A Twist of Fate.

Gopi was the eldest amongst the three siblings. His father had taken to the bottle and due to this habit he lost his job, the house and eventually died early. Gopi’s mother, fed up of her husband’s habits, had taken the other two children and had gone to live with her brothers in the village. Meanwhile, due to some favor of some relative or a well wisher’s foresight, Gopi was able to complete his basic education in a free school run by a British mission. Ever since his father’s death, Gopi was the sole breadwinner of the family.  Since Gopi had some basic primary education and could read and write in English along with a few regional languages, found himself a job in a 5-star hotel as a Bell Hop.  His mission-led education had paid-off and it showed in the way he conducted himself at work. He was always found well-mannered and extremely polite and hence he quickly gained popularity among guests and his superiors’ alike. A few years later he was promoted to a Room Boy.

One day, he was asked to assist a guest into his room and Gopi with his usual charm ushered the English gentleman into his suite. Thanks to his Anglo -Indian education, the guest was pleased with Gopi’s mannerisms and was particularly taken to his impeccable language and charm. After a few days of casual interactions, the Gentleman who was referred to as “The Sahib” took a liking to Gopi. He would have Gopi run a few errands after work hours or just chit-chat with Gopi occasionally enquiring about his family and his background.  The Sahib was a frequent visitor and each time stayed for a fortnight or longer and he would always call upon Gopi for assistance.  It was later known that the gentleman was a British national; a chronic bachelor and he along with his two brothers had invested in oil and struck gold. They were immensely wealthy and with no apparent heir, had formed trusts and gave away much to charities.

One evening, the guest asked Gopi to meet him in his suite after his shift and when he arrived, the Sahib asked him to wait in the room while he would return after a few minutes. Gopi went into the room as instructed as soon as the guest left. What Gopi saw in the room was something he was not prepared for; he saw the bed strewn with bundles and bundles of currency notes of various denominations. Gopi had never seen so much money all his life. There were open brief cases with bundles of money kept on the tables too. Gopi felt dizzy with excitement and fear. One side of him told him to take a few bundles and run away. If he managed to smuggle a bag of money it would make his life. Another side instructed him to just do what he was asked to do. The Sahib had said he will be back in a few moments and Gopi feared he might be caught in the act if he tried to steal any money. Again his conscience got better of him and instructed him to stay put and guard the room. Out of perplexity or fear, Gopi stood rooted to the spot cursing the Sahib in putting him into this dilemma.

The Sahib did not have any particular work at all. After instructing Gopi to wait in the bedroom he just headed to the poolside restaurant and had a laid-back evening with a few drinks. After a leisurely dinner, he lazed by the poolside smoking his usual cigars and having an occasional drink. Sometime in the early hours the Sahib returned to find Gopi rooted to the spot just outside the bedroom door staring at the money and almost dazed out of his wits.

Perhaps it was the Sahib’s way of testing loyalty and faithfulness since he already knew of Gopi’s background and circumstances. A few days later, the Sahib took Gopi under his tutelage and employed him as his personal assistant. In a classic tale of rags to riches, the world changed for Gopi overnight. Over the forthcoming years Gopi became prosperous and the Sahib took care of him like a son. He learnt the tricks and trades of trading from the Sahib of handling finances and documentation pertaining to the business. After a few years, the Sahib retired and settled in the countryside and Gopi returned to his hometown, married and fathered two children and lived a contented life.  When the Sahib passed away, in his Will, the lawyers were instructed that all his wealth was to be donated to various charities and trusts, but a substantial amount was left behind for Gopi.

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