Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tractor numbered 420

When Raja Ishfaq left his house following a family dispute, all he had was Rs 200 and a CD-70. His father had also expelled his wife and three-year-old daughter along with Ishfaq.

It was a winter evening of 1990 and Ishfaq had no place to spend night except his poor in-laws. The sympathetic in-laws spared two room of their house for their daughter and son-in-law.

Earlier, Ishfaq had been working on a US merchant ship and had sent millions of rupees to his family. He was not given even a penny from that money.

Considering Ishfaq’s past, one of his friend lent him Rs 200,000 to start a brick kiln. Ishfaq built the brick kiln and bought a tractor numbered 420.

Number 420 is notorious in the Sub-continent as it is the number of the section in the penal code which defines fraud.

Ishfaq was facing losses and he sold the tractor, desiring to fuel the brick kiln with the money. He sold the tractor for Rs 160,000 to a retired soldier and invested the money in his business.

Only a week had passed, when the ex-soldier came back to him and asked him to take the tractor back. Ishfaq, who was man of his words, told the soldier that he had no cash in hand and would return the cash after some time. The soldier said he would buy bricks against the tractor’s price. Ishfaq agreed.

Ishfaq sold the tractor for the second time to another person for Rs 180,000. To Ishfaq’s surprise the tractor again came back to him and he returned the money to the buyer in bricks.

A year passed and Ishfaq strengthened his business. He once again sold the tractor numbered 420 for Rs 200,000. Again the tractor returned with the sale of bricks worth Rs 200,000.

This time Ishfaq questioned the person who was returning the tractor as why he was doing so.

The person told him that people keep telling him that the tractor is illegal as its number suggested.

The tractor again went for sale for two more times and came back as usual; each return increasing the sale of the bricks.

With the blessings of the tractor numbered 420, Ishfaq was able to save Rs 2,600,000 in 1996. He has parked the tractor in a special room in his bungalow and has vowed not to sell it during his life.

PS: The story is narrated as told by Raja Ishfaq without any fiction.

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