One of those watches is behaving strangely. When I need it, it stops. All the time it runs perfectly; it stops only at night between three and five. Is that not strange behavior? – because that is the only time when I sometimes wake up – just an old habit. In my younger days I used to wake up at three in the morning. I did it for so many years that even if I don’t get up, I have to turn in my bed and then go back to sleep. That is the time when I need to see whether I should really get up, or I can still have a little more sleep; and strangely, that is when the watch stops.
Today it stopped exactly at four. I looked at it and went back to sleep; four is too early. After sleeping for almost one hour, I again looked at the watch: it was still four. I said to myself, “Great, so tonight is never going to end.” I went to sleep again, not thinking – you know me, I am not a thinker – not thinking that the watch may have stopped. I thought, “This night seems to be the last. I can sleep forever. Great! Just far out!” And I felt so good that it was never going to end that I fell asleep again. After two hours I again looked at the watch, and it was still four! I said, “Great! Not only is the night long, but even time has stopped too!”
The principal gave me his watch, and said, “Forgive me, because you certainly were the winner, and I must tell you that the man who was the judge is in love with the girl who won the prize. He is a fool. I say it, even though he is one of my professors and a colleague. This is the last straw. I am throwing him out right now. This is the end of his service in this college. This is too much. I was in the presidential chair, and the whole auditorium laughed. It seems everybody knew the girl was not even able to speak, and I think nobody except her lover, the professor, even understood what she was saying. But you know, love is blind.”
I said, “Absolutely right – love is blind, but why had you chosen a blind person to be the judge, particularly when his girl was a competitor? I am going to expose the whole thing.” And I exposed it to the newspapers, telling them the whole story. It was really troublesome for the poor professor – so much so that his love affair finished. He lost everything, his service, his reputation, and the girl for whose love he had staked everything – all was lost. He is still alive. Once, as an old man, he came to see me, and confessed, “I am sorry, I certainly did something wrong, but I never thought that it was going to take such a shape.”
I said to him, “Nobody knows what an ordinary action is going to bring to the world. And don’t feel sorry. You lost your service and your beloved. What did I lose? Nothing at all, just one more shield, and I have so many that I don’t care.”
In fact my grandmother’s house had become, by and by, just a museum for my shields, cups and medals; but she was very happy, immensely happy. It was a small house to be cluttered with all this rubbish, but she was happy that I went on sending her all my prizes, from college and from university. I went on and on, and every year I won dozens of cups, either for debate or for eloquence or for story telling competitions.