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Updated: Aug 1, 2023

“If you work hard and fate lends a hand, you can even buy a palace with a single paisa.”

Lata loved that saying and used it often. This one saying also tells us a lot about Lata, she is a simple but a sensible girl.

She was the only daughter of a poor temple priest, but as fate had it, she gets married to a rich man. His name was Savant.

Savant’s father was a trader who had worked hard all his life and accumulated a lot of wealth over his lifetime. He also owned a lot of ships, which now, Savant used to travel around the world, importing and exporting all kinds of goods. He was the captain of his ship and, no doubt, he enjoyed his work a lot. He built up a fortune and because of that he always dreamt of marrying a princess but instead he got married to Lata and to say the least, he wasn’t happy with this union at all.

Savant would taunt and torment Lata because she wasn’t born to riches.

He would tell her, “We are not a good match. Have you seen the size of my palace?”

“I am so rich and wealthy, and you? How could you be the same as me?”

Lata was hurt, rightly so, because Savant didn’t consider her intelligence, sensibility or her strengths. He just cared for the riches. She used to tell him, “Why are you so proud of being rich? Anyone can earn money. If you work hard and fate lends a hand, you can even buy a palace with a single paisa.”

As time passed by, Lata forgot about the incident but it was permanently glued in Savants mind and he thought to himself, “I will make her regret her words.” And so he comes up with a cunning scheme. One day, he asked her to come along with him on his next trip, telling her that he would enjoy her company. Thus, he brings Lata with him on his ship. They stop at an island, where ships usually stop in between their passage. Savant invites Lata to visit the village on the Island and Lata happily gets off the ship with him in a tow. She is spellbound by the beauty of the village and is lost in observing it.

Seeing this, Savant orders his crew to get back on the ship and he himself gets on the ship. Lata notices that the ship has started to move realizing that her husband has left her in a completely unknown Island. Panic stricken she tries to run after the ship, shouting, “Please stop.” Savant smugly replied to her, “No, now you can stay here. Alone. You said you can build a palace with a single paisa? Let me see you do that. Here is your paisa”

Savant tosses a paisa to her and leaves her all alone. Lata is devastated and in turmoil. “Now what will I do?”

Dusk soon changes into night, and she sits there on the beach, contemplating what had just happened. But still in the hopes that her husband will come back for her. She had never set foot outside her village, and now she was left all alone in a strange place. She cried and then she prayed and then she thought a lot but Savant never returned. Lata had no idea what will happen after this, but she was confident and she knew that she will somehow survive. She started walking around and by now, she was very tired and hungry. That is when she spoted a fisherman. The fisherman was in middle of his dinner, so Lata said to him, “Would you give me some food? I will pay you a paisa for it.”

The fisherman notices her week state and agrees to give her food in exchange for the paisa. Now you might think that Lata had only a paisa and she has traded it for food. She is left with nothing. But this where luck plays a game. When Lata sits down for dinner, she notices that there was a school of fish in the lagoon, so she throws a handful of rice into the water. It was out of habit, she always shared her food with the animals around her. The fishes swarm to the food she had thrown and started to nibble on it. After few moments a fish comes up and drops something for Lata and leaves. Now Lata is curious and gets a closer look at the object. Her eyes widen in shock, for it is actually a precious pearl. An original pearl from the depths of sea which is quite expensive.

The next day when the fisherman returns, Lata tells him, “I have got a real pearl.” She gives it to the fisherman and says, “Please help me build a small hut here.” The fisherman, awestruck with the shiny object, helps her, and they build a small hut which is now Lata’s new home. An idea pops up in her intelligent mind, “This region must have a lot of pearls.” She says to the fisherman, “Stop fishing here, and also tell the same to other fishermen too. In fact all of you are good at swimming and diving, so why doesn’t everyone become a diver and we can start collecting the pearls.” The fishermen abide by her suggestion and start to dive into the sea, collecting the precious pearls one by one.

Lata is able to discern between the qualities of different pearls. They were ready to move the next step. Lata told the fishermen, “We should start selling these pearls to earn money.” Everyone in the village happily abide by her decision but the villagers didn’t knew how to do business, being the simple people they were. But Lata, she is a smart woman, she understood business, she understood how the whole thing works. Lata knew that all the ships always stop at this Island, and decided to trade pearls by selling them to ships that stop by.

Lata was aware about one important fact that was prevailing at this time, it would have been difficult for a woman to conduct business. So Lata disguises herself as a man and started going by the name… Lateesh.



Ulka Mayur


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