10 September 2011

When Karma Comes to Visit


Last night, a former player was asking for cell phone numbers in our Facebook group because – he thought – the driver of the tricycle that took him home stole his own cell phone. “Maybe you dropped it,” I suggested, as always uncomfortable about a finger being pointed when there is no apparent proof.

“No, Sir,” this former player assured me, “I even felt for it before I got off. When I realized it was no longer with me, I gave chase; but the tricycle was speeding away into the dark.”

“Don’t lose sleep over it,” I consoled him. “Karma is a terrible enemy.” Then I told him this experience that I had in the late nineties which I shall proceed to narrate shortly.

Before I do, let me just talk just a little bit about the concept of karma. It is probably one of the most misused or even misunderstood of words. It is a concept that is believed to have originated in several ancient Indian religions.


Directly translated, the word means “action” or “deed.” In a general sense, this concept talks about the cause and effect of human actions. It is not a sort of mystical retribution as people loosely think of it; but more like the natural way any human action will have consequences.

In a philosophical and religious sense, this concept is valuable because of the belief that good deeds – or actions – will have equally good consequences. It goes without saying that bad deeds are thought to bring on equally bad consequences. Therefore, if a person sows goodness, then he will reap goodness; and vice-versa.

And now to my story…

Back in 1997, one of my players gave me just a few minutes warning one afternoon to say that he was going to pick me up and that we would be going to this mall for something to eat. Alright, I agreed. However, given the short notice, I was too lazy to change into anything that one would call mall attire. I did not change the shorts that I was already wearing, just picked up my wallet from my room desk and put on a clean shirt.


When his van arrived, I got on and we made the short drive to the mall. It was really uneventful. On the way back, I asked to be dropped off in front of school. We had a car show at the gym and I wanted to see how things were going.

I was barely inside the school grounds when I realized after patting the side pocket of my shorts that it was empty. I immediately felt the blood draining from my face. I had four thousand pesos inside my wallet along with all my ATM cards.

Unfortunately, my player had already driven off. My first instinct was to go back to the side of the road where I got off. My wallet was not there. There was a group of people that I encountered as I walked into the school; and if I dropped my wallet while was getting off the van, anyone of those people could have picked it up.

I ran to my office, waited until I thought enough time had elapsed for my player to get home, picked up the phone and dialled his home to number ask him to check the front of his van. He assured me my wallet was not there.



I saw a former player and asked him to drive me back to the mall. There, I went to the restaurant where we ate to ask the staff if any of them had seen my wallet. Nobody had. I traced and retraced the places where I was sure I had walked earlier and even asked the mall’s security guards. None of them knew anything.

This was a Saturday; and over what was left of the weekend, I fretted not only about the loss of my money but also of whoever found my wallet somehow getting lucky and figuring out my ATM cards’ pin numbers. Naturally, come Monday, high among my list of things to do was to visit my banks to have my cards cancelled and to request for replacements.

Then, later in the day, I had one of the surprises of my life. A man called my office number and asked to speak to me. He said he was calling to say that he found my wallet in front of school. I was right; he was among that group of people that I encountered while I was on my way into school the previous Saturday.

He knew my office number from the calling cards that I always used to keep inside my wallet. He was saying that he had returned it to the guards on duty at the front desk. My ATM cards and all the documents I kept inside were all still there, he assured me. But, he said before hastily ending the call, that he had also helped himself to my four thousand pesos.

I sped off to the front desk and true enough, my wallet was with the guards on duty. I was told that this stocky man just said the wallet would be picked up and hastily made an exit. He had not identified himself.

Real cloak and dagger, eh; and odd, would you not say? Why bother at all?

At that point, I really did not care anymore. I had already gone to the banks to have my ATM cards cancelled; and this in itself was a vast relief already. I remember consoling myself that he probably needed the money more than I did; and that I would eventually get it back somehow. I also remember having this certain feeling that karma would go visiting that man all in good time.


Guess what happened within a week.

In those days, I was probably the only person in school who did desktop publication. I taught myself PageMaker and, since I was boss of what was for all intents and purposes the marketing office, I wrote and laid out brochures, pamphlets and newsletters. I had also started laying out the annual President’s Report as a public relations tool. My boss, the late Brother Rafael Donato, was so pleased with my layout that he asked the finance people to have a check made out to my name amounting to five thousand pesos. It was something that I did not ask for.

When somebody from finance called me up to tell me about the check, I could only shake my head in disbelief. Naturally, I immediately thought of the money that I lost when I dropped my wallet. I was earlier certain without a doubt that it was coming back somehow; but the speed with which it did stunned me. In fact, I was even a thousand pesos to the good.

I never did find out who that man was who even had the utter gall to call my office phone just to tell me he was stealing my money. Just as I was certain that my money was coming back, so too was I certain that he was going to pay for it somehow. The karma of my hard and honest work was the return of the money that I lost. I leave it to everyone’s imagination how karma paid him back for taking what was not his.

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