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My first experience with Righteousness

It was a hot, windy, dry late morning that year, 11:40 hours, June 26, 1973. As soon as my father parked our Lambretta scooter under a neem tree, another scooter standing ricketically on its lock-knee legs, fell down. I eagerly jumped down from backseat to see what has happened. My father simply placed it upright again, and along with my mother went inside the Punjab National Bank for money (the first bank I came to know after arriving into this world). I stayed back and investigated. The other scooter had a minor petrol spill too. I waited till its owner! A bespectacled man in his late-forties with a beard on his sweaty face, arrived and started his scooter. As soon he tried to fly away, I stopped him by telling him about the leak. He got down to see everything, and looked curiously in my eyes. I narrated him the whole incident and told him that my father is inside the bank, and I will take you along to make you meet him. Inside the bank I escorted and introduced him to my father and sat on a bench to see what happens. My father went out with him explained him something and gave him 2 rupees.

Happy that I was with myself; like a conqueror, I proudly took the front standing part of the scooter and we rode back home, as my mother and father took their seats. During the journey, they were grim and did not talk to each other. I only recollect one thing that my father blurted when we got home: “Saala Harishchandra! hamaare yahaan he paida hona tha” (King Harishchandra, historically known to reign in Treta Yuga is revered for his truthfulness and honesty as ‘King Sage’). Closely watching, I saw tears in his eyes (the only time that I saw them) as he looked at me, then. But he never uttered a word to me. Narrating this with a heavy heart and lot of tears, realizing….his silence actually grilled righteousness into me.

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