The story is told by Rasheed, a young boy, and it is about his first encounter with a shop that tests the luck of a person. The time the story takes place is during the season of Eid Al-Fitr. One of the most important holidays in the religion of Islam.
There was a fair every year on the occasion of Eid in Rasheed's village. While the Eid celebration used to last only for a day, the fair used to go on for many days after Eid. The fair sees shops and shopkeepers from far and distant lands coming over to sell their goods. In fairs like these, one could buy anything starting from small pins to buffaloes.
On this time of celebration, Rasheed went to see the fair with his uncle and Bhaiya, who worked in their house. There was a huge crowd at the fair. Rasheed's uncle guided them to a certain place. And he instructed Rasheed not to buy anything from the shops or stray too far away in his absence, as he was about to leave with his friends.
This left Rasheed with Bhaiya, and they took a stroll around the fair looking at the various items and wares on display. Rasheed himself says that there were many items that caught his eye and wanted to buy, but he didn't. Showing that he's an obedient child who respected uncle's words and also had self-control.
This was exactly when he had encountered "The lucky shop". Anyone with \(50\) paise could play the game where they had to choose six discs from the ones that the shopkeeper had. Each disc contained a number and they were added up. The shopkeeper gifted the customer with the product whose number was the sum total of all the numbers in the discs.
Discs from 0 to 9
Rasheed and Bhaiya came to the Lucky Shop. In that shop, the shopkeeper looked neither young nor old. He could have been anywhere between \(45\)-\(65\) years of age. The shopkeeper wants everyone to try their luck in that game.
An old man came to play the game in the lucky shop. He paid \(50\) paise and selected six discs on the table. The old man added up the numbers of all the six discs, and the total was \(15\), he received a beautiful clock as a gift. He did not like the clock, so he sold it back to the shopkeeper who offered to buy it back for Rs. \(15\). He went away happily.
The next customer to the lucky shop was a boy was slightly older than Rasheed. The boy tried his luck, and so he got a comb worth \(25\) paise. The face of the shopkeeper looks neither happy nor sad. So, the boy sold back to the shopkeeper who offered to buy it back for \(25\) paise. Again, the boy tried and got a fountain-pen worth Rs. \(3\). When the boy tried for the third time, he got a wristwatch worth Rs. \(25\). The boy again tried his luck, and he got a table lamp worth more than Rs. \(10\). The boy got more gifts from the shop, and so he also went away happily.
After seeing the old man and the boy winning a lot of gifts from the lucky shop, Rasheed also desired to try his luck. Bhaiya also motivated Rasheed to give it a try. Rasheed paid \(50\) paise and chose six discs from the table. He got two pencils at his first try, and it was not too good for him. The shopkeeper offered to buy it back for \(25\) paise for the two pencils. Rasheed tried again and got an ink bottle worth of a little value. Rasheed again sold it back to the shopkeeper who had bought it back for \(25\) paise. He tried again, but his luck was not good.
Rasheed tried his luck again and again hoping that his luck would become better. He continued the game by paying \(50\) paise each time, but each time he tried, he got an object with a little value. Finally, he was left with only \(25\) paise. The shopkeeper, being generous, offered him one last attempt or settle his account. Rasheed decided to play again and he lost his last \(25\) paise as well.
An upset Rasheed
Rasheed did not reply. Bhaiya told him the whole matter. Rasheed's uncle didn’t show any negative emotions towards the issue. He was neither angry nor sad. He didn’t scold or beat Rasheed for losing all the money. Instead, he smiled at him and slapped gently with love. His uncle even took him shopping and got him a beautiful umbrella, biscuits, sweets and some other small gifts. After that, they came back home.
On their way back, Rasheed's uncle told him that the man at the lucky shop had made a fool of him. Rasheed denied that and said that it was his bad luck. But Rasheed's uncle explained to him that it was not a matter of good luck or bad luck. To that, Rasheed said that he saw an old man getting a clock and a boy getting two to three expensive things. Then uncle told him that the winners in the lucky shop were friends of the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper was making money by cheating. He was using the fake winners to attract people towards the game. He advised him to forget the whole matter. And he told Rasheed not to speak to anybody of his bad luck or foolishness.