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Chapter 17: Playing a Part in the Movie

But facilities don’t help sleep. The emperor’s mind is so worried, so tense - so many problems which seem to be insoluble. And he has to face them the next morning. He has to find some way out of the jungle in which he is lost. The beggar has no problem; at the most he has to beg. That he has been doing - he has become an expert.

One day, a man was passing over a bridge and he saw a blind man. He was in a good mood - he had just got an increase in his pay scale - so he gave one rupee to the blind man. The blind man looked at the rupee, turned it upside down and said, “This is not authentic.” The man could not believe it. He said, “You are blind!”

The blind man said, “To tell you the truth, my friend is blind, but today he has gone to see a movie, so I am just tending his shop. As far as I am concerned, I am deaf. In the beginning I also used to be blind, but people were cheating: they would give false coins, and I could not object because of my blindness. I knew that they were cheating, so I changed my profession; I became deaf. But this place is very profitable, and my friend asked me, ‘Just for three hours I am going to a matinee show. You just look after my place so somebody else does not occupy it.’”

The beggars don’t have many worries. Even if they want to change their profession, it is very easy. And you don’t know one thing, that you may be a possession of a certain beggar.

That I came to know because I was continuously traveling, and on the station there used to be a old beggar. It had become a routine that whenever I came I would give him one rupee, and whenever I left I would give him one rupee - and I was continually coming and going.

But one day I saw a young man standing in place of the old man. I said, “What happened to the old man?”

He said, “I got married to his daughter.”

I said, “That’s okay, but where is the old man?”

He said, “He has given his profession as a dowry to me. Now you belong to me.”

I said, “Belong?”

He said, “Yes, because all the beggars in the city have their territory. People don’t know to whom they belong but we have divided our customers. You just give me one rupee. Don’t waste my time unnecessarily, because there are other customers coming. My father-in-law has given me the whole list of those who are his permanent customers and how much they give, and he told me, ‘Don’t settle for less.’”

I said, “This is a revelation. I will give you more than I used to give to your father-in-law, because you have made me aware of one thing which nobody knows - that people are the property of some beggar - customers. And beggars are giving you in dowries to somebody else; they are not even being asked.”

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