Buddhadeo and the three boons

When Buddhadeo wasted two boons that God had granted him, on  ‘baingan bharta’ and a cart, his wife flew into a terrible rage. What happened next?

In a small village in eastern India there once lived a man named Buddhadeo. He was, without doubt, one the most intelligent men in that village.

He was creative and he always came up with great ideas to deal with life’s many problems. But for all his talents, Buddhadeo was a poor man with no job and no income. He was a lazy man who thought more and worked less or not at all. This, of course, made his wife unhappy.

“You good-for-nothing husband of mine! Why don’t you get up and do some work for a change? What good are your ideas if you can’t use them to earn some money?” she screamed at him every morning before she went to work in the fields.

Buddhadeo never replied. He would wait for her to leave before he made his way to the village square, where he sat under a tamarind tree all day. And there he spent many hours talking. Life was good and he wasn’t complaining.

One day, his wife’s anger turned to rage. She yelled and screamed; she abused and insulted him. When she started throwing pots and pans at him, he decided to leave the house.

“You silly woman! I haven’t had a moment’s peace in this house! I am going to the jungle to live with tigers and leopards. Surely, they will be better company!” shouted  Buddhadeo.

“Good, good! I really like the idea! But tell me who is going to cook your food and wash your clothes?” she asked him with evil delight.

The man thought for a while. He came up with a great idea. “God. I am going to do penance,” he said with a smile. He took all his possessions, made a bundle and tied it to one end of a stick that rested on his shoulder.

Buddhadeo did penance for many years. He was so sincere and earnest that God was pleased. He appeared before the man who was in deep meditation.

“Open your eyes, Buddhadeo! I am pleased with you and hence I grant you three boons. Wish for whatever you want and be happy for the rest of your life!”

Saying that, God disappeared. Buddhadeo could not believe what had just happened. He decided to return to his village. He started the long trek back to the village. After walking for an hour or so, he grew tired.

“God, I am going to wish for a bullock cart to take me home,” he called out looking up at the sky.

What a surprise! In a flash there appeared a bullock cart before him. Joyously, he climbed into it and made his way out of the jungle.  An hour later and still a long way from the village, he felt thirsty and hungry. He stopped his cart by a stream and drank some water. He thought of the delicious food made in the village dhaba.

“Ummm, I wish I could now eat baingan-ka-bharta and tandoori rotis!” Even before he uttered the words, a big takeaway packet of his favourite food landed on his lap. Buddhadeo stuffed himself in ecstasy and continued his journey back home.

It was late that evening when Buddhadeo reached home. With shining eyes, he told his wife the story. He hoped to see a smile on her face. Instead, she flew into a rage.
“You stupid oaf! You have used up two boons on a cart and baingan bharta! How incredibly dumb can you be?” she cried in rage. Her face was crimson and purple.

“I knew you would shout when you heard of my first two wishes. I am not that stupid! Hear my third wish! O God, please grant me my third wish. Please grant me three more boons!” Buddhadeo said with a cunning smile.

Of course, God could not go back on his promise. He granted Buddhadeo  three more boons. And this chain of wishes continued for Buddhadeo whose third wish was always for three more wishes.

God knew he was in trouble. So, he offered the clever man a place in heaven. Buddhadeo readily accepted the offer and lived happily ever after in paradise!

Published in  Deccan Herald’s Weekend Supplement, Open Sesame, dt. May 18, 2012

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