The tale of a clothier

Telugu original ‘Shashidhar’1 by: Dr Siri

Translated by: Atreya Sarma U

Cover of source book: Rakshasudi Padaraksha

Long ago there was a clothier by name Shashidhar in Varanasi. A man of good conduct and honesty, he always sold only quality textiles and at a fair price.

There was another cloth merchant in the same city. He was Karunakar, a man with a crooked temperament. He used to sell every item, including substandard ones, at a high price. He was greedy of getting rich and rich whether by hook or by crook.

Karunakar didn’t like Shashidhar who was always complimented by one and all for his integrity and business values.

Coming to know that the people in a neighbouring village were going to have a round of godly festivities shortly, and that they would be interested in buying new clothes, Shashidhar planned to visit that village next day along with his stock.

Karunakar, who always kept an eye on Shashidhar, got wind of the latter’s initiative. Bent on stymying Shashidhar in the business, he hurried all of a sudden with his entire stock of clothes to that village.

The villagers, who with no quality shops at their place were thinking of going to Varanasi to buy clothes, felt happy on seeing that a merchant from Varanasi himself had come to their doorstep. All of them bought the clothes from Karunakar without any murmur even as he quoted high prices. 

He stayed in the village until dusk and succeeded in selling off all the stock. With a pocket full of profit, and dancing on cloud nine for having spoiled the chances of Shashidhar, he returned to Varanasi.

The next day, as planned, Shashidhar proceeded to the village along with a bale of clothes. The villagers told him that only the day before all of them had bought their requirements, and they didn’t need to buy any more items. Thereupon, he started back.

As Shashidhar was crossing the village, he ran into a twosome.

“Who’re you? We’ve never seen you in this village. And what’s that stack in your hands?” one of them asked him, suspecting that he could be a thief.

“My name is Shashidhar. I am a cloth merchant from Varanasi. I came here to sell the clothes to the villagers,” he answered, gently.

“But the bundle reveals that you didn’t sell any item, did you?” asked the other one.

“You’re right, sir.  None of the items got sold. The villagers told me that they had already bought their requirements yesterday from another merchant who had come here. That’s why I am returning with my stock,” said Shashidhar, calmly.

“My goodness! So, you’re going back empty-handed. Don’t you feel pinched by going back with no earning at all? And how come you’re so cool in spite of it?” said the first one, with a bit of pain.

“No sir, I don’t feel so, for business is not just for money. It’s also a duty toward the people. A merchant needs to notice the people’s needs and accordingly supply the products to them. But I couldn’t make myself available to them in their time of need. That’s why I’m going back with the stock as it is. At least from now on, I’ll try my best to be aware of the customers’ needs and attend to them well in time.” Shashidhar replied, with a smile.

Impressed by the individuality and goodness of Shashidhar as also with his sense of duty toward the customers, the first of the strangers heartily congratulated him. He then revealed his and his companion’s identity. They were Dheera Pratap and Vidheya, the king and the minister respectively of the kingdom.

And the king bought out the entire stock from Shashidhar. Not only that. He also promised to order the entire royalty’s requirements from him, henceforth.

Shashidhar returned home, happily.

Coming to know of this development of the king himself buying the clothes from Shashidhar, Karunakar who had been overjoyed for marring the chances of Shashidhar, was now upset a lot. His evil design of sabotaging the sincere initiative of Shashidhar had finally become a tool in enhancing the latter’s good reputation. Karunakar’s grief redoubled, and he regretted his wrongdoing.

From then on, Karunakar gave up his habit of hoodwinking or dealing a blow to others, and began doing his business in a fair manner.

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1. Original Telugu story titled ‘Shashidhar’ from Rakshasudi Padaraksha (Ogre’s Shoes), a collection of Telugu stories by Dr Siri. Shashi Ram Publications, Miryalaguda, Dec 2019, pp 110, ₹ 100 / $ 3.

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Dr Siri

Dr Siri

Dr Siri is a prolific poet and writer, mainly for children. A dentist by qualification, she has been fully drawn into creative literature and service to the differently abled section of children. In recognition of her contribution to the field of children’s literature, the Telangana government feted her with the ‘Vishishta Mahila Puraskar’ for 2018. Some of her books have been translated into Hindi, Urdu and Tamil; and the translations into Marathi, Sanskrit, English, Kannada, and Koya are in press. With a view to acquainting the readers with her literary endeavours and philanthropic bent of mind, Atreya Sarma, Chief Editor of Muse India, engages her in the following conversation.


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