INSPIRATIONAL STORIES: “The chapatti” (flat bread) reprinted from last year

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A long time ago, in a small village in India there was a  woman who always baked chapatti  (flat bread) for the members of her family and an extra one for a hungry passerby.

She kept the extra chapatti on the window sill, for whosoever would take it away. Every day, a hunchback came and took away the chapatti.

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Indian woman preparing chapatti

Instead of expressing gratitude, he muttered the following words as he went his way: “The evil you do remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!” This went on, day after day. Every day, the hunchback came, picked up the chapatti and uttered the words:

“The evil you do, remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!”

The woman felt irritated. “Not a word of gratitude,” she said to herself… “Everyday this hunchback utters this jingle! What does he mean?” One day, exasperated, she decided to do away with him. “I shall get rid of this hunchback,” she said. And what did she do? She added poison to the chapatti she prepared for him!

As she was about to keep it on the window sill, her hands trembled. “What is this I am doing?” she said. Immediately, she threw the chapatti into the fire, prepared another one and kept it on the window sill.

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As usual, the hunchback came, picked up the chapatti and muttered the words: “The evil you do, remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!”

The hunchback proceeded on his way, blissfully unaware of the war raging in the mind of the woman. Every day, as the woman placed the chapatti on the window sill, she offered a prayer for her son who had gone to a distant place to seek his fortune. For many months, she had no news of him.. She prayed for his safe return.

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That evening, there was a knock on the door. As she opened it, she was surprised to find her son standing in the doorway. He had grown thin and lean. His garments were tattered and torn. He was hungry, starved and weak.

As he saw his mother, he said, “Mom, it’s a miracle I’m here. While I was but a mile away, I was so famished that I collapsed. I would have died, but just then an old hunchback passed by. I begged of him for a morsel of food, and he was kind enough to give me a whole chapati. As he gave it to me, he said, “This is what I eat everyday: today, I shall give it to you, for your need is greater than mine!”

As the mother heard those words, her face turned pale. She leaned against the door for support. She remembered the poisoned chapatti that she had made that morning. Had she not burnt it in the fire, it would have been eaten by her own son, and he would have lost his life!

It was then that she realized the significance of the words: “The evil you do remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!”

Keep doing good, even if it is not appreciated at that time, you may be touching lives in ways you don’t even know.

(Author unknown)

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