A ticket collector in a train found an old worn out wallet in a compartment full of many people. He looked inside to find the name of its owner. There was no clue. All that there was in it, was some money and a picture of Krishna. He held it up and asked, “Who does this wallet belong to?”
An old man said, “That’s my wallet, please give it to me.” The ticket collector said, “You’ll have to prove that it is yours, only then I can hand it over to you.”
The old man smiled a toothless smile and said. “It has a picture of Krishna in it.” The ticket collector said, “That is no proof; anyone can have a picture of Krishna in his wallet. What is special about that? Why is your picture not there in it?”
The old man took a deep breath and said, “Let me tell you why my picture is not there in it. My father gave this wallet to me when I was in school. I used to get a small sum as pocket money then. I had kept a picture of my parents in it.
When I was a teenager I was greatly enamoured by my good looks. I removed my parent’s picture and put in, one of my own. I loved to see my own face and my thick black hair. Some years later, I got married. My wife was very beautiful and I loved her a lot. I replaced my own picture in this wallet with a picture of her. I spent hours gazing at her pretty face.
When my first child was born, my life started a new chapter. I shortened my working hours to play with my baby. I went late to work and returned home early too. Obviously, my baby’s picture occupied the prized position in my wallet.”
The old man’s eyes brimmed with tears as he went on. “My parents passed away many years ago. Last year my wife too left her mortal coil. My son – my only son is too busy with his family. He has no time to look after me. All that I had ever held close to my heart is far, far away from my reach now. Now I have put this picture of Krishna in my wallet. It is only now that I have realized that He is the eternal companion. He will never leave me. Alas! If only I had realized this before. If only I had loved the Lord all these years with the same intensity as I loved my family, I would not have been so lonely today!”
The collector quietly gave the wallet to the old man. When the train stopped at the next station, the ticket collector went to the book stall at the platform and asked the salesman, “Do you have any pictures of God? I need a small one to put in my wallet!”
*Thanks Viresh Barai and Akhil for this e mail.