Once upon a time a rich man in a small town was standing on the terrace of his house and smoking a cigarette. While doing so he was also basking under the evening sun and reminiscing the hard struggle that he had undergone during his lifetime, to earn his reputation and standing in the society. While inhaling a puff each time, it appeared, as if he was remembering every challenge of his life. And while exhaling, how he countered the challenges.
Just then a scholar was passing by on the road. He stopped for a moment, and looked up at the rich man and asked, ‘Hey you!! why are you smoking. Don’t you know it is harmful for health?’
‘Yes I know. Yet I smoke, because I like it.’
‘And since how many years have you been smoking?’
‘For the last twenty years.’ replied, the rich man, in a jovial tone.
‘And how many cigarettes do you smoke each day?’
‘Say about two packets, which is about twenty cigarettes.’
‘And how much does a packet cost?’
The rich man thought for a moment and then gingerly replied, ‘Say about two rupees.’
‘That means you spend about four rupees a day, which in twenty years with interest will be somewhere around thirty five thousand rupees.’
‘Yes I know. I am a businessman.’ Curtly, replied the rich man.
‘And what other vices do you have?’ asked the scholar in a concerned tone.
‘I also drink?’
‘Drink!! That is really bad. But, how much do you drink?’
‘A pint a day. That costs some ten rupees, and that too I have been drinking for the last twenty years.’
The scholar was astonished. He halted for a moment to calculate and then said, ‘That means you have wasted another ninety thousand on drinks.’
‘So what, and how does it matter?’ asked the rich man.
The scholar, by now was irritated at the rich man, and he decided to give him his peace of mind. He said,
‘Hey you!! Don’t you know. Both cigarettes and drinks are extremely harmful for health. Plus you have wasted over a lac of rupees on your vices. Had you saved all this. You could have bought this house, atop which you are standing so proudly.’
The rich man looked at the scholar in amusement. Took a deep puff and said,
‘Dear passerby. This house is mine, my vices are mine and I’m in good shape.’ But who are you to ask these questions?
Moral of the story: No matter how intelligent you are. Avoid, unsolicited and free advice to others.
Refrain: Smoking and drinking is harmful for health.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
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