It was squalor, nuclear family neglect, selfishness and the modern technological world lurking everywhere—the situation could not have been shoddier for a poor, retired Brahmin teacher Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma. It was times of distress for Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma in the month of Ramzan, a month of the feast.
However, master Ji has no option in his hut. He was not afraid of the watchful eyes China Corona Virus or Covid-19 volunteers. After the retirement, his children settled in the cities due to working requirements. Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma built a small hut under the green peepal tree in the temple, far from the materialist world. However Muslim families were managing all their festivities of Ramzan in their palatial houses unmindful of any advisory of social distancing. They were going to the local mosque for prayers without any fear.
All the shops open, every home makes amazing dishes for the Iftar fast breaker. A deep-fried khajla was their favourite and it was homemade, not bought. "We have been chiefly having dal pakodis and some fruits, mainly dates at Iftar," told rich scrap dealer Alam. "The most important thing we get in plenty is the milk for the children. Our faith and celebrations could not be dented even under the shadow of the China Corona Virus." Shrugged Salim, a rich Maulvi.
Jawed, a rich quack, who was born in this locality, said rather arrogantly, “All talk about the risk of infection but here nobody is bothered about the rules for social distancing to care for our lives." He, further added, "The threat is bigger but we have firm faith in our Allah, that he will protect us." All were rich in the area but nobody was interested in cleanliness of the roads turned narrow lanes due to encroachments. Lanes were piled up with garbage." Manzoor a meat dealer blamed the health workers that they clean the Shiva Mandir lane, the Hindu neighbourhood, but did not come here to Zakir Nagar due to frequent beating and attacks.
The men's grievance was real. The colony is real garbage. The lane was completely drowned in the over-flowing drain. Dozens of little children run behind the kites, unmindful of the full garbage choked drain. Their parents were the least concerned about their safety. The locals, rich scrape dealers, taxi drivers were resting, undisturbed economically or psychologically due to the lockdown. "We are not worried about anything, and we have plenty of free supplies of everything by the government, amid the encroached lanes, filth and stink of the drains," murmured Chandni Bibi. The government was giving free ration, so no need to go to work and she has all the smiles on her face through the month of Ramzan.
In the evening after the breaking of the Roza, people distribute food and fruits outside a mosque. Every day a cow came there. Some naughty boys used to throw leftover or stale food to the cow to eat. But the cow never ate that food. A generous man gave a packet to cow to eat. However, surprisingly the cow did not eat but ran away towards the forest.
Next day, again the cow came. The naughty boys again threw leftover or stale food to the cow to eat. Again, the cow did not touch that food. Again, the same generous man gave a packet to cow to eat. However, the cow ate nothing and ran away towards the forest. This continued almost for a month.
One day, some people followed the cow. The running cow entered in a hut. Those people also entered into the hut. The cow gave that food packet to an old man, lying on a bed. The cow lifted a small bucket with her mouth and brought water to the old man from the village pond. All the people were surprised and bewildered.
They saw a bearded old man, only in skeleton lying on the bed. His legs were very thin and weak. He was wearing dirty rags.
"O baba, is the cow your's?"
"I have no cow. Shyama cow is my mother. Don't call her like this." Said the old man.
"Baba, every day she comes to us to take food for you. She may hit somebody. Where will we get a doctor here? Please keep I tied. From, tomorrow we will send food to you." Said those men.
"Food is not the issue. I can't stop her. Although, she does not understand my language but understand my 'So many fits of hunger.' After retirement, she is my only companion. Now, she is taking care of me like my mother. I was a teacher in the village school. Now I am retired..."
They came close to the bed of the old man. They were shocked to see the old man was their teacher Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma. They were ashamed of their conduct. They could not understand this love between the cow and the old man. The old man opened the packet with his frail hands and called "Shyama….my mother! Come and eat a little food."
The cow came running inside and started licking the hand of the old man. She ate nothing. Masterji opened the packet and took out the little share of the mother cow."
"Eat mother." Asked master Ji to the cow. The cow ate bread. Masterji also started eating. He was eating slowly. All were seeing him eating. They have no word to speak...
One of them said that "We forgot that you are living in this manner. If one's teacher lives in such conditions, all his prayers are useless."
They tried to give some money to Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma. However, self-respecting master Ji refused.
"Leave it children. Give it to those who need it more than me. I have my mother Shyama to take care of me."
Those people were surprised to see Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma. Today, man is not ready to give anything to his brothers but here a cow is sacrificing everything for an old man.
“What a man Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma is?”
After that day, those Muslims started to worship that peepal tree and started offering so that Pundit Ram Prasad Sharma and his mother Shyama are not slept with 'So many fits of hunger.'