The Lost Locket
Rajan was a Rich Gold Merchant, he had a big shop in the Gold Market Street of Chennai in Tamilnadu. He was a miserly and selfish merchant who enjoyed his loneliness and accumulating wealth, he never lived his life in luxury, according to him living an extravagant life was a foolish man’s paradise.
Rajan’s father was a peasant and he lived a life of hardship and struggle but in spite of all difficulties he always had a smile to share with his family. When Rajan was 17 both his parents died of bad health, Rajan was left with his widowed Grandmother, Circumstances forced him to take up a job at A Gold Merchant Alwars shop
Very quickly Rajan learnt the tricks of the trade.
Rajan learnt about the cost, value and designing of Gold Ornaments, Every pie he earned he tried to save he ate miserly he wore old clothes he never spent on any luxury , gradually he managed to open a shop of his own, he designed latest and the best models but never compromised on the cost, soon he became rich but still lived in his ancestral home, he never spent money on anything except basic necessities, he lived like a pauper eating only two square meals daily that too mostly broth, He often chided his Grandma every time she made any delicacy for him and threatened to send her to an old home if she wasted money on unnecessary things.
His Grandma pitied him every time she saw him gulp down the bland broth, his lean form and worn out clothes made her sad and she wondered when he would realize what he was missing out in life.
One evening his Grandma took Ill she called him by her side and said, ” My Dear boy I wish to tell you something.” She opened a box removed a chain and a picture from it, It was a picture of Grandma with the chain around her neck the chain had a big diamond studded heart shaped locket on it. Grandma handed the chain and picture to Rajan and said, ” Son ,this locket was sold to Alwar for the need of money by your father ,now I want you to buy it back because I feel it will be your source of happiness so go son find your happiness and let me rest in peace.”
The next day Grandma passed away after one week of mourning Rajan went to meet Alwar he wasn’t at his shop so he went to his house but found that Alwar was ill in his bed , his daughter was pressing his head and the old man seemed so much at peace, when his son came in with his medicines ,with great care he woke his dad and carefully gave him his medicines , Alwar gave his son an affectionate smile and said ” thank you ,son ” then he observed Rajan in a distance ,” Come in Rajan , I’m sorry to hear about your Grandma , sit down son, what can I do for you?”
Rajan looked ashamed recollecting how he had suddenly left his job at Alwar shop ,and he had not even invited him to his shop opening , with bent eyes he said “Uncle , my Grandma told me that you bought a locket from dad I would like to buy that back, and I hope you’ll be just in deciding the price”
Alwar looked at Rajan with pity and said ” Son, have I ever been unjust to you, it was you who left us not we, well that’s over now, I’m sorry but I sold that locket to Subramanian a few years ago.” Lee disappointed rose and left in search of Subramanian house, Subramanian was another Gold Merchant, when Rajan reached Subramanian shop he found Subramanian and his wife laughing over a joke sitting together.
they both seemed so happy together in each other’s company ,eyes filled with love as they spoke with bright smiles .Rajan with an envious frown blurted out,” Excuse me Sir ,Sorry to disturb you can I have a minute to ask you something” Subramanian Surprised to see Rajan ,who never visited him , he being a small time merchant said, ” Oh! Rajan what an unexpected surprise, what can this profitless merchant do for you?”
Rajan angrily retorted ” Looking at your dedication now I, understand why you are a profitless merchant, well that’s your problem , I’ve come for this locket , Alwar sold it to you, I’ll buy it but the price should be reasonable” Subramanian replied ” I’m sorry I bought the locket in good days but again sold it to Swamy the young Gold Merchant in the next lane.
“An irritable Rajan walked away to Swamy’s shop , Swamy was sitting behind his work table and designing an ornament, just then his mother entered with a bowl of steamed vegetables and a plate of piping hot rice ,the vegetables were delicately tossed with spices ,the aroma tickled Rajan’s nostrils and the dish looked tantalizing.
Swamy’s mother affectionately called her son ” Son here’s your lunch, please eat it while it’s hot I’ve specially made it for you dear” Swamy excitedly looked at his mom and said” Oh! Mom, you’re the best can you feed me, ? as I’ve got to deliver this ornament by evening”, very affectionately his mom fed spoonful of food which he ate with great relish , suddenly his gaze fell on Rajan ,
He stood up and walked towards Rajan and said, ” Oh! Hello sir, it’s such a pleasure to meet you, I really adore your designs and you’re an inspiration to me” Rajan cut him short with his blunt reply “Oh! Stop all this crap and let’s get to business you bought this locket; Now I want it how much will you sell it for?”
Swamy’s mother who was listening to the conversation snapped back at Rajan’s response ” How! Rude you are , don’t you know how to speak to others, you miserable man, I’ve heard of your miserly nature but feel that you are not only a miser but a pauper too, when it comes to feelings and relations , and My son who is a king by heart doesn’t need a paupers money,”
she turned to Swamy ” Son! Throw that locket on his face he is too poor to pay us.” She turned towards Rajan with an angry look and said ” Rajan, I’m sorry to say you are the poorest man according to me because you have not inherited the wealth of kindness and mercy from your parents , when you realize what true wealth is ,then come back to pay us.”
Rajan clasped the locket in his hand and with a bent head walked home, as he tread towards his house all the visions he had seen through the day revolved in his mind , The caring son, the loving couple and the doting mother, varied questions rose in his mind , emotions surged in his heart, it became heavy, he opened the door of his house and entered the dark rooms.
He saw the darkness enclosing him the deadly silence seemed to remind him of his loneliness he looked into the mirror he tried to smile but only tears rolled down He longed for a warm hand to press his pulsating brow ,he yearned for someone to laugh with ,his heart urged for a morsel of warm food fed by a caring hand, he sat at his work table in the dim light he looked at the locket , which could be opened.
He opened it within it he found a folded photo which he unfolded to discover a picture of a happy family, his family Grandpa, Grandma, His Dad, his Mom and of course himself little and small, all looked so happy together even in their difficult situation. Tears rolled down his eyes , he realized what the wealth was that he didn’t have ,the wealth of a family love and care, so many times Grandma tried to talk to him but he was always too busy to listen to her now she wasn’t there to listen to him he realized the happiness which his Grandma wanted him to find was A Family, he burst out in agony” I’m a loner, a pauper of emotions and relations”.
Suddenly a ray of light entered the dark room ,it was Alwar’s daughter Malini ” Rajan are you there?” She walked in with a tray which had a bowl of steamed vegetables tossed with spices and a plate of piping hot rice covered with a transparent cloth . She saw Rajan all crouched up with tears in his eyes in a distraught condition, Malini anxiously ran towards him, slowly sat next to him pressed her hand on his throbbing brow and very affectionately asked ” Rajan.
I know you don’t like anyone disturbing you, but I couldn’t control myself, every afternoon I would spend time with Grandma and share my feelings about you with her, Rajan, I’ve been in love with you since the day you started work with my dad, but your frown and unfriendly nature always kept me aloof but now when I saw you return home looking so depressed,
I realized you needed someone , I don’t know Rajan I felt like Grandma was whispering in the wind and trying to tell me to be there for you , she often told me you liked steamed vegetables and rice in your childhood , I don’t know why but I felt that Grandma wanted me to give you this, you won’t believe me but just an hour ago it was as if her soul was urging me to come to you, please Rajan eat this for Grandma’s sake,”
Gazing into her eyes Rajan opened his mouth a delighted Malini fed him the entire food and he ate with great relish, Malini rose to leave, Rajan clasped her hand stood up in front of her and hugged her and cried his heart out” Malini I love you , you are the wealth I had to find , you are the happiness my Grandma asked me to seek, let us get married ,
I promise I will never leave you, you have brought light into my dark and lonely life, now I understand what Grandma meant when she said search for your happiness,” He quickly fastened the locket on the chain and put it around Malini’s neck. “Come let’s meet your dad.”
Wedding bells were heard soon and Rajan became the richest man again not in the sense of money though, he repaid for the locket by personally inviting Swamy and family to his wedding with a million-dollar Smile.
We all search for happiness in material assets, but real happiness lies in family ties and relations; Don’t you agree