Lack of Vigil - Consequences

An Aye Opener

Raghu's provision store is in the interior of the village.  His telephone is open to public use for which he charges a small amount equal to the charge at public telephone booths.  A backward community housewife of around 50 comes and seeks permission to make a call.  She makes the call when Raghu was weighing onion for a regular customer.  The housewife finishes the talk in about 2 minutes and lays a one rupee coin on the table.  He queried where she called to.  She replied unreservedly, to nearby, and left.  After two minutes she returned to the store and said I forgot one thing to tell during the talk.  She took the telephone again and talked just for a minute, paid one rupee and left.  This time the store-keeper Raghu was free from any customer and sitting idle.  Just to know the number she called to, he pressed the button of caller-ID gadget connected separately to the telephone.  The number displayed was 5 digits more than a local number which indicates the call was distant and STD.  He immediately called the housewife by name who was within his sight on the road.  When she came he showed the display in the caller-ID and smilingly asked is this local number.  He did not say anything more as she was his regular customer for provisions.  She passed a folly-smile and queried how much more should be paid.  He replied, give the usual amount you used to pay minimum when called to this number.  She extended a ten rupees currency note.  He accepted it and gave back rupees four after taking rupees three plus three for two calls received short.

For a week she did not turn up to the store to purchase provisions, and instead purchased from another store just 40 metres behind his store.  She could not stick there as the old man in the store is graduated in under-weighing and over-charging - a fact known to all in the village.

After a week when returned to the store, Raghu queired where you were Vimala.  Pat  came the reply, I was at home and did not purchase anything these days as cash was not there.  She self-convinced that the store-man has not taken the phone issue seriously and ordered 2/3 items.  When the items packed and gave she queried whether he has disclosed to anybody the phone incidence.  Oh, why I should say to anybody, he said.  She heaved sigh.  The fact is otherwise.  He had disclosed it to his close-friends including this correspondent.

Raghu has experienced more such incidences of unworthy nature.  One day a well-wisher who is a cigarette smoker told him that it is better not to keep the cigarette boxes on the cash table.  The cash table is within the hand-reach of customers.  He asked why you say so.  He said, nothing.  Raghu pondered over it and thought somebody might be lifting cigarettes.  He decided to have it convinced himself.  He started counting the cigarettes in loose packet and the sealed packets before he moves to weigh and pack the items and keeping a back-eye vigil when the smokers come.  One day, when he was packing an item a youth smoker came and told he is taking a cigarette and kept rupees two on the table and left.  The store-keeper counted the cigarettes in the loose packet and the sealed packets soon after he left.  Sealed packets were Okay, but in loose packet two cigarettes were short.  He started pondering how much money he might have lost in the years gone.  Certainly his blood pressure might have soared.  Then onwards he kept the cigarette packets on fridge-top where the customers’ hands cannot reach out.

Half a kilometre from this store a man of around 65 conducts a stationery-cum-sweet store.  This store on a bus-route and junction has good sales, but the profit is not to the expected extent and used to loan cash from petty money-lenders to purchase exhausted items.

One day a well-wisher asked the brother-in-law of store-man for what purpose your brother-in-law is doing business – whether to earn some money or to feed the co-villagers.  The unexpected query stunned him.  He egged to know the back-drop of his query.  The man politely explained that a number of incidents of lifting (if said stealing, its meaning becomes worthless) various items displayed on the table in the front which is very close to the customers standing spot has come to his notice.  He, in turn, conveyed to his brother-in-law the things going in the store.  This disclosure prompted him to be vigil.  Few months passed, he is now earning better profit and not depending on money-lenders.

Vigil pays always.

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