A Helping Hand

A Short Story by G.S.Vasukumar

Sankar had a provisional shop. In this shop one could get almost anything from toothpaste to sugar or rice. He was honest and kept a low margin. Also he treated his customers well. They kept coming back to his shop again and again. Not just that, many new customers got added every now and then. So his business kept growing steadily. He started keeping newspapers, magazines and snacks.He never closed his shop. Not even on Sundays and other holidays. His wife used to grumble that while other husbands stayed with their wives on Sundays and other holidays, but he was the only one to work.

“Dear, let me get a good helping hand then I will stay at home on Sundays.” He replied.

“And when do expect to get the so called good helping hand?” She asked.

“I really don’t know,” He said, shrugging his shoulders. “I’m searching.”

“I hope you will find one soon.” She said.appriciation

One night, Sankar was returning home after closing his shop at 10.30 pm as usual. It was a clod winter night in the month of December. He saw a beggar shivering on the pavements. He felt sympathy for him took out one rupee coin and placed it before him. He took a few steps forward.

“Sir, I don’t need it.” The beggar said.

“Then what do you want?” Sankar asked, turning back and looking at the beggar.

“You see, I am not a beggar by birth. Like you, even I had everything before, but unfortunately I lost everything in an earthquake. So I left my village and came to this city hoping to start afresh. But sadly no one gave me any work. I had to starve for days. Finally, I was forced to beg.” He said.

“Oh, I see.” Sankar said, taking out a currency note. “Take this and go back to your village.”

“No, I don’t want to g back to my village.” He said, refusing the money. “I have no one left there.”

“Then what do you want me to do?” Sankar asked, shrugging his shoulders

“Sir, give me some work.” Said the stranger. “I assure you that I will work sincerely. Please…I’ll take whatever you give me in return.”Sankar stood staring at him for a while. His pleading eyes seemed to be telling him the truth.

“What is your name?” Sankar asked.

“Bhola…Bhola Ram.” He said.

“Bhola Ram, I will take you as my assistant in my provisional shop. But I am not sure how much I can pay you. I will decide that later.” Sankar said.

“No problem, sir.” He said. “I will join from tomorrow.”

“Here! Take this money; get yourself new cloths and a room to stay. I will meet you here tomorrow at 8.30 am. We will go to the shop together.” He said, giving him some money.

“Thank you, sir.” He said, taking it.
Sankar walked a few steps. He remembered something and he walked back to him.“Take this sweater,bhola .it will keep you warm.” He said, taking off his sweater and giving it to him.

“Thank you, sir.” He said, taking it.

Bhola Ram worked hard and sincerely in the shop. He managed everything and even took over the cashier’s counter. He managed it so well. Sankar started relaxing after many years. He used to read newspaper and magazines. After one month.

“Bhola Ram, here is your first month’s salary.” Sankar said, handing him two thousand fine hundred.

“Thank you, sir.” He said, taking it.

“Bhola, I have a suggestion,” Sankar said, “We have one vacant room in our house. I got it cleared this morning. I would like you to stay with us. Also my wife cooks nice food. I hope you would like it.”Bhola Ram was in tears. “I don’t know how to thank you, sir.” He said.

“It’s nothing, Bhola.You really deserve it. I only gave you a chance to prove yourself. So now go, pack your things and come back. We will go home together tonight. Also my wife is waiting to see you.”

“Yes, sir.” He said, wiping his tears