Sunday, July 18, 2010

The power of prayer

Selvam, a 12 year old boy, did not know what to do.His mom had been unwell for the last four days and since this morning did not open her eyes. She did not respond to his call. There were none to help them in the huts around. His father had deserted them and went after another woman. An old woman living in the adjacent hut had given his mom some home made herbal remedy the previous day but it had no effect at all. Her condition had worsened and caused him much worry. She had not taken any food even tea. The old woman advised the boy to take her immediately to some hospital. He had no money even for a rickshaw let alone taking her to a doctor. The boy sitting outside the hut was crying.

An old man who lived nearby and whom this boy called grandpa came and sat by the boy’s side. He was moved by his pitiable condition but was equally poor. He put his arms lovingly around the boy and said “Selavam, do not worry. I will be sitting here. You go to the Vinayagar temple and pray to Him to make your mom alright. We have no other recourse poor as we are but to trust Him. Pray sincerely and He will answer your prayers. I have seen this many times. Hurry up. I will keep a watch over your mom.”

It was already 8 PM and dark. The boy ran to the small temple. The door of the sanctum was closed. The priest was not to be seen. There were none there. Selvam was disappointed. He peeped through the holes in the door and prayed devoutly to the God whose idol was visible faintly in the dim oil lamp that hung from the ceiling. Tears flowed from his eyes. He rang the bell loudly many times hoping it would waken the God and notify Him of his presence.
The boy sat on the ground before the sanctum, closed his eyes and repeated the name of the God 108 times. He opened his eyes with a start when he felt someone touching his head. He found before him an old man short, pot-bellied, wide mouthed and with a smile on his face. He asked softly

“Young boy, why are you crying and what were you praying the God for?”

“My mom is very sick. Her condition is bad. I have no money to take her to a doctor or hospital. I have none to help us. I prayed to the God to make her alright. I am very much afraid about my mother’s condition” Selvam said.

“Do not worry. I will come with you and see personally. Take me to your hut.” the old man said.

When he reached he found the ‘grandpa’ missing outside the hut. The short old man placed his hand on her head, applied some sacred ash on her forehead and sprinkled a little on her body. He turned to the boy and said “She would soon wake up. Give her something to drink. She would be alright. Do not worry.”

The boy turned to his mom and saw her opening her eyes. Astonished at this quick development he called “Amma, how do you feel? Can I give you some tea?” She held his hands and smiled feebly at him. The boy wished to report to the short old man about this and rushed outside only to find the visitor no where seen. He ran a small distance towards the temple but he had mysteriously disappeared.

Hurrying home he found his ‘grandpa’ sitting inside the hut and talking to his mom.When Selvam narrated what happened since he went to the temple, about the short old man’s visit, sacred ash and his abrupt disappearance, his ‘grandpa’ was certain that he was none else than God Vinayagar. He queried the boy further about his appearance and any strange thing that he had observed while the old man was there.

Selvam replied “I did not see any except a mouse running behind him when he left”

(Mouse is the divine vehicle of lord Vinayak popularly known as Ganesh)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The bravado

The train was jam packed.There were four passengers in every seat intended for three.People were standing all along the aisle.It was then the passengers heard a commotion.A man in his early forties caught hold of a young man in blue jeans and a red coloured Tshirt by his collar and told him as he pointed out to another passenger ”I saw you picked his pocket.Hand over the wallet to him” In a moment the youngman whisked out a small knife and tried to slash the older man who held his collar.The agile man gave him a whack on his hand and the knife fell down.He laughed aloud telling “Don’t ever try your tricks on me.I have seen many like you.” The purse retrieved the passenger who had lost it was profuse in thanking the brave benefactor.

A couple of other passengers tied the hands of the pickpocket and waited for the train to stop at the next station.Everyone was in awe of the man as the passengers usually do not intervene in the activities of pickpockets who travel in groups and who do not hesitate to harm people when caught.The pickpocket was pushed by the irate passengers when the train stopped. New passengers both men and women surged in blocking the space at the entrance. But our man who stayed on in the train moved towards the exit gate.

As the train was proceeding fast, there was a shrill scream from a young woman caught in the crowd at the entrance.When people turned towards her,she accused a middle aged bald man in his fifties of having groped her at improper places taking advantage of the crowd and her proximity.Our hero who was nearby pounced on the rogue and beat him hard.The other passengers too joined in what turned out to be a case of meting out instant justice.This man also bound behind and was pushed out of train at the next station for handing over to police.

While our hero was surveying triumphantly with a smug smile at the admiring crowd that surrounded him, four men in white uniform boarded the compartment and soon one of them shouted ”Here is our quarry.Come quick, help catch him and block the gate” Our hero who saw them turned pale and tried to move away towards the other gate.One passenger accosted the men in uniform and said “You seem going for the wrong man.He has in a few minutes just a while ago helped catch a pickpocket and an eve-teasing rogue.”

“We know, sir. .He is our man, we have no doubt.He escaped while we were taking him along with others from the asylum to the hospital. He believes he is an inspector of police.”

The man started crying when the uniformed men took him in their custody bringing home the truth that such bravery he displayed for public causes comes by normally when one is insane!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tell me honestly,am I sick?

Meenakshi, I know you are coming to visit me.But I wish to tell you in advance that I am not sick whatever others may tell you.I am in perfect health despite my advancing years.True I tend to forget small details.In old age Alzheimer in different stages are not uncommon.But our daughter in law and our spineless son Mahesh may tell you that I am deranged.Unless I tell you the background in some detail you would not really understand my predicament and would prefer to agree with them.

It is almost five years since I am confined to my room.I am not allowed to go out except with the driver Selvaraj when he is free.I would like to sit in the park and see the children playing in the swings and slides.He would not allow me to go near them and would be holding my hand as if I were a condemned prisoner.He will scare away the kids who throng around me making funny faces.I think they want to play with me.But Selvaraj would shoo them away frightening them with some stories.He would not allow me more than 15 minutes in the park.I hate him as he is generally rough and holds my hands very tight as if I would run away.

Our daughter-in-law Kausalya is very clever.I am aware that she has no liking for me and has poisoned the mind of Mahesh against me.She tells all cock and bull stories about me.You see I hurt my finger one day while closing the window and blood came.I had no cotton or first aid kit with me.No body would come if I call as they feel I call them frequently without purpose.So I tore the blue checked shirt to tie my finger to stop the blood.How will I know that it was bought only a month back when I have dozens of same colour? She made a mountain of a mole hill on this and our son scolded me in her presence.

But I cannot forgive her for one incident.You see I do not sleep in the night as I have seen most old people die in the night when they are asleep.I remain awake so that the messenger of death will know I am fully awake and dare not come near me.Incidentally I must confide that is the secret of my long life..As I do not sleep in the night I tend to sleep in the toilet when I go there.I am unable to prevent the eyelids closing of their own.She makes much fuss of it and has removed the lock from the toilet door.

I can at least tolerate this as she does not want me to sleep in a dirty place but what do you make of this? This scary man peeps through the windows during nights.When I turn to look, he hides himself.He comes only in the nights.His dark figure, glistening white teeth, a bushy long moustache, a county cap presumably to cover his bald head are not things that make him acceptable.It is his stealth that annoys me So I hid the ink bottle in my hand and hit him hard when he appeared..That fellow screamed and there was a big furore.No one paid heed to my grouse against him or told me that he was the night security and requested to keep a watch on me.Instead they looked at me accusingly.

I overheard them talking on phone.I think they may drive me away to a place with abnormal people.They took me once and kept me there for long period..Please come early.Son says you are long dead and has hung your photo in my room..He doesn’t know you visit me often and I keep talking to you.Poor Kausalya thinks I am talking to myself while I am asleep.Let her think whatever she wants to.Do come tonight,Meenakshi and take me away with you before they take me to the despicable place.

The next morning Mahesh accompanied by Kausalya and hospital attendants entered dad’s room.He seemed fast asleep.Mahesh removed the blanket slightly and saw the old man holding his mom’s picture in tight clasp.He turned to see the empty wall.When he nudged him calling “Appa,get up.We have an appointment with doctor today” there was no response..Meenkshi had finally acceded to the old man’s request .