Fiction - parable
Vijay was familiar enough with soil and the stones it turns up to realise that he had struck something rare. It was a tiny stone, a pitch black speck not larger than the tip of his little finger. It turned up from the intestine of the earth while Vijay was digging a pit for the biogas plant.
Anand, the scientist from the village, got the stone analysed in his lab and assured, “It is a rare object. A compound of carbonic acid and magnesium.”
Anand and his fellow scientists believed that it must be a fragment of a meteoroid that hit the earth millions of years ago. “Very rare indeed,” concluded the scientist.
Now, it’s plain commonsense that something that’s very rare indeed must be very valuable too. All the more so if it came from the heavens. So Vijay got the village goldsmith to set it on a gold ring. Vijay wore the ring proudly on his ring finger.
Nobody, in the village, however bothered to pay any homage to Vijay’s ring. They were accustomed to seeing people wearing all kinds of precious stones on their various fingers, sometimes on all the fingers. So Vijay went to the city and started holding his hand up, whenever he got the opportunity, in such a way that his ring with its “very rare indeed” stone was conspicuous to those who bothered to notice anything that was out of the ordinary. Nobody took note of his ring, however. Instead people began to see him as some eccentric chap who was making awkward gestures to God knows who.
Then Vijay was in need of some good money one day. He took his “very rare indeed” stone to a jewellery in the city. He had no other choice.
The jeweller was ready to pay for the gold ring. The “very rare indeed” stone was worthless for the jeweller. “To hell with scientists,” said the jeweller contemptuously.
Vijay returned home without selling his ring. A few months passed. The village grapevine blossomed with rumours that a few villagers were in possession of some rare stones. It was not only Vijay who had made use of the subsidy given by the Panchayat for constructing biogas plants. And a few of those who had dug deep in their land had got a piece or two of the “very rare indeed” stone.
Suddenly Vijay’s ring with the stone began to draw attention. People visited him from far and near to see the stone. People praised its beauty and exotic look. People made theories about it. The stone became a sign of some imminent divine intervention or an omen of impending disaster, depending on each interpreter’s perspective.
Newspapers and journals wrote extensive articles and research papers about the stone. TV channels ran live discussions and debates. The anchor of one such TV show even accused Vijay of perpetrating an unpardonable fraud on the public. “Prove it otherwise,” challenged the anchor with his indomitable gusto. Vijay became a celebrity. Bankers were now ready to lend him loans. The jeweller who had despatched all the scientists to hell came to Vijay’s house offering a fortune for the ring. Once a burglar attempted to break in and steal the stone. Vijay put up a brave battle which drew the attention of the neighbours and in the melee that ensued the burglar made good his escape. The “very rare indeed” stone was secure, however.
Gods, devils and people walked in and out of Vijay’s life. Vijay lost his sleep.
The ring with the “very rare indeed” stone became a heavy weight on Vijay’s finger. Its weight increased day by day. The weight became unbearable. Vijay was sitting on the bank of the river that was overflowing due to the unprecedentedly heavy monsoon rains. The fury of the monsoon had already been attributed to the “very rare indeed” stones by devotees of all varieties of divinity.
Vijay liberated his finger from the weight of the stone. He looked at the stone on the ring and smiled wryly. Then the smile changed. He threw the ring with the “very rare indeed” stone into the roaring waters of the river.
When he walked home Vijay felt liberated.