While we wonder about what the world has become when we read about people slitting throats for merely a rupee, people like Sudhakaran reaffirm our faith in humanity. In this day and age, to prioritize values and principles over a million rupees is no less than an enigma! More so when you learn that he barely makes Rs 10,000 per month in his road-side grocery shop at a local market in Kanhangad, a town in northern Kerala.
Along with his honesty that is clearly not for sale, one can also buy lottery tickets at his shop. On one of the regular days like this one, his friend P Ashokan called him to keep 10 lottery tickets aside for him, and he would pay when he comes to the shop the next day. Sudhakaran obliged. Later that day, when the results were announced, he was pleasantly shocked to see the number of one of the 10 lottery tickets that he had set aside for Ashokan as the winner of the day! The prize, you ask- Rs 10 million!! Yes, Rs 10 million worth of fortune earned over a Rs 10 lottery ticket. Mind you that Sudhakaran yet had the lottery tickets whose money was due to be paid by Ashokan, in his possession. Ashokan had no idea about the flip of his destiny.
Hastily, Sudhakaran called his father first to inform about this news. His father was filled with joy upon hearing, but what he said next might come as a surprise to most of us. He said,
“Call up Ashokan right now and give him the good news!!”
You read it right. Not once did his father think that his son should keep the money. Nor did Sudhakaran, who still could win the lottery, and legally so, did ever think of replacing the winner lottery with an ordinary ticket for Ashokan. He immediately called up Ashokan and needless to say, one could hear his happy cries even beyond the phone. When asked, what gives him the courage to look beyond his greed, he says,
“My father always told me that if you need to, you can even beg, but you must never snatch other people’s rights”
The fact that there was not even a moment of hesitation gives us a glimpse of his spot-free heart. Had he thought of keeping the money for himself or his family, nobody could have raised a finger on his character. Everyone knew of his humble background. The fact that he chose to do what he did despite having the alternate choice made his family rejoice and take pride. He says,
“My mother and all my other relatives were all very happy with what I had done. They all said that I had done the right thing.”
Such stories make me wonder where the real wealth in the world lies. In the banks of those people who at times sacrifice other people’s needs to satisfy their greed, or in the hearts of people like Sudhakaran, who will do the right thing even when no one is watching. What makes him exemplary is his nonchalant attitude.
“I know what I did was just what I should have”
If only we all could do what we should. I am not sure how such small individual acts would make the world a better place. What I am sure of is that it will lead to many more peaceful minds and sound sleep.
The feeling of doing something great is only exceeded by the feeling of doing something right.