Seth Rajaram’s Secret
Seth Rajaram was a big businessman. He owned a general merchant’s shop. He soft- spoken and kind- hearted. Almost everything was available in his shop. It was because of his behaviour and honesty that everybody in the village used to come to his shop to buy household things.
His wife Malti was just the opposite. Seth Rajaram always spoke in a low tone; whereas his wife, Malti was in a habit of speaking in a loud voice. Seth Rajaram took great care to see that he did not hurt someone’s feelings; whereas Malti never cared for anyone’s feelings. Malti was shrewish and Rajaram was extremely humble.
Their husband and wife relationship was, though not evenly tailored, seth Rajaram was so gentle that he always managed to avoid any altercation. Sometimes he would become very angry with his wife, but in order avoid a tiff he would keep quiet. He was very religious also. One thing was very special with Seth Raja Ram and that was his capability of understanding animals’ language. But the problem with him was that he could not divulge this secret to anyone. He had been granted this boon with a precondition that if he divulged this secret to anyone, he would die.
One day Seth Rajaram was having his lunch. His wife, Malti was sitting before him. While eating, a little of rice fell out of his dish. He saw two ants coming to carry the grains of rice. One was male ant and the other a female ant. The male ant reached first and told the female ant and that since he had reached first , he would take all the grains and wouldn’t allow the female ant to carry a single grain.
The female ant said, “ Look , there is no such rule. And moreover I request you to leave a few grains for me, since my children are hungry and they haven’t eaten anything for the last two days.”
But the male ant insisted on his claim and didn’t allow the female ant to take even a single grain of rice.
Seth Rajaram laughed to hear their conversation and mumbled something; and after the male ant had gone, he dropped a few grains of rice deliberately on the ground.
Malti couldn’t understand anything. She was greatly confused.
“Why did you laugh?” asked Malti getting suspicious.
“No, no nothing important; I laughed just like that,” said Rajaram trying to avoid the situation.
This made Malti all the more suspicious. She said, “I don’t believe a word you say. First you laughed for no reason, then mumbled a few words, I don’t know in what language, and then you dropped a few grains of rice on the grown. All this cannot be without reason. You are hiding something from me.”
“No, no, trust me; I am not hiding anything from you. I laughed just like that. There is no specific reason, “said Rajaram.
But by now multi had come in her real form. She began screaming hysterically –
“Oh, I am so unfortunate! My husband is not faithful to me; he tells lies; he hides things from me. Oh , I am so unlucky!”
Seth Rajaram became nervous. He was confused; he didn’t know what to do. Malti was screaming so loudly that Seth Rajaram was afraid that the villagers might come running to his house out of curiosity. So in order to avoid and ugly situation and out of total frustration Seth Rajaram said, “Malti, it’s not without reason that I laughed. There is a reason, but if I tell you, I shall die.”
“Now again you are trying to fool me. How can one die just for telling something to his wife?” said Malti still screaming.
“Oh Malti you don’t know; it is a secret, and there is a precondition that if I divulge this secret to anyone, I shall immediately die. Now, if you want me to die and you do not mind becoming a widow, I shall tell you. But please take some time and think about it,” said Rajaram with a heavy heart. But Malti was very obstinate. She wouldn’t listen to any arguments. She said, “I don’t mind becoming a widow. I want to know why you laughed; what were the words you mumbled and why you dropped the grains of rice on the ground.”
Seth Rajaram was shocked to see his wife’s rude behaviour, and still more shocked to learn that she didn’t mid becoming a widow.
“All right , if you still insist on knowing the secret, I shall tell; but please give me one day’s time. Tomorrow morning, I shall go to the nearby pond, have a bath there, and then offer my last worships to God, and after that I shall tell you the secret,” said Rajaram with a heavy heart.
Malti somehow agreed to it.
Next day Seth Rajaram went to the pond early in the morning. There ws a big neem tree at the edge of the pond. A parrot couple lived in it. Seeing Seth Rajaram taking bath so early in the morning, the female parrot became very curious. She said, “I am surprised to see him taking bath so early in the morning. This is very unusual.”
The male parrot said, “Oh, you don’t know. He is in great trouble; today is probable the last day of his life.”
“Why do you say that? He is such a nice man. I wish he has a long life.” Said the female parrot. “His problem is such. Actually he is bestowed with a rare gift of understanding animals’ language; and the sad part of it is that he cannot tell anyone about it. If he tells, he will die,” said the male parrot. “It fact while having his lunch yesterday, he saw two ants arguing over a few grains of rice. Since he understood their language, he laughed. Then he told the female ant to have patience and gave her a few grains of rice. His wife, Malti , who was sitting there ,saw him laughing, mumbling and then dropping a few grains of rice on the ground. She became suspicious and asked him the reason behind this act. First. He tried to avoid, but when she insisted, he told her that if he divulged his secret to anyone, he would die and she would become a widow. But you will be surprised to know what she said.”
“What did she say?” said the female parrot.
“She said she doesn’t mind becoming a widow, but she must know the secret. Now Seth Rajaram is so frustrated with his wife that he has decided to end his life. After taking bath he will offer his worships and then tell his secret to his ; and that will bring an end to his life. Poor fellow has no solution to his problem,” said the male parrot.
“He has a solution, and it’s very simple. Only thing is that he has to forget that he is a perfect gentleman. He should take a cane and go on caning her till she gives up and withdraws her question. After all why a person like Rajaram should end his life for shrewish lady like his wife.” Said the female parrot angrily.
Seth Rajaram who heard every single word of their conversation, was forced to give a second thought. He began thinking –
“After all my death is not going to bring any good results. My wife will become a widow; she won’t be able to run my business either. The ultimate result will be that she will suffer and my small children too will suffer.
Thinking that rod is the logic of fools, Seth Rajaram tore a long twig form the neem tree, made a cane of it and went home. His wife was anxiously waiting for him.
“So, you wanted to know the secret,” said Seth Rajaram.
“Yes, please tell me,” said Malti
“Despite the fact that I shall die after telling my secret?” said Rajaram controlling his anger.
“I don’t care , but I must know the secret; I am dying with curiosity,” said Malti.
“Then take it,” Said Rajaram and began caning her.
First she started screaming and shouting, using it as her all-time successful weapon. She thought that Rajaram will stop caning her fearing that neighbours will collect in the house. But this also didn’t work. Rajaram was adamant that he will not yield to her shrewishness. He continued canning her.
Nothing seemed to be working for Malti today. Seth Rajaram continued flaying her skin.
At last she gave up. She began pleading with folded hands for mercy, she said, “For God’s sake, please stop caning; I don’t want to know your secret. Don’t beat me now.”
One of the elderly neighbours interceded with Rajaram for Malti and asked him to stop canning her.
It was only then that Seth Rajaram realized that a lot of neighbours had collected in the house.
The elderly woman , who was their neighbour, said, “Look Malti , a woman is respectable only so long as she behaves like a woman. You had crossed all your limits. You tortured your husband, your children, you always misbehaved with your neighbours; and ultimately this is the result. Come on! Get up and take a vow that you will bring a change in yourself from today and from right now.”
Malti looked around and found no sympathy in the eyes of her neighbours. They had nothing but scorn for her. She realized her mistake and decided to change herself.