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12 O’ Clock (Part II)

I asked my friends, “What is the connection between Sardars and 12 O’ Clock?”
Prem told me, “We were at the receiving end of this joke about Sardars. A Sardar panicked at noon when both the hands of the clock were together thinking that one is lost. Probably, the hands were studded with diamonds and he was supposed to protect it. Since then all Sardars are being written off as fools. This mistake can be done by any small child or adult, who does not know clockwork mechanism. We do not know why Sardars have been involved in it.”
I replied, “I was told a different version. The mother of another friend of mine was working with a Muslim psychiatrist. This lady has been like my own mother. One day, a girl waiting in line in front of the clinic laughed at a Sardar, who walked past, shouting 12 O’ Clock. Aunty told this girl that she was making a mistake and also that we did not have the right to laugh at anyone. Aunty spoke to the doctor about it the moment he was free from his patients. She asked him why people behaved this way. The doctor told her about what he knew.”
The doctor’s story is interesting. But, I will share it another time. Coming back to the story he was talking about. Post his divorce, the doctor came to live alone in a shanty town. His neighbor was a Sardar and next to him lived a laborer. The laborer’s wife used to make a living by washing people’s utensils. They had 5 children. The Sardar had 2 sons and ran a transport business. He worked at night loading his trucks and would only return home at 12 PM. He was a very religious man and would wear all the customary insignia of being a Sikh.
The whole laborer family would make fun of the Sardar due to his timings. The Sardar liked to have plants in front of his home. He also had a small lawn in front of his home. He lived like a typical Punjabi. The Punjabi family would have their food together in front of their home on a cot. The laborer and his family felt jealous about the Sardars and the laborer’s children would defecate and urinate on the plants and near the cot. The Sardar would be angry and would enter the area at noon, shouting at the laborer’s children. The laborer and his wife would keep telling him that they are just children and they do not know anything.
The Sardar would ask, “How do they know that the dirtying should not be done in front of your house but mine?”
The quarrels and bickering increased, day by day. The laborer and his wife began to spread that the Sardar becomes insane at noon. Such things spread like fire.
To be continued…


About Yashaswini K

Controversy is the second name of Yashaswini. She goes where something is amiss and picks up the threads to make a clear story out of it. She has also written 2 books in the Radha Srinivasan Mystery Series.

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