Old Mr. Pema Tshering had few to talk to, but he didnot consider himself lonely. He had a little vegetable garden at the back of his little cottage . He loved to tend to his vegetables and would visit the local market occasionally to get the pulses, and flour .
The neighbours considered him as a miser and a busy man all by himself. His jovial disposition surpassed his infirmities as noticed by his acquaintances.
Old Pema loved mangoes. So during summer, when the mandi downhill would be stocking ripe mangoes imported from the plains, Pema would visit a particular shop, owned by Prabhu ji. He would carefully pick and choose the mangoes.
Sometimes, when Prabhu ji visited him, he would offer him mango puddings and mango chutneys to carry back home. This was a welcome gesture specially meted out to Prabhu ji.
Pema Tshering visited the mandi sparingly, so when he remained unseen at the mandi for a length of time, it was Prabhu ji who would take note of it.
This year, the summer was heating up the hill station more than usual. The shops remained open but customers were noticeably fewer than usual.
The ripe mangoes however, had piled up at the shops, waiting their consumers to purchase and relish them. Old Pema was taking longer than usual to appear and visit Prabhu ji’s shop.
He appeared one evening out of the blue. He appeared a bit exhausted but bright and happy.
Puffing and sweating a bit, he addressed Prabhu ji, ” My boy, could you carry a sack of mangoes, the best ones available to my home. I am getting old and find it difficult to come down the hill most of the time..”
Prabhu ji readily agreed. He knew Pema’s neighbours were really not the helping kind.
After reaching the mangoes home, Prabhu ji was handed an envelope by Pema. He was requested to take care of the envelope and read it only after he was gone.
“Why don’t you call your relatives. Why do you trust me?”
Pema Tshering smiled and said, ” Because you are the one I have got . There have been none from my family, who have taken care of my needs as much as you!”
Following a week , Pema Tshering expired. Prabhuji took care of his last rites in accordance to the local Buddhist rituals.
One day, Prabhuji sat in Pema Tshring’s cottage, and opened the envelope that had been handed to him.
When he returned home, his wife couldn’t help but notice a change in him.
“Where have you been? The makaan walla had come to remind us of the pending rent. Where will we go now? “
“You seem different. What are you thinking of?”
Prabhuji’s eyes were brimming with tears when he turned to face his wife.
“We are blessed wife. We are indeed blessed. Pema Tshering has left his cottage to us, to live there, as long as we wish!”
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