Sunday, September 16, 2018

Muthu's Heirloom Story (穆都家乘故事)

I am telling this story without the consent from Muthu so I will just reconstruct a little bit. The core of the story remains as it is. Anyway, I only heard this story once so I will try to be as faithful as possible:

Muthu's great grandpa, Gopal was from Tamil Nadu, Southern India. Gopal traveled to Mumbai with his uncle when he was still 10 years old to work in a restaurant. There Gopal worked as cheap labor and he was glad to have a job. Gopal's job was to maintain the cleanliness of the restaurant at first and gradually as helpers in the kitchen and waiter as he came of age.

One day an old man came to the restaurant and after having a sumptuous meal he found that he has forgotten to bring money. The old man pleaded to Gopal as to let him return to get his money and the good hearted Gopal not only let the old man go off but insisted that the old man need not pay.

Gopal's boss learnt about Gopal's deed, Gopal was scolded and his salary was deducted causing he was not being paid for that month. 

One evening as Gopal was squatting in a corner at the back of the restaurant nibbling at a piece of hardened bread, the old man came to him. He introduced himself as Halim and he wanted to repay Gopal's debt.

Halim introduced himself as a magi and he asked Gopal to meet him the next evening after work Gopal agreed and they met at outskirt of Mumbai. There Halim gave Gopal some money and said to Gopal: "Take this money my son. You can keep it for later use but I advice you to buy a white goat and do as I ask you..."

Gopal thought it was harmless to follow Halim's guide and he slaughtered the white goat to Iblis. At first the duration of the pact was 3 years as Gopal thought that the price of white goat was a little high for him.

Two years later, a young lady came to the restaurant to take her dinner. This time she too forgot to bring money. Again, Gopal let the lady went off. This time Gopal's boss didn't scold Gopal. Instead he escorted the lady out to a trishaw.

Gopal later learnt that the lady was the sole daughter of a rich jewelry merchant of Mumbai. At that time, Gopal didn't think otherwise then. A few days later, the lady came to the restaurant again and after a few visits; Gopal and the lady became lovers. They married one year later.

And, suddenly Gopal became rich and famous. He renewed his contract with a longer contract. As time goes by, Gopal took over his father-in-law's business and his business grew and grew. He further married three more wives during the process.

Upon expiration of the contract, this time Gopal requested for unlimited time extension and the Iblis agreed but requested to be offered one white goat a year in Mumbai. Then Gopal was at the height of his career with a lot of money to spare. The price of a white goat felt nothing to him. What Gopal failed to foresee was that all of his 11 offspring were so engrossed in their luxury lives and the entertainments. Not only no one made any promised offerings to the Iblis, they also failed to focus on their family business.

Perhaps it was due to Iblis, or purely negligence; Gopal's business took a downhill dive after Gopal died. Added to the problems was the already dwindling family business being divided further into smaller businesses. Muthu's father got a fairly small portion of the total heritage but it was enough for the family to sustain a small business.

Muthu's parents moved to Malaysia in 1950's and started their business until today. Now Muthu's business is reduced to one quarter of a shop lot downtown Penang. I doubt even Iblis can revive Muthu back to his great grandpa's glory. I bet you have not heard anything like this. 

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