“Sir, it’s almost one o’clock. Time to close the bar. Everyone has left… come sir, let me help you.” Yunus, the bartender, tried to hold the elbow of a drunk, handsome and well dressed middle aged man to sportively usher him towards the door.
“Stop showing me pity! You ignoble, haggling creeps! All of you… you fools! You think I’m a loser!” The man was fighting hard to stand still. In a fit, he drew out his wallet from his coat pocket and threw a few hundreds towards Yunus. Then turning around and cursing the whole world, he stumbled out through the doorway.
This was not new for Yunus. Each and everyday well dressed couples come together, hand in hand, and then, after a couple of drinks most of them start arguing and end up with fighting with each other. Alcohol makes people indiscriminate and irrational. Yunus often considers this as an act of true secularism, irrespective of any class or creed. The same things happen every night, at his own home when his elder brother Yusuf fights with his wife Runa bhabhi after drinking cheap liquor.
Yunus smiled to himself as he bent down to collect the thrown money. This handsome looking so called gentleman and the pretty lady with him, might be his wife or his girl friend or…whatever it might be doesn’t really differ much compared to Yusuf.
Yunus is much more sensible. He works hard from early morning till late night to look after his ailing father and the education of his younger sister, Suhana and the motherless niece Sana. His mother has to work hard too as a cook in several houses, to maintain the family needs and which is quite a tiring job at this age. Yunus is determined to relieve her from these odd jobs as soon as possible. Only a miracle could do him a favour.
And the miracle happened. As Yunus was picking up those hundred rupees notes he noticed a black leather wallet underneath the seat. He picked it up. All the other staff members were discussing account matters with their boss at the other end. Nobody noticed him. Yunus thought for a moment. The first notion that came automatically in his mind was to submit the lost article to his boss, and get free of any further responsibilities. Then suddenly his heart skipped a beat. Why don’t he try his luck with this wallet. He was also curious to check the inside story of a rich man’s wallet for which they boast so much.
Late that night, when everyone was sleeping, Yunus cautiously opened the wallet in his room. In the dim light he saw a large amount of cash as well as quite a few cash cards. His eyes glittered. Yunus has never seen such a treasure that can quench their poverty. But his senses told him to search for more.
Yunus unloaded each and every bit of the wallet. He found the owner’s designation card with his name and phone number. Mr. Rajat Mehta, the chief executive of a multinational company. There were some official bills and vouchers, but the others were mostly medicine bills and prescriptions. Someone must be seriously ill in his home. As Yunus was slowly loading the contents back into the wallet, an unnoticed pink bill came to his hand. This bill was something different and a bit tattered. It was a jewellery bill worth Rupees one lakh fifty thousand and was paid partly with a due balance of twenty thousand. The delivery date lapsed three months back.
Next day Yunus took an off from his duty. First of all in the morning he phoned Mr. Mehta’s office and asked for his home address, describing himself as an old school friend. Within two hours Yunus was standing outside the Mehta Mansion, which glowed like a palace with a grand garden in-front. Yunus knew that it was impossible for him to get inside, so he started baffling with the watchman while inspecting the surroundings.
“What makes you come here boy!” the watchman looked at Yunus with suspicion.
“Oh, I was just looking for a job. Maybe someone needs a driver here?” Yunus asked innocently.
“No need. There are already two drivers for the Master and one for Madam.”
“Oh, I see you have a beautiful garden inside. I can also do the job of a gardener instead,” Yunus was desperate.
“What’s in your mind, boy? I doubt you are upto some mischief! So you better leave or I’ll call….”
“Madhav! Whom are you yelling at so loudly?” A lady wearing a white satin gown came rolling in a wheel chair into the balcony.
The very first glimpse of her made Yunus wonder as if she was a white Goddess amidst a heavenly garden full of white flowers…rose, lily, jasmine, dahlia. Her face was also as pale as the white petals.
“Madam, I just wanted to return…” Yunus tried his best to explain.
“Oh, shut up and go, will you? Don’t you ever try to disturb our Madam. She is already very sick for over an year.”
“Okay, as you wish! Then it’s your duty to return this to your Master, without any explanation!” Yunus gave the black wallet to the watchman and left.
So this was the reason behind the great tycoon, Mr Mehta spending his pastime with various ladies in the restros ending up getting over drunk, Yunus thought with a disgust. What a selfish and insensitive man who doesn’t even remember to gift his sick wife on some special day!
Yunus was happy that he managed to restore the jewellery bill and its due amount from the wallet before returning it. His next destination was obviously the jewellery shop. He produced the bill at the counter and paid the due amount requesting the owner to deliver the gift at the Mehta Mansion. As Yunus was passing by the shop, he came across a florist joint with various species of bouquets. Yunus chose a bouquet of white orchids with a tint of pink in some of them.
“Five hundred, sir.”
Yunus searched for the perks he got last night and paid for the flowers. “Send it in the name of Mrs. Mehta with a small messege, ‘ Get well soon’, at this address.” Yunus gave the address to the florist.
“What will be the sender’s name, sir?” the florist asked.
Yunus walked away, laughing at himself . Again, as usual, his compassion overpowered his fortune. “Okay, never mind! There’s always a better luck next time,” Yunus consoled himself and tried to boost up his feelings. He never imagined that the ‘next time’ would come so fast.
… to be continued