Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Feast

It was time to leave the branch & I had packed up. In came an old man along with a teenager boy. He introduced himself as Samey Singh & said that a part of his land holding has been sold & that he shall be receiving payment of Rs.27 lacs the next day for which he needed help.

Deposits are always welcome 24*7*365 by any banker worth his salt. And so I spent another half an hour with the old man with pleasure. Cash van was organised, Sh Raj Singh cashier & Sh Arora officer were informed about programme. The team was in place.

Next day things went on smoothly. Payment in drafts & cash was collected & brought to the bank. Savings & fixed deposit accounts were opened in the names of daughters, grandchildren & (sighed Samey Singh) sons in law etc as per wishes of Sh Samey Singh.

I then learnt about his family. He had four daughters & ‘regrettably’ no son. All four daughters were married & two of them had two daughters each. Third daughter had two daughters & a son. This son had a handicap of a twisted ankle since birth. Fourth daughter was recently married & had no child as yet.
Samey Singh narrated that he was looking after grandson as his own son & was spending for his schooling, clothing etc. He said that God had been kind to him & blessed with sufficient land & cattle to feed his family & to spare. But he must have committed some sin as Almighty did not favour him with a son. The punishment of Almighty unfortunately continued with his daughters also as two of them again had no son but daughters only. That the daughters could not beget sons was not fair on His part as they were innocents. God should have restricted the punishment to Samey Singh alone he lamented.

Having received Pass Books & FDRs he profusely thanked all & promised to bring in more deposits in case he decided to sell more land. As it is he was under pressure from sons in law for selling remaining land.

After a fortnight Samey Singh came again & I thought more deposit was on its way. But no, he had come with an invitation to attend his function ‘Kaaj’ at his residence on Sunday. I immediately agreed keeping in mind future sale proceeds of land!

On Sunday I took along Sh Arora officer & Sh Raj Singh cashier. On the way cashier informed that ‘Kaaj or Dharam ka Kaaj’ is a feast organised after the death of a senior person. He also suggested that we all give cash individually in envelopes as Shagun or our contribution. This was news to us as we did not know of any death which occurred in the house of Samey Singh. I was not sure if we should attend this function or not. But then we decided to proceed as we were almost near the village.

To our surprise his house was well decorated with flowers & buntings. There was no sign of any death.  Loudspeaker was blaring filmy dance numbers & kids were having gala time. Arrangement for sumptuous lunch was there. Menu included Makki / bajre ki roti, kachori, rice, aloo ki subzi, palak ka sag, gobhi aloo,  chhach, milk & hot jalebis! Drinks were also served discreetly to selected few.

We were photographed & video recorded with Samey Singh. Cashier hinted at handing over Shagun envelopes. But Samey Singh did not accept & asked us to wait. He then called his grandson & asked him to accept our envelopes.
Then he informed in philosophical tone that who knows when he shall die. Also there is no son to bid him last farewell by putting Agni to his mouth on the funeral pyre. This job now shall be performed by his grandson. And who knows the Kaaj or the feast after death may or may not be organised by these sons in law (who are becoming greedier by the day).

That is why this Kaaj was organised by him on lavish scale to commemorate his own death!

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