Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Three Good Men (Joke)

Three friends - a pandit, a mullah and a nihang - head out towards Anandpur Sahib to attend the Hola Mohalla fair. It's a bit of a trek from their village, and they expect it to take a couple of days.

The pandit's wife, known for her cooking, has prepared a pot of kheer (rice pudding) for their journey. The trio, anticipating the sumptuous delicacy en route, sets off eagerly and each willingly takes his turn in carrying the heavy pot.

At sundown, they decide to take a break. Exhausted, they decide to sleep right away, and agree to save the kheer for a hearty breakfast in the morning.

The sun wakes them up. They quickly wash up in a nearby stream, and then gather around the pot.
"Before we begin", pipes up the pandit, "I have something to tell you."

The other two look at him and nod.

The pandit explains: "Last night, I had a dream. And in my dream, Lord Krishna appeared. He expressed approval of all that I do at the temple. He was pleased by the prayers I sing in his honour everyday. And ... and he has asked me to give the two of you a message. He said he was so happy with me that he wanted to reward me. So, he asked me to ask you to let me eat half of the kheer in the pot. Now, I'm not being greedy or anything. I know my fair share would entitle me only to a third. But this what he told me to tell you. It's up to you ..."

He looks around at the other two. The mullah straightens the cap on his head, re-arranges the shawl around his shoulders, clears his throat, and says:

"Well, pandit-ji, I appreciate what you've just said. You are so blessed. And I would like to agree. But... but, you see, I too had a dream. And in my dream, the Holy Prophet Muhammad - may peace be upon him - appeared. And he too was extremely pleased with my service. He knew of the work I have done amongst my flock, and he liked the fact that I have said my prayers faithfully five times everyday. And he too wanted to reward me. Friends, this is the truth - I swear - he has asked me to ask you to let me eat the whole kheer! Not just my one-third share, but all of it. He felt I deserve it because of my life of service. This is not my desire, but this is what the Holy Prophet - may peace be upon him - wants you and me to do. Now that I've done my bit in conveying his message, I'm fine with whatever you decide." He wrings his hands, and awaits their verdict.

Both the pandit and the mullah turn to the nihang. He seems to be immersed deep in thought, as he quietly draws figures on the ground with his toe.

The two wait for him to speak. He remains silent, still lost in thought. A full minute goes by, and he hasn't looked up once. They wait and fidget, until they can wait no more.

"Well," burst out the pandit and mullah in chorus, "what do you say, Singh ji?"

"Anything you decide, we'll abide by it," adds the pandit. The mullah nods.

Finally, the nihang breaks from his reverie and looks up for a brief moment, and then goes back to doodling in the dust.

"I heard you, dear pandit-ji, and you too, dear mullah sahib. I have immense respect for Krishan-ji and for the Holy Prophet as well. But here's my dilemma..."

He goes silent for what appears to be an eternity. Jogged back with a "huh?" from the pandit, he continues ...

"I too had a dream. And a beautiful one too. In my dream, Guru Gobind Singh - the Lord of the White Falcon, the Rider of the Blue Charger - he appeared in my dream and blessed me. He too was aware of my life-work - of all the times I have risked my life to defend the weak, to protect the poor. He knew of all of my seva ... I didn't have to tell him a thing. And, you know, he expressed a desire to reward me. I didn't ask. This was on his own volition, I assure you ...."
His voice faded. The mullah nudged him back with a "Ji...?"

"The Great Guru wanted me, as my reward, to be given all the kheer. All of it."

All sit quietly for a while. The pandit and the mullah look at each other, resigning themselves to a one-third share each. The latter leans forward, reaching out for the pot, when the nihang pipes up:

"Wait! I'm not finished. So, once the Great Guru told me what he'd like me to do, he became adamant about it. I hesitated, obviously, because I wanted to be fair to the two of you. But, the Guru Sahib was unhappy about my hesitation. He grabbed me by my arm and took me to the kheer pot and insisted that I eat the kheer, all of the kheer, there and then, right before his very eyes. "Son, eat it now," he said. So, dear friends ....Sorry! But, what else could I do?"

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