WHO STOLE THE COOKIES? by Dr. Alex Mathew – THE CA

THE CA

CA is my private acronym for Con Artist; not in any way thinking derogatory about actual CAs. I watched one in operation the other day while on a train journey. There were a few people in the cubicle; everything everybody said was audible to others unless one took great care to be especially secretive. I certainly did not want to snoop into what was going on between the two gentlemen sitting right across me. The man sitting by the window seat was deep in thought and it was obvious that this man was nursing some sad thoughts. At times he pursed his lips and the look on his face took a hard line. He must be angry too. The man sitting next to him edged closer and I could see he was hoping to strike up a conversation. He smiled purposefully; at least, I thought so. The man at the window sat as if in a trance with his open palms in his laps. I felt he was hoping someone will place something in his hands or was it an expression of hopelessness? The man next to him kept looking at the palms and said “Sir, your lines shows you are in trouble; some kind of pain?” “Anyone with a basic understanding of human nature could have said that”, I said to myself. I was an onlooker and could not help hearing and noticing what was going on. As a people-watcher, I must confess, I felt inclined to predict the manner this talk was about to take off and progress. Man at the window shook himself up and came to earth and turned his eyes toward the new benefactor. For the first time there was some sort of life taking color in his face. A suggestion of a smile crossed his face and he kept looking with confused interest for a few seconds. He did not attempt to say anything but there were wonder and a dawning interest. “Oh, I couldn’t help noticing your palm. You have gone through much. This person you are thinking about; you know the world, it is like this in most cases. But then there are means to be free from pain, you know?” The eyes of the man in pain opened with new interest, there were signs of increased blinking life in them. The next sentence was meant to be a prophecy and I saw the trap being laid for his victim. “Don’t worry sir; things will clear out in three months” Now our man was clearly interested and it looked like he was searching for the right word to form within him. Before he could articulate his thoughts his new friend said “This person you are worried about is not an ordinary person for you. You need much luck and God’s mercy to be sure. You know?”” “Yes I know”. The words came real slow for the evident interest, like he was in conflict about his thinking and saying it out. The clamor of the wheels became louder for a moment, I felt. The silence was screeching with the increased rattling. My ears sharpened to any possible word from our man in pain (MIP). Again the man in benefactor role (let me call him MIB) came out before any word escaped from MIP. “You know, it is like this in this the world. Your goodness is rewarded with thanklessness. It is very painful, you know?” I have seen life and have been through too much. You know! My own people!. Oh that is the way of the world”. MIB really didn’t say anything fresh or revealing, but MIP was impressed to the point of hurrying to put in his bit. “You are very correct; I never thought my own father will act so heartless” MIB visibly brightened up. The fish was biting his bait. There definitely was a pull on his line. He edged closer to the least possible gap between them and his whole face was practically into the chin of our MIP. From that point there was no stopping MIP. His tongue was loosened and his story unfolded. He worked many years in a poor neighboring country. His earnings were meager yet he would keep sending whatever he could to his people. There was a feeling in the family that he was rich and getting a fat salary. His explanations to the contrary were never accepted. His people felt he had stacked away heaps of money in banks all over the land. Whenever he comes on leave spending his own money for air tickets, they all would expect costly presents to each. If he gives a shirt to his nephew, his mother would snidely ask “Where should he now go for a pair of pants?” A sari for his sister would generate the same doubt, “Whom should she ask for a blouse piece?” “You didn’t have to bring anything for me; the wrist watch you gave my brother last time is not working any more. Why bother to bring such things anyway?” I stomached all that without any complaints. On one such occasion I blurted out, ‘right, right, I don’t give anything to anyone. You also do not have to give me anything’. That was out of disgust” My mother took that statement very seriously and kept saying ‘he does not want anything from any one’ and then in a sideway instruction she would convey the idea to my father that I was not expecting anything from the family. She meant I was not interested in any part of the ancestral property. My father took that literally and planned things in that line” “Oh, oh, you were ruined even before you started your life” The sympathy from MIB was so soothing. As if goaded by an unseen whip, MIP became eloquent and started describing the raw deal he got from his family and how heartless was his own father toward him, practically disinheriting him and giving away most of the property between his siblings. The trauma was severe especially because MIP had two children in professional colleges. There was a streak of goodness in one of his brothers who also got nothing because he squandered a huge chunk of property in wayward living. In fact this brother’s children were the chief beneficiaries because his mother and father were looked after by them in their advanced age. In fact I have no complaints about all that. Now I am going to a University office in connection with the admission of my child into a master’s program. I was just thinking. That is all. I do not have enough money to pay for the donation in the medical college. If I had one decent piece of land I could have sold that. The only of piece of worthless land in interior place my father has given me will fetch practically nothing. My nephews are blocking the sale of that plot also and asking me to sell the land to them only. I was thinking of the unfairness of it all!” “I tell you what”. MIB took over and was now in control. “I know a woman who can predict what these people are up to so that you can prevent all future damages by your relatives. She is a prayer warrior and prays for deliverance from evil. The devil will not be able to touch you. She is very powerful. I can bring her to your home and she will do the prayer and holy cleansing. You do not have to give her anything. May be she might accept her traveling expenses. This cleaning has to be done for three times, once in a month. That is all”. The trap was now laid tight and I felt any day the MIB will materialize at the home of the poor MIP for scooping in prayer remuneration. “The lady will come to deliver me from the devil? Is this what you are trying to tell me sir?” MIP said with a hesitant change in tone. His eyebrows were knit and I gleaned a sour look spreading across his face. MIB was unaware of the subtle change. “Yes”. MIB was all enthusiasm. “You tell me the day and I must bring her to your place” MIP’s words were surer and carried an air of dignity. The self-pity was gone. He slowly and distinctly enquired “Sir, what did you say your name was?” “I am Joseph Thomas. People call me Thomasji. I also have a prayer group. Our ministry is for the defeated Christians, There are so many defeated among us, you know? We have a burden for them. Every Thursday evening we assemble at our house to pray for the defeated.” “Thank you Thomasji. I am in some pain, for a moment I was taken away by my pain, but I am far from defeated Thomasji. I am convinced the devil will not approach my tent. I am sure you know Psalm.91”. “Well brother, I was just telling you, you know?” Thomasji started fumbling. Was he just telling? Was he? You could have easily fallen in Thomaji’s trap? Did BIP handle it right? What would have been your response to Thomasji’s calculated endearments? Think

© Alex Mathew

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