(A short story based on a true event)
(Names changed to maintain privacy)
However bad the situation would be, or how much ever life would crush him under its foot, the only vow he had been sticking to since he was a teenager was “never to steal from others.” Arasan never wanted to follow the footsteps of his father, a pickpocket who died in police custody leaving behind 4 children and a wife without any wealth or means of livelihood.
Unfortunately, Arasan was the epitome of bad luck. His life was kind of jinxed always and he failed irrefutably in whatever he tried his hands at. The sizing mill he worked for shut down, his transport vehicle was stolen, and he had already sold all the gold his wife had brought with her when they got into wedlock. One meal a day was the biggest miracle his family has been witnessing for more than a year now.
Today, lying beside his 6-year-old sick daughter the only choice Arasan seemed to have was to break his vow of 20 years. He either can save his daughter or lose her and live the rest of his life with a bloated ego of having successfully lived an uncompromising life.
His father had taught Arasan the skill before he could realise the difference between right and wrong. But since the day he had his senses in place he hadn’t stolen a thing, which was a conscious decision.
Lakshmi, his wife, at this juncture was least bothered about the source of money. All that she wanted was some cash on hand to save her only child. The kid was very special to both of them, as she was born after many years and after a lot of prayers.
Arasan held his wife’s hand, and said, “don’t worry, I will be back with the money,” as he left. Lakshmi’s face lit up with hope as she sat beside her ailing little girl who was struggling to breathe now.
“There isn’t anything wrong stealing from the rich,” was Arasan’s father’s second advice to him. So he goes to a place, where people would possibly carry loads of cash – the market square. Arasan spots a middle-aged man with a fat wallet and targets him. He picks his wallet successfully and tries to slide away, just then a 5-year-old dressed as a cop with a plastic gun in his hand chases his friend shouting ‘thief, thief.’ Arasan panics and starts to run in the opposite direction of the road and is hit by speeding jeep, followed by a truck that runs over him. Arasan sees flashes of his wife and his ailing daughter before his eyes starts to close slowly staring at the fat cash-filled wallet he is still holding in his hand. ‘Escaping is more important than stealing,’ his father’s 1st advice was resonating in his ears as he laid there helplessly.
“He deserves to die,” comments a passerby looking at Arasan, and that is the last thing he hears before he breathes his last.