This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 28; the 28th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'BLANK PAGES'.
“There ain’t no such thing as free lunches”, was something he did not believe in. Just that there were too many people and too few lunches. So the smart ones found the lunches and the foolish ones went hungry. All one needed to do was to connect the dots and they would lead him to the free lunches. So far he had not been too successful though. Then one day finally lady luck decided to smile upon her most ardent believer. A rich uncle he had never heard of, passed away leaving all his wealth to him.
One of the things that distinguishes humans from the lesser beings is their sense of humor. So it would not be too farfetched to assume that an even greater sense of humor would distinguish their superiors, the Gods from the humans. It did seem that way for the Gods seemed to have decided to have a last laugh at his expense. The fortune turned out to be an ancient house in a dilapidated state filled with ancient books yellowed with age. The house was in the remote country side. So there was no chance of making a killing selling the house to a greedy apartment builder either. But he decided to make the best of a bad bargain and at least avail of the rent free accommodation.
He had never really been one for books. But the remote country side did not afford him too many opportunities for any of the other more popular indulgences. The people in the village were kindhearted and were always willing to dispense with free lunches. However these hardworking folks were more miserly when it came to time. They had none to spare to entertain a wastrel like him. So it turned out his only companions were the books. As they say some people are born with a book in their hand. Others gain letters through industrious labor. Then there are others who, if they do not go to the books, the books will come looking for them. As was the case with Chirag! And so it turned out he developed a reading habit not by choice but by chance.
One day he was flipping through a book when he found a few pages stuck to each other. He prised apart the two pages excited at the thought of being the first person ever to read those pages. As he was separating them, the book fell out of his hand followed by a huge thud. The room suddenly began to fill with smoke giving him a violent fit of cough. By the time he got over the cough, the room had cleared and a very old man stood in front of him. He wore large glasses and was bent with age needing a stick to support him. He held the book in his hand. Chirag wondered how this fellow had managed to sneak up on him without being noticed.
The man spoke up in slow feeble voice, “I am an ancient djinni. I have been imprisoned within the pages of this tome for millennia. You have now freed me at last. I am indebted to you indeed and shall be your servant for the rest of your life. Your wishes shall be my commands.” So saying he extended his hands and offered the book to Chirag. He was not sure whether to laugh or to cry. This so called djinni looked as if he himself was going to drop dead any moment. What could he expect such a weak and feeble djinni to do for him? Why did this always have to happen to him? Why did his free lunches always turn out to be left overs that no one wanted?
Anyways with an air of resignation, he took the book that was offered. He opened it and flipped through the pages. All pages were blank. Now what was he supposed to do with this book? He gave the old man a quizzical expression. The old man continued, “As I told you I am very old. My eyesight and hearing is not very good. So it is possible I might mess up your wishes. So I would prefer you write it down in the book for me so that I can read it and understand properly in order to deliver quality service that gives you utmost satisfaction. You can have as many wishes as there are pages in this book”
Chirag was still a bit unsure about the old man. But he could not deny the fact that he had suddenly appeared from nowhere which was not something normal. So he could not rule out the possibility of his being djinn. Anyways what was the harm? All he had to do was write down a wish on a page of the book and he would be able to validate the veracity of the claim. He pulled out a pen and rapidly scribbled out his first wish. It was nothing out of the way as such. It was all the usual stuff everyone asked for – gold, silver, wine, dancing girls and of course exotic free lunches.
The djinn took the paper from him and scanned through it with a disdainful look. “Master, your hand writing is illegible. I fail to understand. Could you please write it down again for me in better hand writing?”
Chirag sat down patiently and wrote it all down again. It took a week before the djinni was finally satisfied with his handwriting. But he was still not done yet. “This is full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. This is distracting me too much and I might end up giving something that you did not wish for. Please write it again with proper grammar and spellings.” It took a month before Chirag finally got the grammar and spelling right. Far from being his servant, this djinni was acting like a master and keeping his nose to the grindstone. But the hope that every next page would be final one kept Chirag going.
After grammar, it was flow. That took two months to fix. Then it was presentation. That took another 2 months. And 6 months had passed by the time Chirag had a neat looking wish written down in immaculate handwriting with perfect spelling, grammar and flow that even the djinni could not find fault with. But the djinn were cunning creatures. “Well, master. Whereas I fully I understand your wishes, it is not precise. You need to describe what you want in a clear cut way giving examples and references. Otherwise I could interpret in my own way and results may not be exactly desirable.”
This took another 3 months. But the djinni seemed just impossible to please. ”They say a picture says more than a thousand words. Why don’t you add some pictures to your wish?” So now he had to learn drawing as well. At the end of 3 months, there was just one single blank page left in the book and still he had not got a single wish. He had to use this last one wisely. If this was also rejected, he would he left with no wishes? He decided to seek the djinni’s advice on this matter. Though he was still not sure about his power to grant wishes, he did seem like a wise old man. Advice was something all these old coots always had in abundance, wise or otherwise.
The djinni gave him a satisfied look as if this was what he had been waiting for all along and spoke up. “Well, master. All this stuff that you want are things you can earn yourself. In this one year, you have mastered the skill of putting across an idea effectively. That is the basic requirement for any job. So all you have to do now is find yourself a good job and work industriously like how you have done the last one year and you will soon have everything you want. Keep this last blank paper in reserve for the time you really desperately need something. Then write it down. I will grant whatever you ask for without any further fuss.”
So saying the djinni disappeared in a whiff of smoke right in front of Chirag’s eyes leaving him with a book with just a single blank page.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.Picture Credit : http://left-over.blogspot.in/2008_12_01_archive.html