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When Honesty Pays
|by P. Mohan Chandran|
There is a very honest, truthful, simple, and straightforward bloke by name Uttam. Fortunately or unfortunately, he has all the good qualities that an ideal person possesses! But, many view this as a bane (rather than a boon) to Uttam! His good qualities are never appreciated, either by his friends or by the society in which he lives. On the contrary, he is always rebuked, equally by his friends, neighbors, and his own family for being too honest, truthful, and forthright with everyone. But, Uttam does not let these things bother him because he knows that he is on the right path, and that he and his ideals will certainly triumph one day and prove everyone wrong. However, he is highly dissatisfied and deeply pained with the world, which is full of treachery, deceit, dishonesty, and immorality.
Uttam wants to take up a job to earn a living, but finds none because of his over-honest and over-straightforward nature. One day, Uttam goes to attend an interview. Just then, a politician's assistant comes to the company and greases the palms of the interviewer, demanding him to reserve the job in question for one of his distant relatives. The interviewer instantly and gleefully agrees, accepting the lucre and putting it into his desk drawer shamelessly. He interviews the other candidates just for an eyewash. Now comes Uttam for the interview.
The interviewer asks Uttam, "Why did you leave your previous job?" Uttam responds honestly, "I quit my earlier job only because of my immediate boss, who treated me very badly." Uttam isn't able to control himself and goes on further, giving vent to his emotions. Says Uttam, "Ninety-five percent of employees leave organizations because of problem with their immediate boss. Whenever an employee leaves an organization, one should always look at the immediate boss. Employees never leave organizations, they leave people." However, after answering a few more irrelevant and crazy questions posed by the interviewer, Uttam enquires from the interviewer when he will be informed about the result of his interview. The interviewer replies, "We will get back to you." And, for reasons known to us all, Uttam never hears from the interviewer again.
Uttam always meets his friends every evening under a tree in a park. They then discuss about their careers, future plans, etc. The discussion now turns to Uttam. His friends enquire Uttam how his interview went on. Uttam unfolds to his friends the entire happening at the interview. His friends, instead of appreciating his qualities, reprimand him for being too honest, straightforward, and truthful. One friend says, "You should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first, and honest people are screwed first." Another remarks, "The problem with you is that you believe everyone and everything. You are being too good, and it is too bad to be too good." Yet another friend quips, "It is good to uphold these values until you are not on empty stomach." Uttam feels very dejected and demoralized, as his own friends are criticizing him for being good and honest, instead of supporting him at his hour of crisis, for what he is. He feels bad that a person's natural abilities and qualities are not being allowed to blossom, and on the contrary, smothered to oblivion by the society and their hypocritical values. Very crestfallen with his friends' demeanor, he walks back home with a heavy heart, with their words still reverberating and fresh in his mind.
As he keeps walking, Uttam suddenly comes across a stranger in pure dazzling white clothes, who is tall, slim, and has a natural and inexplicable glow on his face, which makes him very friendly and attractive. The stranger is clean-shaven, with golden hair flowing up to his shoulders, and his eyes sparkling like diamonds. There seems to be a halo of magnetism within and outside the person, which draws the curiosity of Uttam and attracts him towards the stranger. Uttam slowly approaches the stranger and enquires, "Who are you? And why are you standing on my way?" The stranger responds, "My dear Uttam, I am God. And, I am standing on your way because you are going on the right path in life, and both our paths cross each other, coincidentally."
Upon hearing the stranger's words, who claims himself to be God, Uttam starts laughing his heart out, uncontrollably. He then pinches himself to confirm if he is in an illusory state. Uttam says to the stranger, "Just now, my friends told me that I am a fool and believe whatever anyone says. Well, I am not going to be a fool anymore now to believe your words. Testify me that you are God." The stranger does whatever Uttam asks him to do to prove the authenticity of his statement. Uttam, at last, believes and accepts that the stranger is indeed God, and asks his forgiveness for distrusting him initially.
God then explains Uttam, "It is really very unfortunate that people in this world have got addicted to falsity and untruth so much that they are not ready to even believe truth! They believe that all are dishonest until proven honest; all are guilty until proven innocent. People readily believe falsity but ask for truth to be substantiated! What an irony! And it pains me all the more when honest and truthful people like you fall in the trap of these dishonest people's words and start questioning the existence of God, or the value of perpetuating the virtue of goodness." God said to Uttam, "Now, go and tell your friends that you saw God. But, let me also caution you in advance that they will not believe you an iota and instead think that you have gone insane." Uttam thought to himself, "How true! If I tell my friends that I saw a ghost, the probability that they will believe me is high, whereas if I tell them that I saw God, they will think I have surely gone off the rocker. But nevertheless, let me give it a try and tell them what I experienced."
The next morning Uttam meets all his friends and tells them what transpired the previous evening. Uttam's friends tease and mock at him. One friend says, "Hey, I think because he is not getting any job, he has started getting hallucinations now and has turned insane." Another friend says, "Now, don't tell me that God appeared and told you that He will give you a nice job." Yet another friend consoles him saying, "Uttam, I think your mind is too disturbed and you need to take some time off from these worries and have some rest." Other friends also think that Uttam has really gone crazy because he is not getting a job and is disillusioned with the ways of the world.
Uttam feels very miserable and frustrated that his friends did not believe him when he said them the truth. He again walks back home, completely depressed by his friends' comments. As Uttam keeps walking, God again appears. God asks Uttam, "My dear Uttam! You seem to very dejected. What happened? Did you tell your friends that you saw God?"
Uttam replies, "Yes, I did tell them, but they are just not ready to believe me. Convincing them was so tough that it only earned me a nickname as 'insane.' Oh, God! You know I am always good to others, truthful and honest. I never try to hurt others, even inadvertently. Then, why did I not get a job till now and why am I suffering like this?
God says, "My son, don't worry. It is the good people who always get to suffer. Suffering brings out the best in a person. Suffering is my way of giving wisdom. Suffering makes you strong. And whenever, I give suffering to anyone, I also give them the strength to successfully overcome that suffering. And remember, when bad things happen to good people, they become better people. A stone becomes a gem after passing through the test of fire. A person attains greatness only after passing through a series of traumas and sufferings. Not all people get to suffer, but only few good people like you do. Be happy that I have chosen you for greatness. Things will be fine soon."
Uttam asks God, "Oh God! Why is truth always laughed at, scoffed, and never accepted readily?"
God replies, "Truth will always establish itself in good time. It does not require the belief of anyone. Truth will remain truth whether or not anyone believes it. Truth does not require any leg to stand on; it can stand by itself. It is falsity that requires (artificial) legs to stand on. Truth may initially be suppressed by dishonest and immoral people, but it will always resurrect like a phoenix and reassert itself. Truth will always triumph in this world, and it will be the ultimate winner, because you can only delay truth, but not deny it."
God assures Uttam that he will get a great job in a great company, and will make a great name for himself if he upholds his qualities of honesty, truthfulness, and philanthropy forever, irrespective of what others think of him or brand him as.
As per God's prophecy, Uttam gets a letter one day upon reaching home after meeting his friends. His wife gives the letter to Uttam. Uttam opens it carefully and after reading it, shouts with joy, hugging his wife with ecstasy. The letter happens to be the appointment letter of the world's largest company, whose interview Uttam had attended sometime back and forgotten about it. Uttam is delighted and is on seventh heaven. Everyone understood much later that this so-called bane of being honest and truthful was actually a blessing in disguise for Uttam.
Uttam looks upwards and thanks God quietly. God observes the new turn of events from Heaven and says, "Uttam, atti uttam!!"
|More by : P. Mohan Chandran|
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11/15/2012 14:00 PM