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Adi & Praja 066

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 7

Issue 66: Shano’s visit

But soon he found that this would definitely bring him downhill, becoming addicted and unable to work. He was clever enough to discontinue the practice almost immediately.


(Shano visits his village and goes back to town)

When he came back to his parents home in the main holiday, after almost a year, he had changed considerably. His parents, when illiterate and ignorant of alcohol and whores, were indeed quite civilized and lived according to good ethical standards. They would never cheat or steal, or do anything less than their best. Mother spent a lot of her time caring for the elderly and the diseased in the village – without any reward in money, and Marico had become like them.

Shano saw the difference between himself and his “old” family, and judged them as old-fashioned and stiff. He sat only in a chair (which was normally his fathers chair) with an expression of disdain on his face, his feet with dirty boots on the table, and it was only because televisions didn’t exist those days, otherwise he would have done absolutely nothing but staring at it, and occasionally make some unpleasant remark to his parents and brother.

His mother felt all this immediately, and also the suffering within Shano’s hidden emotions. In reality, deep within, Shano was just as refined, and even more so, than Marico. Silently he had always been jealous. Marico had always been the first, because he was older, and therefore his skills had been praised much earlier than Shano’s, and people would only made a joke about what Shano had constructed. Just because he was younger. Then he had discovered that he could do the coarse work better, and in this coarser work he could also handle (or hide) his negative emotions better if they surfaced.

The fact was that Shano and Marico had been, not bothers, but associates in the same business when they lived some 400 years earlier. But they were also competitors: always trying to be better than the other. And it had happened that both had to do a project (which was to construct a bridge over the local river then and there), and that one of the two proposals would be chosen. Shano (or whatever his name was in these days) had made a somewhat better construction than his colleague, added an extra provision that would make the bridge less slippery during rain. Shano was confident that he would win the election, and Marico also thought that Shano would win, because that seemed only just. But in the committee that had to decide happened to sit some men who knew Marico, liked him, and sympathized with him (moreover they knew that Marico had more money). So they choose Marico’s bridge – and it was built. Shano was shattered. He found that this was mean, and that Marico had won not because of his skill, but because of reasons that had nothing to do with the bridge itself. It was a major setback in his life and his career. And in his breast he swore that he would never admit himself to be the inferior to Marico. One day he would take revenge. It was a strong emotion and created a strong ‘history-line’ to the future. Both went there own way and never met again. A second opportunity never came, and Marico was definitely more successful that he was. When he died at an old age, he had still not been able to forgive Marico.

But this was all some four centuries earlier than the present story. And it was not registered in anyone’s conscious memory, because that belonged to the body which then died. But characters and decisions do not die when someone’s body dies – and that is why everyone is born with a different character, different desires and a different feeling of what is important.

He stayed two weeks with his parents and Marico, he did nothing very much, visited some of his old friends and smoked with them, but it was not like the earlier days. Marico showed him the camel and offered Shano to ride on it. But Shano hated the camel. After two weeks he went back to the city, and continued his life of uninspired working, drinking, smoking and sex for several more years. He started to feel bored, it was the same every day. Some younger boys had become part of the group who he found particularly annoying and stupid. They were, which much passion, just going through all the experiences he had gone through already years ago. Was this what life was for? Was there not some nobler or greater or more heroic life for him possible? It’s not easy to leave your old habits and thought patterns though, especially when you don’t know what will happen next. In reality there is never a reason to worry about the future, because it just unfolds itself as a consequence of the past, your own past, which you yourself made, but Shano didn’t realize that at that time. Everything you meet in your life, every feeling which comes to the surface of your consciousness, or every thought which rises spontaneously in your mind is connected by a history-line with something you did or thought in the past, perhaps a very long past. The problem is, Shano didn’t know that. So he did not dare to leave his old situation out of fear for his own unknown future. Therefore he clung safely to his companions and his habits, even though they didn’t satisfy him anymore. But Nature helped him a little. The parents of one of the friends, who was the dominant psychological factor in the group, had decided that their son should marry, and had arranged a young woman for him. His father didn’t have to pay much – because who wants to sell his daughter to an drunkard and thief if he can get a better match? Only girls who otherwise could not be coupled to any boy would be made available for such type of a guy. So he married, went to another house and lost contact with the group. A second boy also married after some time, and nothing much was left of the group, except a few who stood closer to Shano. Shano was alone, away from his family, so he had to find his own girlfriend. And so it happened. Her name was Sundaree. They really loved each other, married and soon got children. Her only and absolute condition was that he should stop drinking – and he managed, out of real love for her. She was a good woman, and life became more ‘civilized’ for Shano. They lived in rather poor circumstances though – laborers didn’t earn very much those days.

He had not been back to the village for several years. Occasionally some message went from Shano to his family and back, by mouth of a traveler. All seemed to be okay in the village, and the traveler would be diplomatic enough not to tell all the details to his parents.


(The Camel Race)

Then the days approached of another great camel race and market – an event visited by everyone in the wide surroundings. So Shano went there also –

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