In the heat of the mid-day the houses stood with shut doors.
I wandered along the crooked lane.
An old man came out with his bag of gold.
He pondered and said, “I will hire you with my money.”
He weighed his coins one by one, but I turned away.
Having rejected the king's offer, the speaker moves on with the hope of being hired by someone. The pursuit of employment started off in the morning. But the day has soon transformed into noon, thereby making the speaker more tired. The houses in the lane are all seen with shut doors. This may also signify that his opportunity of being hired is low at this point of time. Any person in his situation would agree to the immediate job proposal that is made. But the speaker was sure that he would only agree to the deserving one. So he keeps walking. Earlier, he was walking on the stone paved road, but now his path is a crooked lane. The effect of job offers keep changing as he rejects them.
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The doors of the houses were shut
As he walks along a crooked lane, he is confronted with another job offer. This time it is from an old man. The old man does not offer power like the king as he is not capable of it, being a normal old citizen. But having worked for a long time and saving up the money, he seems to be rich enough to hire the speaker. He comes out with a bag of gold to quote a price for the speaker. He even makes a statement that he can hire the speaker with money. He then starts weighing and counting the gold coins one by one, showing how he is attached to them.
The old man had a bag of gold
The old man signifies the arrogance that one may have when one has money. Most people think that they can buy anything with money. This may not be the truth always. The speaker rejects the old man's offer as he is aware that he may not experience any kind of freedom if he has to work for someone like the old man, who values money more than human values.
Meaning of difficult words:
Crooked Not straight
Mid-day Afternoon
Wandered To move about with no particular purpose
Pondered To think deeply
Pursuit In search of
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). Honeydew. The Last Bargain- Rabindranath Tagore (pp.73-74). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.