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Masked Faces

Masked Faces


Rajiv, once a poor chap, had crossed the ocean and had arrived in a far away continent, where he had succeeded to make a small fortune by hard work and his own personal ability. When, a few years later, he returned home to his own country, he found on arriving at the town that all his relatives were at a nearby resort where there was a large party going on. No one noticed as he entered. Many overlooked even at the mere sight of his presence. No one was interested in him as they considered him of no use man in the family.

Watching the lights and the celebrations from outside, Rajib was very happy. He was happy to see his wife in a merry mood with many people around her. He had never seen them while being in India. He was also happy to watch the merry face of his wife. He longed to see the priceless smile on her lips. When he left the country, since then, he had never seen her face. Rajiv loved her wife. He was in such a happy mood and in the joy of the moment; he did not even bother changing his grey flannel suit which had become a little worn during the trip home. He had a little beard and moustache and unpolished shoes.

When he entered the brilliantly lit room his relatives and friends gave him a rather cold welcome because they had noticed his modest suit and dull appearance and immediately imagined that he had come back a same poor man. No one showed a warm attention and to his utter surprise, his wife and his only sister, for whom he had worked these days so hard was a little embarrassed to see him back as he came without any prior notice. He was considered as an odd man out in the midst of the pomp and grander.

A young boy who happened to be accompanying him was very irritated at this and said to Rajiv: "What a wonderful reception you have received from these people! They have not even the decency to shake your hand after all these years that you have been away from home. And I wonder how brutally you have worked these days in rain and tempest and accumulated a pie and pence for the smile of your family members."

"Just wait and see!" whispered Rajiv, "they will soon change their looks!" Saying this he slipped a precious diamond ring with rubies and emeralds circled it, on his finger. All of a sudden the faces of all those present lit up and immediately His wife hugged and kissed him in front of all guests and introduced her husband and addressed herself as one of the luckiest ladies of India. His sister leant her head on her brother’s shoulder. He gave away many gifts to them which he brought from abroad. He was surrounded by so many people that he didn't know what to do. A man shook his hand, a cousin threw his arms around him, and he had so many invitations from the people present that he thought that he would be unable to make any other appointments for several years.

"Has this beautiful, precious ring of yours the power of enchanting people?" asked the youth from abroad..

"Oh, no!" replied Rajiv, "They see in this glittering ring something that ensured them think I am rich, and, unfortunately, they place wealth above everything else. Before I get more shattered mentally, let me tell to my wife and sister that again, by tomorrow, I have to leave country for some urgent job. I can bear no longer these pretentions "

"What blind people!" exclaimed the boy! "It is not the ring that has drawn you to them but their desire for riches. Is it possible to appreciate more a piece of yellow metal surrounded by little stones than the goodness, love, affection, respect and dedication? And indeed how foolish are people who place their trust in riches rather than in virtues!"