The Mystery of the Magic Box

Tales from Hindustan

In a small town near Varanasi, there lived a cloth merchant named Ramdas. He was not only successful in business but also a wise and generous man. He seemed to possess an uncanny ability to always wear a smile on his face, even in the toughest of times. His even temperament, compassion, and winning smile inspired confidence in everybody around him and they not only respected him but also loved him. Despite reaping enormous profits, he donated to the poor and needy and lived a simple life.

His childhood friend, Somu was a rich ceramic merchant in the neighboring town not too far from where Ramdas lived. During their childhood years, they were inseparable. They had spent many idyllic summers playing together, swimming in the rivers, and eating sweet ripe mangoes freshly plucked from the trees. Despite their close friendship, they grew up to be poles apart from each other. While Ramdas worked for serving those around him, Somu worked to get ahead at any cost. He prided himself on his success and spent his money lavishly. He was known to be ruthless and cunning. His shrewdness made him a formidable businessman whom people feared.

Although he was too proud to admit it, the last few years had been difficult for Somu. He had faced multiple losses in business and the profits had waned considerably. "If I can't find a way out, I will have to shut down my business soon," concluded Somu. The despairing Somu spent many sleepless nights tossing and turning, anxiously hoping for the tides to turn, but there was no relief. Suddenly, he was struck by an idea. "Maybe paying a visit to Ramdas will provide a solution to my problem. I will learn the tricks he employs to make perennial profits", thought Somu. The next morning he set out on his journey to meet his friend.

When Somu arrived, he was surprised to find a simple home with a sign hung on the door that said "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here". "Strange!" thought Somu as he rang the bell. Ramdas was thrilled and welcomed him with a warm embrace, a delicious meal, and generous hospitality. "How happy am I to see you my dear friend! You can stay here with me as long as you like!" he cried out joyfully.

That night, Somu shared his woes with his friend. With an eager glint of hope in his eyes, he desperately asked Ramdas to relieve him of his sorrows. With an empathetic smile, Ramdas nodded.

The next morning there was a flurry of activity in the house. Somu was woken up by an aroma of flavorful dishes that led him to the kitchen. There he saw an elaborate spread filled with exquisite appetizing dishes. Just as he was about to enter, Ramdas called out " Good morning, Somu! As you can see, I am a great cook! But, I have some errands to run now, and as soon as I am back, we will dine together" he said as he winked at Somu.

Before Ramdas left, he carefully handed Somu a tiny antique box and key and said "I am handing you my most valuable secret. This was passed down by my father's father and his father before him. It contains all that you need to be successful and happy. But, whatever you do, do not open it. Stay alert and keep a close watch!".

Before Somu could satiate his curiosity about the mysterious magical box, Ramdas disappeared.

It seemed like hours had passed and Somu was getting restless. The idea this tiny magic box could transform his life filled Somu with confusion and doubts. Could it really be possible? Somu couldn't wait to find out!

It seemed like a few more hours had passed. When ripples of anger had risen to the surface of his mind, he wrinkled his nose. " Is this how one treats a guest? Why is he making me wait this long?" simmered Somu.

He waited a few more minutes until a greedy thought cropped up - "What if I steal the contents of the box and hide the key? He'll never find out! It will all be mine forever! " pondered Somu foolishly. But he knew better than to cheat his own friend.

By now, Somu was getting impatient and hungry. The green-eyed monster of envy took hold of Somu and he let his mind wander. "If only I had the secret to set up a successful business! He got lucky! " complained Somu bitterly.

A few moments later, his stomach growled and his mouth watered. He glided into the kitchen hypnotized by the delicious aroma that wafted toward him.

"I can't wait any longer!" decided Somu and just then he heard Ramdas's footsteps inching closer to him.

"Sorry, that took a while. Did you keep a close watch? ," asked Ramdas with a smile. Somu shrugged.

Ramdas slowly unlocked the box and Somdas was shocked to find that this whole time the box was empty!

"When I asked you to keep watch and stay alert, I was talking about your mind!" explained Ramdas patiently.

In a short span of time, Somu had gone through a whirlwind of emotions - anger, greed, envy, and impatience unconsciously.

The secret to success and happiness is in being mindful. Happiness is within you!

You see, there is inner happiness within everyone, but it is covered by layers of negative thoughts, fears, worries, and anxieties. This Inner happiness is an inseparable part of us, of our essence, but we often allow various factors to hide it. Let go of selfishness, and work in the spirit of service and you'll know real happiness". concluded Ramdas.

Somu returned back to his town with his newfound wisdom and worked hard to abide by it. As years went by Somu's business slowly started looking up and he found true joy and happiness, not in profits or pride but selflessness and service.


More by :  Neeraja Sundar Rajan

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Views: 3387      Comments: 3

Comment Great message!

Gulnar Raheem Khan
25-Dec-2022 05:59 AM

Comment Swetha
Happy to read.
Good start with a nice story.

I am.sure many (me included) will now keep watch with an open mind for more.

Keep them coming.
Stay blessed.

Padmini Janardhanan
24-Dec-2022 12:14 PM

Comment Swetha, nice story. Good start. Sure many will now keep a close watch with an open mind for more to come.

Keep the coming. Stay blessed.

Padmini Janardhanan
24-Dec-2022 12:07 PM

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