Continued from “A Day to Remember”
Chapter 10, Book Two – ‘Dharma and Moksha’ of Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life
As if in appreciation of Suresh's anticipation, the Captain soon released the landing gear over Palam. Once out, they got into the waiting Ambassador. On the way to Defense Colony, Vidya was dazzled by the glitter of New Delhi in the neon lighting. In time, they reached their Misty Nest with their dreams of making it their sweet home. And as the guard on duty threw the gates wide open in warm welcome, she readily stepped out into the portico, only to be mystified by the sight of her home in the making.
“Isn’t it too big for two of us?” she said in awe.
“Are we not young enough to add on more?” he said leading her in.
“Jokes apart, why not we live in a smaller place?” she said as though she were pleading to be saved. “Looks like I might feel out of place here.”
“I think no place is big enough to hold your large heart,” he said adoringly.
“Your love gives me a sense of purpose,” she said feeling grateful. “I’ll try to live up to your esteem.”
“You know it’s not the size of the house but the sense of the residents that ensures the quality of life,” he said to address her apprehensions. “The art of living is about making the house brim with fulfilled feeling. It’s in the largeness of this place that we must see an opportunity to enlarge the scope of our activities. Why not seek a higher fulfillment in this huge setting?”
“Oh, how true,” she said excitedly. “I would love to house a kuchipudi academy here.”
“Why not,” he said with a smile, “but charity begins at home, doesn’t it?”
“Oh, show me the kitchen.”
“I thought you would keep your promise,” he said winking at her.
“Name the dish,” she said seeking the kitchen, “and it would be served as promised.”
“We’ve a cook anyway for that,” he said pushing her into his room.
“Isn't it said that the path to man's heart is through his palate?”
“Well, but why make her unemployed?”
“Give me a handful then,” she said winking at him.
When he kicked the door behind, she entered the arena of his desire. As he hugged her ardently, she felt the power of his protection and pressed closer to augment her own sense of security. Sensing her need for redressal from the shivering of her frame, he covered her flanks to address her fears. Gratified by his gesture, she joined her hands to ensconce their embrace. As she raised her head to reassure herself, meeting his eyes, she could gauge the hugeness of his want. The desire for her she discerned in his manner aggravated her own want for him. Feeling joyous in his rapturous embrace, she pressed closer to him to address their want. Appeased by her acquiescence thus, he yearned for fulfillment. And while his lips parted parched by desire, affected by passion, hers began to quiver. As he readily closed in on them to steady them, she energized hers to draw succor from his strength. In time, having savored the taste of her love, he deep kissed her to grasp her soul as well. Pressured thus by his ardency, she too turned keen to end his one-upmanship.
When the heat of their passion made them to shed their clothing, the force of attraction braced them back into embrace. While he pleasured over her frame, sharpening his joy, she swirled in his arms in rapture. Even as her pulsations accentuated her curves, his passion found its expression in them. Rolling over her rollicking legs, he made his way to her chink to probe its depth through his protruding tongue. When, to let her have a measure of his manhood, he pushed her down to his declivity, her innate love prompted her lust into reciprocation. At that, as she reached the threshold of urge, she let him free her virginity on lease with the force of his virility. Enjoying the fulfilling feeling of that emotional conjugation, he strived to make her experience the joy of being loved by man. As she began to share with him the ecstasy of the lovemaking she was experiencing, he got the feeling that she loved him sexually as well. Soon, the orgasmic stage they reached brought the euphoria of their conjugation to a languid end ushering in a life of emotional integration.
As Suresh found her pensive at the dining table, he was beset with anxiety and enquired with concern.
“Honestly,” she said singing her song of anxiety, “your riches frighten me.”
“That’s a measure of your simplicity,” he said, as he offered her a morsel from his own plate.
Gladdened by his gesture, she reciprocated in full measure enabling them to have a sumptuous dinner fed from the hands of each other.
“You know the role money played in the downfall of our family,” he began as they went back into their room. “While I served the sentence, I thought long and hard about it and realized that it’s the character of money to corrupt the ardent, tease the vacillating and curse the indifferent. That way, there seems to be no escape for man from money. You’re damned if you have it and accursed for the lack of it.”
“Money is best in its moderation, isn't it?,” she said as though to convert him to her point of view.
“Make money the measure and you are in for trouble dear,” he said taking her into his arms. “for that would keep you in its grip forever.”
“What to do then?” she asked seemingly puzzled.
“One should try to demystify money to see what really it is worth,” he continued. “After all, the accumulated millions with a miser add up to zero, and likewise, the moolah with a spendthrift comes to naught in the end. So, money has no value of its own, in spite of the awe in which man holds it. As for the power of wealth, it’s only in the mind of the haves and the have-nots alike.”
“How true!” she said reminiscently.
“You know how amazed I was when I realized that,” he said showing his amazement all again. “After the dust settled down, I began to analyze the import of the events of my tumultuous life. When I recalled that girl who came to nail me in court, the spirit of her character struck me no end. Just imagine the possibilities that held out for her then. When the scandal broke out, had she wanted, she could have sold her silence at her own price. Instead, she was prepared to stake her honor in the interests of justice, that too at the risk of being shamed by Mehrotra, though in camera.”
He paused for a while, recalling her in adoration.
“Oh, how she demonstrated the powerlessness of wealth against her sense of purpose!” he said on resumption. “Well, my father’s wealth and Mehrotra’s wile added up to nothing before the resolve of that have-not. In the end, it was her sense of spirit that inspired me to live down my past to live for another day. In a way I owe everything to her!”
Affected by his sense of emotion, she sank into his arms to share his feeling, and said, “No less do I.”
“She has proved that the clout of the rich owes itself to the coveting of the poor,” he said, caressing her head.
“Oh, how true!” she said reflectively. “It’s their own craving for money that makes men and women alike court the moneyed, and that gives the rich a false sense of power over the poor. Why blame the rich for their conceit when it is the making of the poor?”
“True, the desire for power could be behind man’s craving for wealth,” he said reminiscently. “But it doesn’t help to cut corners in pursuit of wealth for any. Don’t you have our family history to prove that?”
“I don’t agree as it’s not the rule and, if anything, it’s an exception,” she said disentangling herself from him, as though to physically demonstrate her dissent. “Why, won't the corrupt prosper in general?”
“Well it may appear so,” he said. “But scratch the surface a little and you will have a better view of its irony. Why should one want to be wealthy when life needs no props of riches for its enrichment? That’s why chasing money is but a human fallacy. Yet, the middle-class mentality makes man seek monies to enjoy the false sense of security. And by cutting corners what do they get but bits and pieces of accretion? Oh, how they have to take care to remain faceless while still active in their occupation! And in time, they insensibly melt into the multitude of the retired to continue their humdrum existence but not before contributing their mite to corrupt the system. In the end, unnoticed, they leave the stage, bequeathing their ill-gotten wealth to their kith and kin. That’s all there is to their life and death. Once in away, however, the law of averages catches up with some with the accompanying loss of face.”
“But it’s their ambition that makes some covet riches to enrich their status,” she said.
“And it’s the way some of them conjure up wealth to earn infamy that makes for the great human tragedy,” he said with apathy. “Endowed with enterprise and blessed with opportunities, these fortunate few get on to the social stage to stroll as colossuses. While some keep their course to fulfill their destiny, the unfortunate lose direction on their way to make a farce of their lives. Instead of working for the success of their ventures, the promoters siphon off funds to fail their firms
But that only makes it a double jeopardy for them. Why, for all their luxury living, won't they get branded as failures? As for their name recognition, ironically, they figure high in the list of crooks and cheats. For sure, they would not have bargained for ignominy while they first set themselves on the course of riches. In the end though, they would realize that their stolen wealth was but a jewel-less crown.”
“How sad!” she said in apparent agreement.
“It’s only half the story,” he said feeling sad himself. “Imagine what they could have done to society had they utilized their opportunities meaningfully. Maybe, they would have contributed to the country’s economy besides ensuring their own well-being. Instead, they help sink scarce resources into their sick units.
“Well, the same malady afflicts the politicians as well,” he continued in the same vein. “Sadly, political power is reduced to self-aggrandizement. It’s how the politicians miss the opportunity to achieve greater glory and instead earn the collective infamy. Oh, what difference they could make to the country with proper policy and direction! But, invariably they fail to see the obvious and miss the bus of public service!”
“That’s my worry with money,” she said as her apprehensions resurfaced, “for its corruptive influence.”
“Why blame money when it’s man’s attitude to it that is at the back of his misery?” he elucidated in hindsight. “If coveting wealth makes man go wayward, its disregard might push him into penury. Thus, the way to go about money is to seek opportunities, direct our efforts to achieve and take the monies that come with it. I feel this ethos would lead to man’s personal growth and help bring about the social good as well. Moreover, the infirm and the incapacitated still need a helping hand to survive, and naturally, it’s the rich that could come to their rescue. Here is our unique opportunity as the circumstances of life have induced an inclination for social service in us. And we have the backing of wealth to indulge in that pursuit.”
“How do you think we should balance our life and our wealth?”
“Isn’t it said that charity begins at home?” he said. “I see that I can play a positive role in industry by taking back the Ocean Organics. And as opportunity would have it, the lease is to end soon enough. Besides, I would like to expand Sneha Travels. That way, I can to strive to realize my self-worth. You too can work at your kuchipudi for your own fulfillment. In due course, who knows, we may even attract donations to build many Shanti Sadans and Sneha Gruhas.”
“Yet I’m afraid lest wealth should rob me of my innate sensitivity,” she said hugging him. “I have a reason to fear for that as well. I have an aunty like there was none before that is until they turned well-heeled. I had seen the wrinkles of conceit affect the beauty of her soul and in the end she turned blind to the values that made her what she was. Now that she has lost her simplicity of purpose, she no longer values the company of the genuine. Instead, she surrounds herself with the so-called successful for whom once she had nothing but contempt. Oh, how her riches made her poor indeed! And seeing the ugliness of her soul, I used to gloat that my fate didn’t condemn me to riches. But now, my life threatens to bring about the worst of fates on that score for me.”
“I’ll tell you how your fears could be but liars,” he said cajoling her. “I too have a cousin from a humble background who made it really big in life. And the money drove away whatever insecurities he might have nursed for his lack of means till then. Now, sitting on the mountain of a moolah, he’s humility personified, and what is more, he sees the true potential of his wealth to bring smiles to his associates and others. I’m sure our wealth would enrich your soul and not the other way round.”
“I see in that the spirituality of materialism,” she said as though she got the revelation.
“Let it rule our hearts,” he said, “and souls as well.”
“Enough with the lessons of life,” she winked at him. “I need some lessons of love as well.”
Continued to “Sense of Reincarnation”