R.D. Bhardwaj “Noorpuri”
Once, there was a rich man from Delhi. Often he remained too busy taking care of his business and family that he spent a little time in religious activities. He remained so engrossed and pre-occupied with his engagements relating to various aspects of his business that he could hardly find any time for self. One day, he discussed the matter with his manager and informed him that he wanted to take ¾ days’ leave from his business activities and go to Haridwar, relax there to his heart’s contentment, free from all the worries, take bath in the cool waters of the Ganges and then return to Delhi, totally refreshed and re-energized. His manager arranged a taxi for his pilgrimage to Haridwar and also booked a room at a luxurious hotel at Haridwar for making his stay there quite comfortable and enjoyable. As per schedule, the businessman reached the hotel of his stay and decided to relax for there for the rest of day, as he was feeling quite exhausted due to the long journey.
Next day, he went to a temple, paid his obeisance to the deity and then ventured out to river Ganga to have a dip there in the cool and refreshing waters. As there were a lot of people taking bath on both sides of the banks, he moved a little away from the hustle and bustle of so many people. Soon he reached a place where only a few people were having fun and frolics with water and he thought that this place is best suited for him to have a bath with complete peace of mind, free from noise of people frequenting that place. He kept his clothes at a place and started taking bath. After he finished taking bath and returned to the Ghat, he noticed a new man at that place. That man was wearing milk-white dress and his face was radiating with glow, as if that person had no worries, no tension at all, and the businessman thought that this man can provide him the best company and a new scope of befriending such a pleasing personality. Keeping this aspect in his mind, the businessman started talking to him and soon they became friends as if they knew each other since long.
Then, this businessman from Delhi asked the stranger as to where he was staying? The other man with his pleasing personality replied that in fact, he was new to this place and that he had not, so far made any stay arrangement there. Then the businessman told him, “It shall be my privilege if you could come along with me and be my guest in the hotel where I have booked a room, as it is indeed a pleasant place and in the close vicinity of river Ganga.” After a little vacillation, the other man agreed to his proposal to join him and he assured him that he would try to provide him a memorable company. Thus, talking, discussing and cracking jokes etc. they reached their hotel room. They relaxed there on a sofa for some time. As they were feeling hungry, the businessman called for the waiter and told him to serve some delicious food to satisfy their taste buds, to their heart’s contentment. When they were having food, the businessman from Delhi, asked, “Yaar! We have met around two hours ago, made a good friendship, but still I do not exactly know you …… ! By the way, what is your name and what do you do?” Hearing his question, the other man kept enjoying the food and posed as if he had not heard anything. Then the businessman again asked, “Since both of us shall be staying together for the next ¾ days and I shall be your host, it shall better if we know each other. I am a businessman from Delhi; my name is C.P. Arora, what is your good name and what do you do ?” As Mr. Arora was insisting, the other man, replied, “It should have been better if you had not bothered about this question. However, as you have posed this question for the second time, it becomes my duty to satisfy the query of my host, you please hold your breath and take it easy……… My name is Yamraj and my job is to take people’s soul to God, once a person has completed his allotted life-cycle on this earth.”
On hearing this, Mr. Arora, became perplexed as if he was shocked with an electric current and the morsel of half-chewed food remained static in his mouth. For a moment, he lost track of words to continue the conversation. However, after some time, he mustered some courage, and then laughed a bit to overcome his actual state of mind and he again said,” You must be joking, how can Yamraj come to earth like this, and talk to someone as a human being?” But the Yamraj replied, ”Believe me! I am Yamraj from Yampuri and the souls whom I take to Yampuri, are full of appreciation about the good affects of holy river Ganga and that is why, I also thought of coming here and to have a deep dips in the pious waters of this river!” As Mr. Arora was still in the shocked state of mind, felt some relief and he said, “So, you have not come here to take any soul to God!” “Yes! You are right,” Yamraj gave a brief reply. Mr. Arora, had a deep breath and as he was a businessman, he thought of striking a deal with Yamraj. “See Yamraj ji ! As I have already promised, I shall take care of all your needs here, but in return, you shall have to make a small promise to me !” And the Yamraj replied, “Yes ! Of course, you please go ahead. I shall see if I can do something for you!” Mr. Arora, looked around in the room carefully and then said,” Please make a promise that you shall never come to my house to extract my soul ……….” But, Yamraj replied,” It is not possible, please note that the Almighty God allots some specific life-span to each and every individual and when that life-span gets completed, he or she however big or small that person may be, he shall have to proceed for his ultimate journey towards God, for which I am His messenger, to take back your soul to Him. That is the God’s will and method to keep this universe in complete and perfect balance and harmony with nature. Please also note that God’s law is final and no changes or modifications can be made in it. However, you can ask for some other concession! “
Mr. Arora, started brooding for a while and then suddenly said,”Okay! If you cannot accede to my first request, then please make a promise that before coming to take my soul to God, make sure to drop a letter to me, so that I can complete my remaining works required of me by my family.”
Yamraj became a little bit pensive for a while, and then replied,”Okay! I assure you that I will do this favour to you!” Mr. Arora heaved a sigh of relief and he assured himself that even after his death, his no work shall remain pending, and his family shall not have to repent that so many tasks have remained undone. As both of them had finished their food by then, Mr. Arora went to the telephone lying in the one corner of that room to order two cups of steaming coffee. After placing the order, when he moved again to return to his sofa, to his surprise, there was no one else in the room, as Yamraj had in fact, just disappeared from the scene. The door and the windows of that room also remained shut. For a moment, it seemed to him that whatever has happened or transpired between him and Yamraj in that room, a short while ago, was perhaps nothing short an illusion.
After finishing his holidays, at Haridwar, Mr. Arora returned to Delhi. He resumed his normal routine of going to factory, attending his office, attending business meetings, visiting his clients etc. and looking after his house-hold chores which required his service from time to time. Six months had passed since he returned from Haridwar that he again started feeling tired as before. Over work has again started telling upon his health as ever. For the next few months, he felt as if he does not have sufficient energy and got fatigued so soon. His hair had also turned white and his friend, Manmohan advised him to start making use of the hair-dye, as otherwise, he gave the glimpses of an old man. Acting upon his advice, he dyed his hair and felt as if nothing has gone wrong with the time clock of his body mechanism. But his problem did not end there itself. Soon his eye-sight also stared weakening day by day, as many images and pictures just looked blurred to him. His wife, Kamla advised that it is normal with every human being of his age and that he should not worry anything, except consult an eye-specilist. He visited the eye-specialist, who after examining him, advised him to make spectacles to correct his vision and wear those specs regularly. Just a couple of months had passed that he again felt some other problem. He started feeling pain in his teeth and just within a couple of weeks, the severity of pain increased so unbearably that he felt it difficult to chew his food. He shared his problem with his wife again who took him to a dentist. He was quite worried and bamboozled as to what has gone wrong with his health that he faces one problem after another in quick succession. In fact, his health was deteriorating with each passing day. Within a period of next six months, around 50% of his teeth had to be extracted due to pain or cavity in the teeth related problem. Ultimately, the doctor advised him to make a denture so that at least he is able to have his food properly, as without having proper food; it was really difficult to maintain a good health. He was hardly sixty but he was experiencing health problems akin to the age group of 75 plus.
His health was going down and down with each passing day that he hardly overcame one problem and another problem took hold of him. Fever, joint pains, back-ache, numbness in one part of the body became part and parcel of his health. Sometimes, even his wife, Kamla feared as if he was nearing his end. He became so weak that he felt as if he was not left with sufficient strength and energy to discharge his normal duties. He started neglecting business. His sons also did not help him to take care of his business activities and make it flourish as before, and spare their father to take proper rest and regain his lost health. One day, when he was stepping down the stairs from his second floor and coming to the ground floor, suddenly he slipped and broke his thigh bone. He was rushed to the hospital and a rod had to be fixed in his thigh-bone and the doctor advised him to take complete bed-rest for two months. Now he was taking more medicine than chapattis daily and he felt let-down by the extremely nefarious designs of nature, which made him an irritating person. He would soon lose his temper and burst upon any one who–so-ever came before him. He became so helpless that his plight became pitiable.
One night, when he had completed his day’s quota of taking tablets and capsules etc. and tried to sleep, that he felt some chest pain. He wanted to weep loudly, but his voice just remained choked in his throat. Suddenly, a person in milky-white dress appeared before him and he tried to recognize him. Soon he realized that it was the same person who had met him two years when he was enjoying his pilgrimage to Haridwar. It was Yamraj, and on seeing him, Mr. Arora asked him, “How did you come here?” Yamraj told him that he has come to take his soul, as he has completed his life-span on this mortal earth. But Mr. Arora said,”How can you do so, don’t you remember that you have made a promise to me to drop a letter before visiting me for this purpose?” Yamraj replied, “Perhaps you have forgotten that I had sent you not only one, but three letters, but you have ignored all those as you became so engrossed in your worldly affairs!” But Mr. Arora again asked, “I did not receive even a single letter and you are talking about three?” Yamraj again replied,”See Mr. Arora! Firstly, I sent a letter to you when I made your hair white, secondly when I made your eye-sight weak and the last letter was issued to you when you got your denture after losing all your teeth. But, you have failed to read even a single letter……….”
Mr. Arora started thinking seriously as he was under the impression that some postman would come to him bringing letters from Yamraj. As Yamraj understood as to what was going on in his mind, he explained things to him, ”Mr. Arora! God does not send messages through some postman, as you mortals normally do. He sends his correspondence to mankind through some implied messages, and it is your duty to understand His messages and execute His will. He does not hear any excuses for the human lapses and errors of omission and commission. Now that you have already exhausted your time period on this mortal earth, let us now move fast and reach there; otherwise, God shall punish me as well for being late………..!!” Mr. Arora then pleaded to him, “ Sir! I have to find a suitable match for my daughter and marry her off. Please grant some grace period to me to enable me to discharge this honorous duty.” But Yamraj gave a curt reply, “Mr. Arora ! Undue favouritism, appeasement, harassment, fanaticism, avarice, red-tapism, oppression and exploitation etc. are some of the vices which are rampant in Indian society and bureaucracy only, and certainly not in God’s divine affairs !” Mr. Arora remained dumbstruck and flabbergasted.
Saying so, Yamraj took his soul and left for the Yampuri, leaving behind the family of Mr. Arora wailing, crying and lamenting uncontrollably that he has gone leaving behind so many incomplete tasks !!