In High Spirits

Raja was a simpleton who used to laze all day. Once in a while, he ended up doing odd jobs for anyone who needed his services. He plucked coconuts or mangoes from trees, tilled the garden or cleaned the clogged gutters. In his own capacity, Raja was a jack-of-all-trades; He did anything and everything for a modest amount. All he needed was some money to buy some liquor. To meet the household expenses, his wife reared a few goats and she would sell one of them from time to time and these would fetch her handsome price. Most of the days Raja was drunk, one rarely found him sober but he did all the odd jobs perfectly.

One day, when Raja was loitering about, he noticed a car parked beside the road. A young woman who got off the car was talking to her dog. He was fascinated about the way the woman spoke and the dog obeyed her commands. His own wife and children didn’t pay the slightest of attention to him at all. After a while she opened the door and the dog got into the car and they sped off into a cloud of dust. Initially Raja doubled up with laughter, it seemed rather funny for a woman to drive the dog around.  But later Raja thought it was a wonderful idea but then, considering none of the dogs seemed to like him, every now and then, he would take his one of the goats for an evening stroll. Holding one end of the rope, he dragged the animal and had lengthy conversations with the goat. He sometimes tied the goat to his bicycle and pedaled around with the unwilling goat trotting along.

One evening, Raja had a little more liquor than he could hold. He was quite drunk and couldn’t walk, and he somehow managed to hold on to his bicycle for support and staggered back home. Half way through, he had to cross a paddy field filled with slush and muddy water due to torrential rains. As he was walking along the narrow path, he lost control and fell into the field, cycle and all. Falling into gutters or pavements was nothing new to Raja, he did that most of the days, but it was usually dry and he would sleep there till he was sober enough to get up and walk back home. But here, it was slushy and he found it most uncomfortable. Though he wanted to get up he couldn’t. It was impossible to just lie there in the water and he struggled to get up. After a few attempts he gave up and looked around for support and saw his bicycle lying a few feet away. He was immensely pleased at the sight of the bicycle that had also fallen along with him.

After a while, some farmers passing by found him in the field and they helped him up. They found him there, even though it was dark, because they heard him abusing the bicycle for being disobedient and not coming to his aid when he deserved it the most. He was heard calling it an “ungrateful wretch”, because every time the bicycle fell, he lifted it up and when he fell down, the bicycle didn’t show any gratitude.

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