Hira lived all alone. His children had grown up and left for the town to take up jobs. His wife lived with their eldest son. Reluctant to leave his village, Hira lived alone.
Hira used to do odd jobs for the villagers. He was hard working and he was in demand. He used to cook himself. He used to sing some dohasand he had his circle of fans in the village.
Doha is a form of Hindi poetry. Poets like Kabir, Rahim and Surdas are famous for their dohas.
One evening, Hira was tired. He dropped the bundle of wood he was carrying and sat down. He was also feeling lonely. He missed his sons and wife.
That evening, he was quiet when he was with his friends. Somebody asked him why he was looking glum. Hira sighed. “I work for everyone in the village. But does anyone care for me? ” he blurted out. “None. I’ve to do all the work. I work for others. But nobody works for me.”
His friends knew he was not in a good mood that day. They kept quiet. Then one of the friends said, “Are you sure no one works for you, Hira?” he asked.
“You know my sons are away and they do not even write a post card to me. So, tell me who’s working for me?”
“You earn enough to eat, don’t you?” asked a friend with concern.
“Man does not live just to eat,” snapped Hira.
“You eat ragi mudde (ball of steamed ragi flour), which means an unknown farmer is working for you so that you can eat. The grocer works for you — he stocks grocery for you. The tailor works for you — he stitches shirt for you. ”
Another friend patted Hira. “Why, Hira, you are a Maharaja! So many people work for you.”
Hira had tears in his eyes. “You are right, friends. I was a fool to think no one works for me,” he said as he wiped his tears.
“Alright, you can now work for us,” said a friend. “Sing for us one of those dohas.”
Hira began to sing.