The bottom pincher..!

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A man driving a car stopped at a signal
and waited impatiently as the woman
in the car in front, didn’t start immediately when the signal turned green. He started screaming and beating his fist on the steering wheel! A policeman tapped on his windshield and told him to step out. “You can’t arrest me for shouting in my own car,” the man said as the cop asked for his license and registration and finally handed the papers back. The driver protested, “Why did you check my papers?”
The policeman replied, “I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, then I noticed the ‘Prayer Changes Things’ bumper sticker on your car, and I said to myself, that’s not his car, he must have stolen it!” His behavior did not reflect the sticker in his car!
While reading Kushwant Singh’s “Collected Short Stories”, one story that left me pondering was, ‘The Bottom Pincher’. The writer beautifully describes a scene at a worship place where he sees ‘a thin tall gentleman, in his sixties, wearing a light blue suit, sola hat and thick post cataract glasses.’ The gentleman walks through the stream of beggars near the temple and drops a coin in the hand of every beggar.
The gentleman then proceeds to walk in the direction of Kushwant Singh’s office and Singh fascinated by the man’s charitable acts follows him and is shocked to see what the gentleman does next: He continues to dip in his right pocket and drops a coin into every outstretched hand but as he passes a group of three women bending over some article at a stall, his left hand purposely brushes one of them and pinches another!
And so it went on. Right hand to give alms to the needy, left hand touching unguarded, unwary women! What a character! Yes indeed, what a character! But think again: Do we see some resemblance of ourselves in the gentleman mentioned or the man in the car? Quite a few of us have religious stickers and plaques on our walls, cars and doors, or we wear priest’s robes but with actions that do not reflect the kind of person we portray ourselves to our followers. Out of our church, temple or car, we become our old, unforgiving, harsh, compassionless selves; ugly, filthy, dirty!
We think nobody notices. But there’s always some Kushwant Singh, a flustered policeman, maybe our children or friends who watch and wonder what Jekyll and Hyde game we play. Or even if you think nobody does, well, there’s a God above who shudders! Don’t you think it’s time your behaviour reflects your sticker?

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