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Shades of Life (standard:other, 1105 words)
Author: Nadeem AkhtarAdded: Sep 18 2001Views/Reads: 2531/1362Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A story describing the criminal indifference of rich to the society and human sacrifice made by poor.

The visitor, on that morning, was a middle-aged, shabby-looking fellow,
in white, carelessly-ironed clothes, with a worn-out waistcoat of light 
grey colour. His small, neglected beard gave the impression that he 
had, perhaps, merely left shaving and it had grown in this manner. 

He spoke coyly. "You gave an advertisement for the marriage of poor

"Yes, of course" I replied. 

"I came here for that" 

He uttered the words one-by-one: as if he was not able to find
appropriate ones. A mixed feeling of confusion and amazement enveloped 
me, for I could not understand him. No doubt, we had given an 
advertisement in a newspaper, but it was meant to raise funds. Though 
the advertisement did not bring sufficient response, it did not cause 
us any loss: the newspaper had printed it as a part of their charity 
services. Our organization has recently taken up a poverty alleviation 
project which includes the marriage of poor girls as an important 
component .We have already conducted a seminar for the purpose and it 
was quite successful. In fact we succeeded in pricking the consciences 
of the participants and received a number of promises, and 
announcements of huge donations. The presence of news reporters on the 
occasion gave us an assurance that these promises would certainly 

On the next morning, we received a cheque of two thousand dollars sent
by Seth Sahib, a known industrialist, to keep his promise. Later on, a 
man from his group of companies told me that Seth Sahib 'did not let 
any of his workers miss this opportunity of earning 'sawab' (God's 
blessing). He simply gave orders to deduct one day's salary from all 
his employees and thus contributed his share in our philanthropic 
mission. I did not mind, as means are no more important when ends are 

Nawab Sahib gave us the same amount out of national grant for social
development. He is a political figure who has nationalized all his 
belongings, his life, his property, his family etc., in the greater 
national interest. So, for him, there is no essential line of 
demarcation between national and personal assets. He thinks, and feels, 
for both in the same extravagant manner. Realizing that the national 
grant for the uplifting of the poors is about to lapse as the fiscal 
year approaches its end, he decided to donate an amount out of it. He 
himself came to our office carrying the cheque and was accompanied by a 
senior reporter of a major newspaper. They did not forget to bring a 
photographer with them! The inevitability of all this, for his 
political career, was an obvious fact so it did not cause any confusion 
to me, but the visitor, standing in front of me at that moment, had 
perplexed me. 

In spite of my repeated expressions of not understanding the purpose of
his visit, he was completely silent: perhaps, feeling some hesitation 
in telling me something. It made me all the uneasier and rather anxious 
to know the reality. 

Finally, I broke the ice. "Gentleman, have a seat please and explain

He placed some big notes in front of me, adding. "I have some money. I
have brought it for you". 

I was still going through the same uncertainty. 

"But for what purpose?" I asked. 

"You are raising funds for the dowry of poor girls. I have saved some
amount and want to give it in that fund". 

Now the situation was becoming clear though my uncertainty was natural,
as I had never seen such a strange donor before. Filled with an air of 
curiosity, I asked, 

"But why did you do that?" 

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