Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“True Partnership” by Astha Parekh, GIIS, Punggol Campus, Singapore, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Astha Parekh, a Grade-6 student in Global Indian International School, Singapore likes to read during her free time and likes to help people and change the world. She likes to play basketball and Badminton. Her ambition is to become a doctor one day and serve the humanity.
I want to tell you a story which will touch your heart and make your eyes moist as well. This is a story, which was narrated to me by my grandmother.
Once upon a time in the city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, there lived a poor labourer named Shivraj, who was earning his livelihood through daily wages. He, his wife and his daughter Mala lived in a poor hut and he was hardly able to meet the daily needs. He had a very good habit of going to the Shiva temple, Mahakaleshwar every day before going to work. Also, near the temple, there was an old woman, by the name of Godavari, who used to sell food including ladoos. Shivraj used to buy daily food from this woman, distribute half of the food to beggars near the temple and the other half, he used to take for his daughter Mala, who was very fond of ladoos.
Shivraj was working in a construction site and one day, he was removed from his work and had no money to feed his family. He ran to the temple to pray to God Shiva and while he was returning, he found a match box on the temple floor and when he opened it, there was money inside it. He told the temple priest about it and the old woman. He even stayed there for hours to see, if someone came searching for the match box and money, but no one came.
Next day morning, the old woman, Godavari came near Shivraj and urged him to keep the money as a god gift and start some work with that.
Shivraj ran inside the temple and bowed in front of God and said “Hey Shiva, you are my partner from today. Half of my daily earnings now belong to you as my partner”. Shivraj started a small business with the money and soon, his business started to expand. From a poor hut, he moved to a house of his own and in few years, he owned a palatial house for himself.
As time passed by, Shivraj changed a lot as a person. In his greed for earning more money, he had started to cheat people and was involved in some illegitimate ways of earning money. Also, while he was still following his daily ritual of donating 50% of the earnings, he had stopped going to the temple himself, but used to ask his servants to go to the temple.
On one of the days, while he was travelling by his car, his driver stopped by, since an old woman was lying on the road, hit by a car. However, Shivraj asked his driver not to wait as he was getting late and did not want to be in any trouble for himself. Truly, Shivraj was no longer the same person.
One afternoon , while Shivraj was at home , the police knocked at his house and he was taken to jail for the illegitimate ways in which he was conducting his business. The police sealed his house and all his assets. His daughter, Mala was very disturbed and while she was crossing the roads, she got hit by a speeding car and got injured. Shivraj ran to the accident place and took her daughter to the hospital. The doctors started treating her, but informed Shivraj that only God could help save his daughter.
This rang like a loud bell in Shivraj’s ears and he ran to the Shiva temple. He started complaining to the God that while he had fulfilled his promise of donating 50% of his earnings, the God was not being kind.
While he was praying, from nowhere, the old woman, Godavari came in front of him and reminded him that 2 weeks ago, while he was in the car, there was an accident on the road and Shivraj had asked his driver not to stop, but to move away from there. Godavari said,“Lord Shiva had sent you to save me, but you did not bother. You have become greedy and no more an honest and truthful person”. She continued, “Shivraj, you think, you are doing a favor to God, by donating 50% of your earnings to him, but did you ever bother to come inside the temple to pray or say thanks to him? Did you ever stop by to donate some of your earnings to the poor near the temple?
Shivraj started crying and pleading for his daughter‘s life and while he turned around, Godavari had disappeared, and he saw the temple priest with his hand over his shoulders. He asked the priest and was shocked to hear that Godavari had died in accident 2 weeks back.
Shivraj realized that the old woman, Godavari was no one else but Lord Shiva himself and it dawned on him that the match box with money was kept at the temple by Godavari. He pleaded guilty in front of Lord Shiva and prayed for his daughter’s health. He returned to the hospital, and was pleasantly surprised to know from the doctors that Mala had miraculously recovered from injury
Shivraj’ s eyes had dollops of tears and started thanking Lord Shiva from the bottom of his heart. He realized that one cannot make God as a partner for money, but one can do so for only good deeds.