One word is always there that has the power to control the lives of people. In fact every word has two most common faces: the one that is positive and other isn't liked by anyone, i.e., the negative aspect. I'm talking of the most common word- INTEREST.
Almost every person speaks this word daily and knows its meanings those are positive as well as negative. They pursue the word either in compulsion or competition.
A person looking for good future creates interest in his field of interest. This leads him to the brightest waiting world of future. It would not be wrong to call it the positive aspect of concerned word.
Moreover, the same word has the other side, the negative one, if the same person is interested in destructive version of life whether in compulsion or deliberately.
This negative version of the word Interest
gives benefits to one person while it has the power to ruin the happiness of other.
A common example is shown in this short tragic story that represents some of the problems faced by middle class families of India.
At the day end, Madanlal was lying over his bed. Mostly at that hour of night, people prefer to surrender themselves to the world of dreams but the complications were not allowing him to rest. His little brain was full of thoughts.
He was a resident of a local colony of Delhi which wasn’t so developed. He owned a middle class family with his single wife and an alternate pair of young children who had crossed their teen ages. Working in a private firm as a clerk he was able to feed them within his small salary of twelve thousand. He had been working there for quite a long time, might be about thirty years. Many times over this duration, he had insisted his boss to make an increment in his salary but found the result none. Mostly, he was ignored with the words, "Madanji, you are about to retire, what good is there in increment."
And Madanlal had to keep quiet for next. He could remember when he joined the company just for rupees five hundred, thirty years ago. During this part of his total life span he devoted to his job and he found minor increments now and then after persistent request.
However the ever-changing time was unfolding very new pages of his life. He had been aware of those pages for a long time but could not save anything. He had grown old and four months later, his daughter would be married. That pretty small girl had also grown up. Being a father, he was worried about many things; therefore, sleep was far away from his eyes. Also lying on the bed, he was regretting for the instant when he told his wife that he had only five lakhs to make arrangements for daughter’s marriage. His wife was surely not glad at this. She had a mind that this money was not enough and more two lakhs were needed to perform the ceremony in a grand way.
These five lakhs were the results of saving pennies throughout his life and such advices of wife always irritated him.
"Where from I arrange two lakhs now? I know the marriage will be splendidly accomplished within the available sum," said he.
"You say you know but I know you know nothing. In fact, the money you have is nothing," she taunted him.
"So what do you want? Should I sell me in the mart?" He started boiling with annoyance saying these words.
"Who will be going to buy you? Why don't you use your contacts? You have a prestige in your company," she argued.
Madanlal could understand what she was pointing at.
"No, sorry, my prestige is not for sell," he denied.
"I'm not saying to sell you prestige, I'm talking of," suggested she, "I mean borrow some money from any of your friends or colleagues."
"You know Shanti, sometimes you talk so superfluously that I suppose to kill you, stop the matter now lest I should make true my suppositions."
"I'm talking superfluous!? What rubbish, I'm saying the words which will help you save your pride in your daughter's marriage, else everyone would be there mocking you.”
"Why don't you understand, I'm not ready for debts. You know my retirement is very near. How would we pay that," he paused a while for breath, "You should think that we've not only our daughter's marriage but our own lives those are moving gradually towards the troublesome old age, and, we have a son yet to be engaged."
In this way, their discussion or finely saying "Quarrel" went on late into night.
It's a common hearsay that it is damn hard to win a lady in arguments. The same happened with Madanlal. He had to agree with his better-half.
"Okay, if you want this, I'll try my best," he said and moved to his bed.
He kept thinking all that happened that night and tried to reach a conclusion from his conscience, and finally in the third quarter of night, he could not know when he fell asleep.
The next morning, he remained silent whereas his wife kept talking of various matters. He knew that he would be able to find a better way than a hard load of debts.
All his way to office, his thoughts became firm on a decision what he reached as a result of his contemplation.
He entered his office and while moving to his desk, his steps refused to go on. He looked at the accountant and in a minute he found himself standing before him with a hope.
"Good morning, Gupta ji," he said formally.
"Oh Madan ji, I've made your salary for this month. Please receive this in the evening while leaving for home. Don't forget," replied he and again engaged with his work.
"Gupta ji, I need to talk," he muttered.
"Sure, reveal your heart with no hesitation, what can I help you?"
"Well, I don't know exactly what I've decided is right or not. But, I am in need."
Madanlal was definitely in dilemma where to start from. He shirked his eyes. Accountant Gupta discontinued his task and leaned forward to pay attention.
"Please, do me the favor of reckoning, how much is there in my company fund?" He said in a breath.
Understanding the meaning of the words, Gupta felt himself shocked.
"Madan ji, is that meant for, you’re thinking of resigning. I think this is a bad decision indeed. After all, how many years are left in your retirement," he tried to convince.
"I know but, I can't explain." Madanlal felt embarrassed.
"Madan ji, is it the need of money for your daughter’s marriage for what you've come up on this."
Madanlal could not utter a word. But probably, he would have been thinking that only money is the overall happiness of one's life and family. His silence was enough for Gupta to understand his problem.
"Why don't you borrow from someone, Madan ji. It should prove a good way without the loss of your job," he suggested.
"No Gupta ji, borrowing money is worse than begging, and I won’t let my daughter marry on the terms of mendicant money."
And he strode to his desk. Accountant Gupta saw him go helplessly. He could not do anything for him.
Madanlal had thought that he must have saved near about the sum he needed in his company fund. And by resigning he would get enough without having any load of debt or interest. If this would happen, he had nothing to worry about.
But his luck mocked at him. He hardly collected eighty thousands. So, there was no sapience, leaving the job.
With a mind full of tensions, he entered the home in the evening where his lady was keenly waiting for him.
"What happened? Have you arranged?" She posed a question at his very first step.
"I could not today, but very soon..."
"I knew," she interrupted, "that's why I made it myself."
He stared at her questioningly.
"I've talked to a man, who lends money with a minimal interest of ten percent. After some basic formalities we can get it."
"Ten percent," he dazed, "goddamn! Rather, it's better to apply loan from a bank. The interest rates are lower than this."
"Huh, banks delay, your daughter will never be married."
"Shanti, don't you think you're making very quick decisions. When only five lakhs are sufficient, why borrowing much. You should think it another time."
"Have you estimated what the interest of ten percent stands for? It means twenty thousand a month if we take two lakhs and you better know that my salary is no more than twelve thousand bucks. No match with the monthly interest even lest it should become a dream just to pay the principal," he tried his last to change her mind. But failed to clear the mist of flaunt that covered her eyes.
She further excused, "I've talked to our son, he says that he has completed his graduation and these days, call centers pay high for night shifts. And what about me, I'm getting fat with no work at home, I know sewing, I've decided to assign myself to earn through my talent."
Madanlal had no rebuttal for her arguments as always. He knew very well, his mother, his wife or more commonly, every lady of the material or heaven world, possessed the inner wisdom of making ways out of nowhere. Sometimes, it worked and sometimes, it might fail.
"Fine, as you say," he dimly said and moved to his bed to get rid of all stress.
"Have a dinner."
"Nah, I'm badly tired, need a sleep."
He laid on his bed which he felt, had grown thorns. His wife had found a way, complicated than her own company. How could they pay such extreme debt?
India has made its way to progress and stands amongst top listed countries. Nonetheless, the condition of middle class families is not very well. These families hardly save a penny at the end of month after paying their utility bills, monthly ration and expenses of their children.
In spite of this, Madanlal had somehow managed to mount a great balance of five lakhs from his small salary including late night overtimes throughout a long duration of thirty years. Whereas, his wife merely saved anything, despite of the statement popular among generations- ladies save.
He was thinking of the situation deeply, which had completely inverted. Ladies were at the front in every field with their most powerful weapon of beauty than talent but they lacked the notion of saving.
Well, leaving the life on fate, Madanlal set out to the world of imagination.
Four months passed very soon, borrow was taken and the marriage was successfully accomplished. The borrower undertook the papers of house on the name of security. The monthly instalment was set as thirty thousands with a condition that in case there would be a gap in instalment for a period of three months, their house would be auctioned.
However, it was with a relief that the instalments were to be given from after two months of marriage. These two months winged soon.
Their son had got a job with a monthly salary of twenty five thousand. This lessened their vexation a lot. In addition to this, Shanti was producing a monthly sum of five thousand from her sewing machine id est. their monthly income was somewhere around forty two.
The time of first instalment had come and it was paid from the savings that Madanlal and his wife added in the past two months betwixt the marriage and the time held.
They did not bother their son for the first instalment. Instead, they only asked him if he was saving money or not. He nodded affirmatively.
The time of the second instalment came. They had only money equal to half of the instalment. The rest of the money they decided to ask from their son who might have saved an amount of around forty thousand in the past three months, according to them. A father felt it humiliating to go to his son asking for money. So, it was the mother who went to him.
"You know my son, we'd borrowed a money of two lakhs for your sister's wedding," prattled she.
"Yes Ma, I know," he said while playing with his mobile phone.
"The second instalment is to be given, but we have a short of money."
"You give us."
"About fifteen thousands."
And then, Rohit behaved as though he felt a shock.
"Are you gone mad, ma. I don't have that money."
"But you earned that?"
"What, you spent," she dazed, "instead of knowing that we have to pay to someone."
"Ma, that's my salary and it’s my life. You've nothing to do with these. If you need two or three thousand, then I can arrange, else not," he recklessly said.
It was the time Shanti sensed like lightning struck on her.
"No need," she said, "You keep."
And she turned back to go out of the room. As she faced her husband, tears came naturally from her eyes. Madanlal read everything in her tears. He bosomed her to his chest.
"You don't worry, I'll arrange somehow," he said and set out from home saying that he might be late in night returning home. Shanti was standing behind, wiping her tears, looking him go.
The load of life a father has on his shoulders is heavier. People, often, ignore that and all the credit goes to the mother. That's why, philosophers say, it is not easy to be a father. He has only learnt to give without the hope of get. A father does hard word from the sun rise to set, so that, keeps happy his wife and children. When he comes back from work, only an innocent laughter of his children is enough to give him relax of nine hour sleep. A father does hard work to give his family a better life. He works his whole life to make life of his children. It's true, it is not easier to be a father.
And the father, who does not do all things given above, is only a man. The man, who has no existence after his life. Whereas, a father always remains alive, in the names of his children, in the form of memories and in the form of blessings for his descendents.
Darkness fell all around; the needles of clock were doing their work, unaware of what was happening in human lives. When the needles swung to twelve 'O', an anxiety overcame the thoughts of Shanti. Her husband was still not at home. Her son had already gone to his job. The silence of home was making her irritated. She tried to dial his husband, but the effort went in vain.
She could not know when she slept, waiting for him.
At three 'O' clock in the morning; she woke up because of a knock on the door. She, impatiently, opened the door to allow the person in, she was hoping for his husband, but to her dismay, it was her son.
"Rohit, your father has not come."
"He will come, ma. Now let me sleep."
He rushed to his room.
Filled with desperation, she stared at the road unblinkingly for some time. And then, leaving the door opened, she sat on the chair right in front of main door. Sitting over the chair, gazing at the road, sleep again captured her body.
The morning rays touched her feet coming from the opened door, as intimating her of the sun rise. And she woke up. She, immediately, entered his husband's room to see if he was there sleeping, but his bed was cold. Anxiety invaded her thoughts again.
Truly, for a woman, the precious thing in the world is only her husband.
Before she could come upon any decision, she heard someone calling from outside. She strode towards the doorway.
A police constable was standing there asking, "Is this the house of Mr. Madanlal?"
"Uh, yes, I'm his wife," she told with questioning eyes as if trying to get the matter.
"I'm really sorry to say ma'am, but he died last night, when some robbers hit him in the head to get the money he was having. He had the identity card of his office through which we could find your home. As office was closed in the night, so we could not inform you at the time."
Hearing these words, Shanti lost her consciousness. The constable helped her to stand; otherwise, she would have fallen to the ground.
He further continued, "The dead body of your husband, you can get it from Jairam Hospital."
Till then, Rohit had awoken and heard this news. Tears were streaming from his eyes, but the eyes of his mother had almost turned stony.
Two days after,
"Mrs. Madanlal, I'm Sohan Gupta, the accountant of the company which Madan ji served through his life. I'm here to grant you this check of rupees one lakh. This includes the money which was saved in your husband's company fund account and the rest twenty, our company has announced as a tribute to his services."
Shanti was silently hearing him. He handed the check into her hand and continued his words, "He was a good friend of mine. So, I thought it as my duty to care for his family after him. The government pays a compensation of around two lakhs on accidental deaths. I've made all the arrangements; only after your signature you will get the sum into your bank account within two or three months. Furthermore, I've also arranged for your widow pension."
Shanti was silently looking into his eyes with obligation, and perhaps thinking that the life was loosing its weight before money.