A lesson for life: How fool, I risk my life for a radish

It is an incident of the month of June,1998. I was coming back from one of my mango orchards, located in the east of my village Ghataha, Darbhanga, Bihar. During this time of the year, orchards seem to be bustling with bees and birds and fruit-eaters. This is also a time when most of the crop fields are fallow before the monsoon arrives in July. I had spent entire morning till noon in the orchard and was thirty and hungry, so I decided to go back home.

On the way back, I happen to pass one field which has some amazing crops of seasonal vegetables. The shiny white radish was the most visible and easy to uproot. The radish to me looked so juicy that I couldn’t resist and uprooted one without wasting any time. Since I was very hungry as well, so I started eating it while walking back home.

A minute later I heard someone calling me from behind. Initially I thought that it could be some of my friends who also going back home wanted me to slow down. So, very idly I turned around to see who the person was. What I see, is a man running towards me with a sharp sickle in his hand. The very next moment I started running back home knowing that he might be the owner of the vegetable field and that he wanted to catch. I was running through the dry fields which were recently tilled, so I could not go fast. Also, may be because I was frightened to be caught my steps were getting slower.

After five to seven minute of futile run, I couldn’t run more and was finally caught by this man. He caught me by my hand started dragging me towards the vegetable field and the orchards from where I was coming. I was shivering with fear thinking that he might cut my throat and throw me in the jungle. So, started pleading him with tears in my eyes but no, he was not going to leave me so easily.

After some time we reached a watch hut, where one of the old man from Musahar community of my village lived. I thought, it is the time I should ask for help from this old man I knew or I will die today. I started crying at the top of my voice and requested the old man to save me. The vegetable field owner was a rude Brahman from nearby village. The old man requested the Brahman to leave me, but he was not in a mood to leave me. The Brahman told the old that the boy has stolen my crop of radish. I could have given him one if he had asked me but no, these little rascals think that they can loot anyone’s hard earned vegetable.

He said, “I am going to teach him a lesson today”. At this moment I thought I was going to die. How fool, I risk my life for a radish. I had plucked mangoes and other fruits from trees of many people but nobody had ever caught me and never had I faced such a risk for those petty stealing. I was praying to god that somehow if I am forgiven this time, I would never ever steal anything from anyone’s garden.

The old man somehow persuaded the Brahman and finally he released me and warned me that because of that old man he is leaving me. He told me that ever again if he see me stealing anything, it would be my last day. I in my mind , I was thinking that “meri nani naa mar jaaye jo mai kisi ka kuch kabhi churaunga” which means I swear not do it ever again. Lessons learned through such experience in childhood remain for the whole life.