Siddharth - a middle aged 30+ year old executive with a clean shave, creased shirt, expensive tie & watch, gelled hair, listening to slow peaceful music in his sedan and a feel of content on his face – starts for work from his home after seeing off his wife post breakfast. He’s smiling to himself thinking about the last evening he spent with her and today’s yet-to-happen office madness.

He stops at a signal and is in the same ‘content’ mood, when his day dream is interrupted rudely by a sharp tap on the window by a young 20 something beggar. He shouts and says ‘Sala ye 5 rupye ke sikkey se 5 hazaar ka sheesha phodega kya’. The beggar does what he’s best at – curls his fingers to show the universal sign of helplessness, puts up a defeated, depleted, hungry and worn off face to ask for money to have his breakfast. Apparently per him he’s hungry for 2 days and says ‘Bhagwaan ke naam pe de de kuch’.

Siddharth couldn’t help noticing a packet of ‘beedi’ sticking out his shirt pocket but still goes ahead to dish out some loose change. As he rolls the window down and hands it to the beggar, he’s astonished to see him count and say, ‘kya saab, itni lambi gaadi aur bheekh mei 8 rupye dete ho, kya zamana aa gaya hai.. Bhagwaan ke naam pe bas 8 rupye?’

Our hero yet to come out of this rude shock, is jolted when he realizes the signal’s turned green and everyone’s horn is cursing him from behind. He can’t stop wondering- is there a value to God’s name & is it INR 8, INR 80, INR 800, INR 8000, USD, CAD, GBP or what?

Day begins with a coffee and his daily round of chit chat with the folks on the floor. Though they have been there for ages, he couldn’t stop noticing the different figurines of Gods and Goddesses or pictures etc on most workstations. Some he wonders cost 5 bucks and some silver ones near 10,000. Irony – folks lowest in grade worship the most and the boss has only his certificates on the walls.

Time to drive back home with his tie loose and sleeves up, Siddharth takes a smoke break mid way and is just thinking. A tap on his elbow distracts him – a little fella sporting a false mustache with a running nose and a battered bag asks him if he can sing & dance for him in exchange for a rupee. The feel of morning Déjà Vu grips our hero and he obliges. What he hears the little one sing leaves him astounded – he wonders when was the last time he heard ‘Saare Jahan se accha, Hindustan hamara’. The kid had asked for a rupee, but Siddharth couldn’t help offer a hundred.

With a smile, the singer in making says he has no change and waited for that rupee. Sidhharth handed it out and was left with a feeling hard to pen here.. No money was good enough for God’s name in the morning when begged, it varied across his office with different figurines with varying values (and faith in direct proportion maybe!) and here’s a young chap who should be in school or a playground – earning his living by singing all day for a rupee each time. Irony.. and personified so much.

The story my friend – isn’t of money or our hero, well it’s of the irony they both bring..

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