Samir erases letters from his INNER SELF!

Samir erases letters from his INNER SELF!

Samir erases letters from his INNER SELF!

He was elated as he had won the ‘Man of the Match’ award with a score of 119 runs – his highest ever!  And, his score had been instrumental in making his house Topaz, win the match. He glowed with joy in his yellow house uniform.

Just then, he happened to find something sparkling in the sand by the gate. He quickly went to examine the object of his attention. It was a big, imported eraser in the shape of none other than his favourite cartoon character – Blingo. Today was definitely his lucky day he thought, as he picked it up. He was glad to note that it was brand new. It was clean and smelt so good. So, it was obviously not discarded or thrown, but lost or dropped there by its owner’s mistake.

Samir looked around but saw no one – everybody had left the school. He quietly slipped it into the pocket of his shorts. He knew he had to mull over the matter a bit, before deciding what to do with the eraser.

At home, after Samir had shared details of his stupendous success with his family, he settled down to feast on the treats his mom had prepared for him. But all the while, the small bulge in his pocket bothered him. He wondered if he should discuss the eraser with his family members. He had no doubt what their advice would be – to give it to the ‘Lost & Found’ department of the school. He decided against talking about it. After all, he was not a bachcha anymore. His age had touched double digits – 10 – that made him feel big and mature enough to make small decisions on his own. Surely, he could handle it himself without bothering them.

Later in the privacy of his room, he held the precious eraser in his clean, plump palm. He had often envied classmates who had ‘Blingo – Rub-a-Dub’ as it was called. He knew that it was not yet available in India and those with relatives abroad were the lucky ones who had them. His relatives on foreign shores hardly visited them.

The Blingo in his hand actually smiled at him, enticing him to have him for keeps. How many hours Samir had spent watching his animated shows on the television – he was crazy about Blingo. His father had often assured him that it would soon be available everywhere. He had wanted the Rub-a-Dub so badly – perhaps that was the reason why Blingo had come seeking him. The thought about the owner’s grief at discovering the loss did occur to him, but he immediately dismissed it by gleefully whispering to himself – “Finders Keepers; Losers Weepers”.

That night he happened to overhear his Dadi’s bedtime story for his little sister. It was about the honest woodcutter whose axe had fallen into the lake and who refused to accept the silver and gold axes that did not belong to him. It set him thinking.
The next day during the Value-Education class, their teacher asked the students what their reaction would be, if they found a wallet full of money lying on the road. After all of them were heard, the teacher applauded Rohan for saying that he would make efforts to try and find, and return it to the owner; failing which he would give it to a police station or give the money to a needy person.

Samir was aghast. Why was everyone indirectly conspiring to tempt him to shun his favourite Blingo? He would never give it away. But then, neither could he use it or show it off in school for fear of someone claiming it. Nor could he use it in the presence of his family – there would be too many questions. And, what was the fun in using it with nobody to watch and envy him?

The next morning during the prayer assembly, there was a talk about listening to and obeying the inner voice called conscience and about God watching everything. That was it! Samir could not handle his guilt anymore. He now knew what he had to do.
 Three weeks later, in the midst of a Geography class, an announcement was heard on the speaker in Samir’s classroom, asking him to see Mrs. Bose – the head of the ‘Lost & Found’ department. Samir went to meet her rather apprehensively. Why had she called for him when Blingo was handed over in one piece, unused and with the shine intact? What complain did the owner have to let Mrs. Bose call for him?

Once there, Mrs. Bose lowered her glasses to her nose to look  him directly in the eye. The words she uttered swam around in Samir’s head like an echo of some faraway dream – “Samir, there has been no claimant so far, of the eraser that you gave to our department. And, according to our rules, if it is not claimed over a period of three weeks, it is returned to the finder. So, you can keep this with you like a reward as it were.”

Samir’s grin stretched from ear to ear as a hurried ‘Thank You’, escaped his lips. He skipped out with Blingo Rub-a-Dub tightly clinched in his fist. Perhaps Mrs. Bose was right. This must be his reward for his honesty after all. He was extremely happy and grateful for he could now keep it, use it or show it off without any nagging voice bothering him from within his head. He was amazed at how different he felt with it now – so light and guilt-free!

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