FORGETFUL SON-IN-LAW | By: shweta yammada | | Category: Short Story - Children Bookmark and Share


In a small village of Dabbapadu there lived a simpleton whose name was Raju. He belonged to the priestly family whose day began early at the break of dawn when the rooster first crowed - cock-a-doodle-doo,cock-doodle-doo. His father was a priest of the village temple and therefore hurriedly performed his early morning rituals before setting out to the temple to perform his priestly duties there. While his mother took her bath and set about preparing the prasadam (an offering to God) before she attended to any of her other house-hold chores.


This she sent through Raju to the temple where his father had by then finished reciting the early morning hymns and chants to invoke the Lord's blessings. The prasadam would then be offered to the Lord while Raju rang the great temple bells with great vigour. After thus helping in the morning arathi and having partaken of a small portion of the prasad Raju sat near the tortoises enclosure in the temple offering them cabbage leaves. There were almost twenty of them. He had been feeding them for as long as he could remember. Devotees who visited the temple had great faith in them considering them to be the Kurma avatar of Lord Vishnu and hence used to bring cabbages to the temple to be given to the tortoises. They believed that by doing thus they would be rewarded with good luck.


Slowly Raju grew to be of marriageable age and however much his father tried to teach him the slokas and hymns he could not remember any of them. However hard he tried he just could not not master them. Meanwhile his mother had also grown old and fragile and so could not perform her daily duties with the same fervour. Also their kith and kin brought forth various proposals of beautiful brides of the same community. So Raju's parents finalised the match of a  fair girl called Ratna whom they liked and also Raju liked. The marriage was performed in the neighbouring village of Draksharam where Ratna's family lived. It was conducted with all the rituals and ceremonies in place and all the guests from the bride-groom's side were treated with due honour and respect. Raju's parents were happy and contented that they had indeed found a good match for their simple son.


After the marriage the bride followed the bride-groom's party to  Dabbapadu to now make her home with her in-laws. She was an intelligent girl and moulded herself well with her new home. She took on her duties with such aplomb that she left no room for complaint from her mother-in-law. Soon Diwali was approaching and was the custom the bride's family arrived  with lots of sweets and gifts to take their daughter home for her first festival after marriage. Raju was to go on Diwali day and celebrate the festival there in his in-law's place and then return with his wife.


The day of the festival dawned and Raju was to go to Draksharam. His mother knowing about his son's simple nature and forgetfulness instructed him in many ways how to behave himself and offer his respects to his Father-in-law and Mother-in-law.


Raju kept repeating pranam (respects) to Father-in-law, pranam to mother-in-law lest he should forget. He kept repeating this line pranam to father-in-law, pranam to mother-in-law over and over again while walking so that he made no mistake. he wanted to impress his in-laws with his good behaviour. Soon he came across "Chotu", a boy who gathered flowes for the temple deity. The boy asked him,"Anna, what are you chanting?". Raju said,"I am going to my in-laws place to celebrate Diwali and mother told me to offer my pranams to father-in law and my pranams to mother in law ,Chotu", replied Raju.


But alas, he had been interrupted in his journey and he quite forget what he had to say. Now he kept repeating Father-in-law ki Chotu, Mother-in-law ki Chotu. This was till he reached a flowing stream. He was very thirsty and wanted to drink water to quench his thirst. So he went to the stream and saw there some ducks who were swimming gaily as they were saying "Quack-Quack". Raju drank the cool water to his heart's content and resumed on his journey. But alas, he had been interrupted in his journey and he quite forgot what he had to say. Now he kept repeating Quack to Father-in-law, Quack to Mother-in-law.


Soon he reached Draksharam and to the house where his in-laws stayed. Ratna had been waiting for him at the gate eagerly to receive him warmly. As soon as he saw his Father in law and Mother in law he touched their feet respectfully saying Quack to Father in law, Quack to Mother in law. His in-laws were puzzled by his behaviour and did not quite understand what their son in law had meant. But Ratna being very clever immediately came to her husband's rescue and told them that Raju had in his all humility offered them koti pranams to both his father-in-law and mother-in-law.


Therefore his father-in-law and mother-in-law were both very happy to have got such a dutiful son-in-law and hugged him and served him the choicest of sweet dishes hand-made by his mother-in-law to welcome him for his first festival with them. They also presented him with clothes and a gold ring for the occasion.

And Raju returned home with his wife Ratna happy that he had indeed managed to impress his in-laws.






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