Nishikanta has a very happy family. He has three sons and two daughters. All are married and they too are leading more or less happy families. Nishikanta has amassed a lot of wealth through his industry and sheer intelligence. He was born with an aptitude on how to amass wealth. He still contributes a lot to the expansion of the monetary and landed property of the joint family. He still works very hard from morning to evening. He is too contented with his own domestic life and the way things are going on. His sons and their daughters in law are doing their best to keep him happy and peaceful. Nishikanta calls his daughters in law and takes them to the shop of the goldsmith and asks the goldsmith to prepare necklaces and earrings of gold of equal amount of gold for every daughter in law. He asks them if they are contented. They all nod their heads in approval. According to his relatives, Nishikanta is a judicious head of the family under whose supervision the family members are passing their days peacefully and comfortably and luxuriously. Nishikanta calls all the family members in the evening and spends time with them in a humorous mood, jeering and joking and yet listening to their demands and longings.

     The other day Nishikanta called his eldest daughter in law, Soma and asked her, “Bouma, tell me if you have any grievances against me in my distribution of money for the upcoming Durga Puja. Do you want a little more from me to buy more clothes?”

     Soma bowed her head down in shame and said, “Father, is there anybody on the earth who can have any grievance against you and your way of treating the family members, let alone me?”

    She stopped for a moment and then added, “Father, the family is built entirely upon your hard work and sense of judgement. Never ask us such silly questions. You are a person who deserves and receives the greatest veneration from every member of the family.”

     Hearing these applauses his heart was filled with unimaginable satisfaction. He tested everybody’s mind by asking almost the same question to every daughter in law but he got almost the same answers from everybody.

     Nishikanta was very poor in his childhood. He saw the cruel oppression of poverty with his own eyes. He still remembers the day when his mother went to the next house to ask for a bowl of rice. His father could not give him the proper education for lack of money. He saw how his parents worked from morning to evening for giving the children only enough food for survival. In fact, those were not the days of luxury and comfort. It was matter of great comfort to get the sufficient food and a covering for the body. They had no shoes to cover their feet. It was towards the end of their lives that Nishikanta’s father could buy him three plots of land.

   From that condition Nishikanta has uplifted his family to this status only by his sheer hard work, his hankering after money. No doubt, luck highly favoured him. He could increase the wealth tenfold he got from his parents by working hard and spending as less money as possible. Till the 1980s the money that he could amass was based on his profit from cultivation. But then a turning came to his life. In the 1980s when a small section of people started buying landed property in the urban areas. He could visualize the rapid expansion of urban areas. So, he bought as many plots of land as he could. His wife Munmun was apprehensive of being ruined from his decision and warned him, “You have three sons and two daughters. How will you grow them up?”

  Nishikanta only said, “Let me take the risks. Either I will be ruined or uplifted to a much greater height you cannot think of.” Munmun said nothing but her bones shivered at the prospect of what was going to happen.

       But the goddess Lakshmi favoured him and Nishikanta’s thoughts were simply turned into a reality. When he bought the lands it cost only rupees three thousand or four thousand but when he sold them after five years or may be ten years, he got back ten times the amount and he focused on buying more and more properties and selling them. Gradually he became the richest person in the village. The villagers could make no head or tail of what he was doing. He went to the nearest town everyday in the week. It was thirteen kilometers away from his village. He went there regularly by his bicycle to save the money of his journey. The villagers could understand nothing about the kind of job he was doing there. In course of time people came to know that he was going to build a large house in the town. People in the village only knew that he was the richest person in the village but they did not know that he was aiming to become one of the ten richest persons in the town. How can they understand? He was still leading his life in the same way, by spending as less as he could on the clothes and comfort and luxury.

     When he reached that state his children had already become grown up men and women. He married off his sons and daughters. He could not educate them properly but he left no stone unturned to make every son financially established. In fact, there was a sudden change in his attitude. He thought, “If the money remains unused what is the necessity of gathering so much wealth?” He allowed every family member to spend as much as necessary, if it is for the genuine good of the family members. Though everything was conducted under his supervision the sons and their wives were free to do what they liked. He became an altogether a different person in case of spending money. He did not believe in the policy of being a miser. He even contributed to social works.

      Suddenly Nishikanta was possessed with a desire to be remembered by the posterity after his death. He perceived that he was going to leave this house and the family he built with his own hands. He wanted to see how the family was feeling his absence after his death. Certainly they will find it unbearable to bear the loss of him. He said to himself, “They will lament for me till they die!” The more he thought of these, the more he cried within. He only prayed to God, “Oh God, you have given me so much that if my sons and grandsons do nothing for the whole of their life, they will never face any dearth. I know that only dearth they will face will be the dearth of my existence. You see to it that they can endure the pain to live their full life!”

    After a few days, Nishikanta woke up from his sleep and found that he was in heaven. He asked Yamraj, “Who are you? Where am I”

The Yamraj replied, “I am the Yam raj. Now you are in heaven. You left the earth ten days ago. Generally it takes nine to eleven days for a soul to reach here. You were worried that your family members could not bear the loss of you. Now see from heaven how they are crying for you?”

 He then reminded him, “As you have worked hard your entire life and towards the end you did some good jobs for the fellow human beings, so God decided to give you only one chance to have a look at them.”

      Nishikanta got one chance to look at the earth to his family members by the grace of God. He was eager to look at the faces of his near and dear ones. He saw that there was no sorrow in the family even after such a short span of time after his death. All were quarrelling for the best part of their shares of the enormous wealth their father had had accumulated. Nishikanta got an unimaginable satisfaction.

September 04, 2020 15:48

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