack of it we are witnessing around us these days. Too much pre occupation with self is creating an atmosphere where all around us just becomes events or happenings. We no longer feel attached emotionally with anyone. No even with those to whom we owe our very existence and daily bread and butter. How has this transformation come ? I can say that this has happened in the course of last twenty thirty years. I can still remember stories my grandfather used to tell me that ones worth in his time was known by the number of persons who accompanied you to the cremation ground and that was considered your net worth which you earned in your lifetime and left. Leaving a footprint however modest was considered worth earning and everybody strived hard to earn it be it a minion or giant.But now I don’t know this pursuit has almost been abandoned. This pursuit I think was a binding force of we human beings as a group and a society and acted as moral force which led people to be sensitive to be good to other fellow beings .Now this has been abandoned fully and the result we see in the superficial relationships we have. Even the closest ones which we claim to be very dear to us.

The days bygone were better I can say with certainty . People were simpler more compassionate more close knit more connected more humane superior human beings. Why one does not shed tears ………these days is worth pondering …….And we as live beings with emotions have to think as to where we are heading…..