Everything is not for Sale


The priceless gift: a Sphatik

Several years ago, my friends and I went to visit the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra. A stranger there offered us this stone along with two palms full of raw, uncut amethysts. I don’t know where the other stones are but I discovered this piece in one of my little treasure boxes.
While inspecting each cave, we took a particular fancy for a statue of Buddha with his right arm broken from its elbow. The insides of the broken arm glistened white and violet in the artificial light.

After going through all the caves we followed some other visitors across a bridge and up the hill opposite to the caves. The Ajanta caves are placed in a neat row in a horse-shoe formation by the gorge of a river. The hill opposite gives a breath-taking view of all the caves, we could guess. But the climb was steep and the few visitors ahead of us gave up and started climbing down in a while, owing to the fierce afternoon sun. We went ahead.

In a while we reached a plateau that arched off into the distance, cut off from the skies by the dense branches of dried up dead trees. The little grass that was there had yellowed. It looked desolate and scary. Turning back, we could see the tiny rows of caves in the opposite bank, some of which caught the afternoon sun. Ancient monks worked inside the darkness of the caves to carve out those exquisite sculptures following this sun, we blurted in unison.

Just then a man approached us. Tall and wearing a well worn shirt and trousers, he came up and started a conversation. I don’t remember what we spoke about until he asked us to follow himβ€””I’ll show you around”β€”he said. We hesitated. But curiosity got the better of us. He guided us through the dead trees and shrubs and showed us the river valley that looked like the peninsula of India. He said that he was a farmer. But he liked to observe and talk with visitors from across the world when he was not busy in his field.

And then after some more small talk, he said he had been collecting stones. “It sells well and they’re easy to find if you know how to spot them”. And then he delved into his pockets and produced two palms full of stones. “For you”, he smiled and stretched out his arms. The stones, grey and unimpressive on the outside, glistened white and violet like the arm of the Buddha we had seen inside the cave.

We declined at first. We couldn’t pay and didn’t want him to lose out on a good bargain. “Everything is not for sale, madam. These are gifts.”, and he pointed out the amethysts from the sphatik, adding “This one, you find in the river bed sometimes. Difficult to spot because you can’t tell it apart from the water.”

Dumbfounded, we accepted his gift. We did not have the heart or the gall to offer him any money.

I don’t remember his name or his face even. He lingers in my memory like an apparition in that endless wasteland, observing people and giving them little lessons in humanity sometimes.


Hi, I'm Sampurna and I'm from India. I love to write, paint, and play with my dogs. Catch up with me at Halfastory's Blog. Happy reading!

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8 comments on “Everything is not for Sale
  1. Aditi says:

    khub shundor πŸ™‚

    • Sampurna says:

      Haan. Kichu kichu total strangers emon kotha boley thakey je jiboner ekta onno perspective pawa jai…. ei dhor jodi or chehara dekhey or shonge amra kotha na boltam, ei blog post ta aj likhtey partam na πŸ™‚

  2. Debashree says:

    daruun re.. πŸ™‚

  3. Beautiful story πŸ™‚

  4. Ramakanta says:

    Well written & structured. The opening and the build up to the end, is fast paced and keeps the reader guessing. Where is that sphatik now ? You should keep it in the sun and let it glow and capture the positive alpha energy. Make cutting stones out of it and wear them, make everyone wear a piece of it including any pets. Sun is the main source of energy, so after wearing everyone should be in the sun once a day, if not in unison. You need to check regularly if the cut stones glisten white and violet in the artificial light. The more it glisten the more is the positive energy.

    You should write more and often. Write about Masons now perhaps. Your usage of words are very nicely structured and very well written.

    Thank you.

    • Sampurna says:

      Thank you, I was thinking of designing a pendant with it. Maybe I will. But what’s “Masons” – I mean I know who masons are but I’m very curious why you want me write about them πŸ˜€

      Thanks for visiting my blog πŸ™‚

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