Reap What You Sow
Rameena lived with her four sons in a village. She was happy with her family. Her family was a middle income group household. Rameena spent most of the family’s income on the education of her children. The father also loved the kids. One day, the father fell sick. Doctors and local vaids could not bring him back to health. And he died.
The widow, Rameena brought up the kids. When they grew up they wanted to go to the city. One by one they left and settled down in the city. There they got married.
Rameena had grown old. She was courageously carrying on the life living alone. She made both ends meet by doing sewing and knitting jobs. One day, she was cooking rice in milk in the kitchen. It was on the stove for a long time. She felt tired and lied down on the cot outside the kitchen.
Rameena fell asleep as she was very tired. She was living in a one room house. Her own house had been sold long ago. The sons never cared to help their old mother.
They never sent any money to her. Infact the sons had forgotten about their home village and the mother. They had gone to bad ways.
The four had turned thieves and they operated as a gang. Their families lived on the earnings of the crimes.
The brothers had become very expert thieves. They never got caught. Once they robbed a jewellery shop and became rich.
But the thieves had no other skill. They lived solely on that stolen money. The money was running out fast. It had become necessary for them to do another stealing before long.
One day, they set out from their homes in the evening to plan a theft. They met a Youngman. He urged, ‘Where do you go? Take me along please.”
The thieves refused. But the Youngman begged them to accept his request. He said, “At least tell me where you are four going?’
An irritated thief growled, “To steal…Want to come?’
“Yes sir, I will do anything. I have not eaten for the last five days. I will obey your orders. I won’t ask for my share even.”
The thief brothers softened. They were getting a free helper who was ready to help in stealing without asking for his share. The thieves included him in their gang. The eldest thief instructed, “It is your first stealing. Don’t do anything stupid.’
The Youngman accompanied the thieves. They looked for a house to break in. Everywhere they found someone awake in the house. Suddenly, they found a house where the door was open. They sneaked in. They cleaned up everything and collected the items in a bed sheet. The house had no valuables. They grabbed whatever they could lay their hands on.
One of the thieves peeped into the kitchen. Sweet milk-rice was cooking on the stove. The thieves deeded to enjoy the sweet dish before departing.
The five were busy eating the sweet rice. Suddenly, they spotted an old woman lying on a cot outside.
The thieves didn’t recognise their mother who had grown very old over the years.
The young thief said, ‘Brothers! Look, the old woman sleeps with her palms open. Is she asking for some sweet milk-nice?”
One of the old thieves laughed, “Ha! She was cooking this sweet dish for herself. She will have nothing if we ate all of it.”
The Youngman got up and poured a spoonful of hot dish on the open palm of the old woman. The old woman woke up crying. ‘AEEEE….MM my hand is burnt! Help’
The thieves ran and hid in the different corners of the kitchen. The cries of Rameena brought the neighbours rushing to the spot. Rameena was not fully awake. A neighbour asked, ‘What happened mother?’
Rameena said, “I don’t know what happened. I was sleeping. From where the sweet rice came on my palm only God knows.”
The thieves hiding in the comers were frightened of getting discovered. The new thief, the Youngman had managed to climb on the roof. By chance his name was Gaud. He thought that the old woman was talking of him. To save himself he said loudly. ’Why should I know? The one in the toilet knows about it.”
The thief who hid in the toilet got scared of getting caught. So, he announced, “I don’t know. The one under the cot at left corner knows. It worried the thief who was hiding under the cot. He called out, ‘No…The one who is in the drum in the right comer knows about it.”
Rameena and her neighbours were puzzled at those voices. They raided all those places and all the five thieves were nabbed.
They were sent to jail. The police discovered that out of the five thieves, four were Rameena’s own sons. They begged for mercy. But Rameena said, “For worthless sons my heart won’t weep. As you sow so shall you reap.”