Lalchan was a poor farmer who worked hard on his tiny farm. He sold milk, ghee and the produce of his land to look after this wife and three children. Sometimes he would cut bundles of grass, stack them on his old donkey cart and take them to the large farms. There he would sell the grass and earn extra money for his family.

 

One early morning, after his routine morning rounds on his farm, Lalchan sat ouside of his hut, on the dirt-track lamenting loudly: “Oh my Dakhandeyal, Oh my dear. I will miss you!”

 

Tears flowed copiously from his eyes. This was an unusual sight for Lalchan who was always working hard from dawn to dusk.

A neighbor passed by and called out to him:

“Lalchan boy,’ What’s the matter? Why are you in this sorrowful state?”

Without looking up he answered: “Dakhandeyal mar gaya. He is dead. What will I do?”

As he spoke, he could not control himself. He broke down uncontrollably into gasps.

The neighbor felt great compassion for Lalchan. He sat on the road next to him and tried to console him. Within a few minutes he found himself crying along with Lalchan. Both appeared to be in deep sorrow.

A short while later, another neighbor passed by and saw both men in deep gloom. He too asked: “Kyaa huaa? Why are you in this condition? What’s the matter?”

By now Lalchan felt so aggrieved that he could not speak. His neighbor answered “Dakhandeyal is dead”. Then he burst out in a loud wail. “Oh my Dakhandeyal! I miss you, Why did you have to go?”

The second neighbor was gripped in sorrow at such a tear-filled scene. He thought the best way he could express his sympathy was to join Lalchan and the mourning neighbor. He too sat next to them both and joined them in weeping.

Soon another and another and another neighbor came and questioned. The response was the same. Long lines of mourners gathered, all in apparent grief of Dakhandeyal. Everyone was pouring out their mournful expressions in their own way. A few of them had even shaved their heads as a mark of respect for the dead. This sombre scene was so mournful that the faces of the mourners reflected only despair and misery.

After a while, Roshan a young child, on his way to school saw the long line of people at the side of the road, each one with tear-filled eyes. There were old men, young men, old women, babies with their mothers, as well.

Roshan was perplexed. He asked himself in wonderment,” What is going on here? Why are all these people crying? Why have the men clean shaven their heads?” However, his biggest question was: “Who has died?”

He dared not ask aloud since everyone was engrossed in their lamentations. But he was determined to seek some enlightenment so he decided to join the group of mourners. Carefully walking through the long line of mourners, he sat at the end, next to an old woman, embroiled in grief.

After a few minutes, he spoke softly to her “ Nanee, kyaa huaa? What’s the matter?” The old woman stopped her cries and responded in a soft tone, “Beta (Son), Dakhandeyal.”

Roshan expressed his sympathy. “O my! I am so sorry. But nanee, can you tell me who is Dakhandeyal?”

The old woman looked at him and answered “Dakhandeyal mar gaya, beta. Mar gaya. Dakhandeyal has died, my son. He has died!” And she burst out in loud anguish.

“Ha! Mar gaya. Dakhandeyal mar gaya!”

Roshan became even more confused. He patted the old woman softly, comforted her until she regained her composure. Then he asked her again: “But nanee, just one more question. Who is Dakhandeyal?”

The lady looked at him as if she was stopped by a raakshas( demon). She said “Dakhandeyal?. Let me find out.”

So she whispered to the mourner next to her “Dakhandeyal kaun hai? Who is Dakhandeyal?”

He did not know and asked the person next to him. He too did not know and passed on the question. To cut a long story short, every mourner passed on the question until it reached to Lalchan, the very first mourner.

Immediately, he stood up and cried aloud “Dakhandeyal is my donkey. My donkey is no more. My gadaha is dead. Eh-heh-heh!” He cried out louder than ever.

All the men looked at each other, then felt their bald heads saying “A donkey, A Gadaha?”

One of them asked himself “I cut off all my hair for a gadaha? And all of us crying for a gadaha?”

Roshan walked away smiling to himself saying “all of you are gadaha. You should not follow blindly”.

From this little kheesaa( story) we learn that we should act with gyaan( knowledge), with full understanding. We must not act blindly.