Stories of East & West
By Dr. H. K. Gandhi.
exhibition of Indian folk art at the Lincoln Art Gallery
of community college had become the talk of the town. I
had no time to visit it, as I was busy during the early
weeks of April because of my income tax practice. The
names of the artists, people’s comments and the special
invitation from the principal of the college had occupied
my mind. Jessica, my wife, was an art lover. She must have
reminded me many times. I found some spare time one
evening, on the last day of that exhibition.
fine lines of colored pencils on plain papers of different
shades, the artists had brought out wonderful emotions
like anger, fear, joy, love, depression, frustration etc.,
on the faces of the characters. All the pictures were
great. We enjoyed every picture and studied those
expressions in awe. Jessica many times complained.
"Mike, you brought me here on the last day. These few
hours are too short a time to enjoy this wonderful art
by one we passed by different pictures. One picture in
particular attracted Jessica’s great attention. Having
finished one quick round, she dragged me to see that
picture once again. It was a picture of a young village
mother, who was breast feeding her boy. There was an
expression of divine joy and love in her half closed eyes.
Her second breast was exposed. The naked boy in her lap
was carelessly playing with the other breast with his tiny
fingers. Not a trace of shame could be read on her face.
She reminded me of a heavenly angel giving divine nectar
to a child. The artist had nicely brought out the
expressions of love and satisfaction, which was visible in
her eyes, lips and her entire face. There was no obscenity
in that picture.
title of the picture was: "The Flesh of My
liked this title, but Jessica was not completely
in bed that evening, after a late night dinner in a
restaurant, the picture had gripped our minds, Jessica’s
more than mine. Lying in bed we were talking about the
can you suggest some other title for that picture?"
was the most appropriate title, 'Flesh of my Flesh'.
"Bone of my bones, blood of my blood." I said.
some other words." said Jessica.
once more," Jessica asked.
rose of my garden". A poet awoke within me.
moved her head from side to side with closed eyes.
Of My Cradle. My Cabbage Patch. A Doll In My Lap. A
Shameless Bad Boy. Toddler Spoiling My Carpet !"
looked at her eyes with a sense of victory.
uttered in great frustration." Mike you've failed to
grasp the heart and emotion of the picture, because you
are a....., a......". She didn't complete.
my defeat I completed her sentence. "Because I am a
male. I accept my defeat. Now, honey, you suggest a title
that is on your mind."
was lost in a dream with open eyes as if
she was looking at a far horizon. After some time
you have failed to understand the picture in its
completeness. I would give this title, POT OF
NECTAR". She uttered those words in a ringing voice
mixed with motherly gentleness. The words were coming from
the deepest corner of her heart.
awe I stared at her face. I felt as if the picture of the
art gallery had become alive in our bedroom and was
speaking to me.
Jessica, wonderful. This is the most appropriate title.
After all the breast of a woman is a pot of nectar for any
child." I agreed and applauded.
not satisfied by my remarks and words, Jessica said:
"You males will never understand a woman. You look at
her physical body. You place the posters of women with
half exposed breasts and legs for advertisements of movies
and bath soaps in public places. You never think of a
woman as a perfect creation of God, her needs, her
emotions, her feelings or her heart. Not only for a child,
but for the entire human race, a woman is a pot of nectar.
She is like "Mother Earth", a POT OF NECTAR,
from which this whole world is created and nursed. The
tender feelings of a woman and mother's divine love is
rarely recognized by a male eye or his lusty mind."
was addressing the entire male community. Without a word
of opposition I surrendered. I slowly placed my head in
her lap and kissed her hands. After some time, she combed
my hair with her gentle fingers. I don't remember when I
fell asleep and entered in zone of heaven.
rays of the rising sun had brightened my room when I woke.
With a tray of breakfast and bed-tea, Jessica was looking
at me by the bed side with unusual love in her eyes. She
resembled the mother of that picture. I felt as if a
of Nectar” was looking at me.
months later I learned that Jessica had broken our vow of
family planning. She had stopped taking the birth control
pills without informing me. We were married for last six
years and had decided not to have a child until we were
financially settled. She gave birth to a beautiful girl at
due term and started breast feeding the baby. Sometimes I
watched her during those moments. Looking at me with a
satisfying smile she looked like a living POT OF NECTAR.
HATE AND DUTY (Dharm)
Dr. H. K. Gandhi.
mud clouds had filled the sky which increased the evening
darkness. Occasional flashes of lightning illuminated the
street. Lower bushes had succumbed to the ground but some
high trees were trying to resist the strong north-east
winds in an attempt to stand erect. At that moment a
figure dressed in black came out from the side street and
started walking in the direction of our home. From the
East window, I was watching the thunderstorm and that man.
He walked with a peculiar limp which was very familiar.
this Robert? Impossible! He is in Paris. How could he be
in New Jersey today in such stormy weather?" I spoke
to my self.
nine years had passed since I'd seen Robert, I could never
forget that typical limping gait of his resulting from a
fracture which had occurred during a foot ball game. He
had recovered from the fracture, but some residual
stiffness had remained, which was responsible for that
could never forget those care-free moments of friendship,
dreams of the future, and scattered moments of childlike
jealousy. Young girls in our college were in a race with
each other to hunt a prey. Our aim was to hook the big
fish, Robert. Every other week he was seen dating a
different girl. The girl, who could go to a movie or a
Friday night dinner with him, would get goose bumps. The
rest of us would be jealous of that girl.
very next week, the lucky one would learn that Robert was
going for a picnic with some other girl. The disappointed
soul would give her experience and tell thousand of bad
points about Robert. Robert was a rolling stone which
gathered no moss, and we young girls were like honeybees
swirling around the 'one and only one' honey pot in our
school, the romantic Romeo, Robert.
was a handsome personality : a hero- a rare combination of
academic brilliance, star in sports and master of vocal
music. His curly black hair and sparkling blue eyes
attracted anybody's attention. His snow white, perfectly
arranged teeth produced a charming smile; and curving
eyebrows and broad forehead spoke of his intellect. The
curve of his nose, thin lips and beautiful chin created a
smart expression whenever he spoke. His broad shoulders
expressed the power of his athletic skills. His upright
and long neck gave an impression of pride, will-power and
determination. Robert was a perfect personality in many
respects. Naturally the hearts of all teenager girls,
including myself, were attracted towards Robert. He was a
born genius in many fields, including studies.
an important sports event during his final year in school,
Robert was at his best. He was the hero who brought the
state championship trophy to our school. In the final run
of the winning touch-down, Robert fell down and broke his
knee. After many operations and physical exercises, he
returned to school. This injury took away his one year of
education in school. Now he could not play football. Some
stiffness remained in his knee joint, which produced a
peculiar limp while walking. Many butterfly girls flew
away from his life during the year of sickness. Now he
devoted complete attention to his studies.
was one year younger than he. During that last school
year, we became close friends. The school library was our
meeting place. He was handicapped. So I used to help him
by bringing books from the shelves. We used to read on a
table near a window from where we could see a garden of
red and yellow roses. Our dreams had no limits. Heaven was
at arm's length in those days.
graduated with flying colors. He was first in our school
district which brought many awards and prizes to him. We
decided to get married. I was the daughter of a rich
Catholic business man. Robert was the son of an average
Protestant office clerk. There was some opposition in my
family, particularly from dad. But the cool and
understanding temperament of my mother helped us to
achieve our goals. We got married within six months of
could not continue college. He got a good offer from a
multi- national company because of his academic and other
credentials. We rented an apartment in New York. Robert
insisted that I should continue college studies and
fulfill my dream of becoming a college professor.
a year, Robert was offered an option to work at the Paris
office of his company. It was a great opportunity for his
future. I decided to stay with my parents in New Jersey,
and continue my studies.
the beginning, every week I used to receive regularly his
letters from France. But the frequency dropped after six
months or so. I used to express my worries about his
physical disability in my every letter, and often
suggested to leave my studies and join him. But every time
Robert replied that I should complete my academic dream,
and need not worry about his health.
the next five years, I had completed my college studies,
and submitted the thesis for my Ph.D.. I was expecting the
result of my final examination. One day I received an
envelope with foreign stamps. It was a letter from Robert
after an interval of one year. In this letter he had
confessed to me that he was married to a French girl. She
was working in his office. He had not informed me about
this development because he thought I might abandon my
dream of becoming a college teacher. He relieved me from
the bondage of our marriage and asked me to find a
suitable match, get married and forgive him.
was shocked and totally broken down with these news. I
cried and wept for days and nights soaking the pillows in
my room. After a week of this, I received the result of my
Ph.D.. I had passed that examination with a good score on
my first attempt. Even this great news didn't give me any
joy. I was frustrated and broken down. It was a period of
great mental depression for the next three months.
is a great soothing ointment. As months passed, I
recovered from this shock. I had learned to bear
unexpected situations, by hearing consoling words from my
mother and her faith in the Holy Bible and God. She would
say, "Dear Mary, when God closes one door, HE always
opens another one." My brother's wife Nancy was also
a great help in those days. I recovered from that
depression due to the great cooperation and love of my
the following months, I regained my mental stability. A
new door, as promised by mother, had opened. I got an
appointment as an assistant lecturer in my own college. I
had nourished this dream since my school days. I was re-
born with new hope, courage and faith.
years passed in this new position, and I had nearly erased
the memory of Robert from my mind and life.
on that dark evening, that limping figure brought back the
memories of Robert, which took possession of my mind like
the lightening flashes of that stormy weather. He was
walking towards me. He came and stopped at our door.
this man be Robert?" I was afraid.
could hear my own heart beats along with the doorbell. My
face flushed with anger and my mind got filled with
hatred. For a moment I decided not to open the door.
with trembling hands, I opened the door. It was Robert. He
looked at me for a moment and then turned his eyes towards
the ground. He held his hat in hand. That eye catching
smile of his face was replaced by horizontal wrinkles. He
had not shaved for some days. He looked as if he had many
I come in?" he
spoke like a criminal in a low tone.
saying "Yes or No", I ran to my room shouting
loudly. “I hate you, I hate you, please go away. Don't
come to this home any more". Face down, I fell on the
bed like a storm broken branch of tree, and started
sobbing. The tears running from my eyes moistened the pillow at a
faster rate compared to the outside rain wetting the dry
noted my run towards the room. She went to the door to
find out the cause of my unexpected behavior. She was also
astonished to find Robert standing at the door. Without
any conversation, she returned to kitchen.
my loud screams, mother came out from the living room. She
asked Nancy, "Who is at the door."
went to the door and observed Robert from top to toe for a
few minutes. He requested again, " May I come
Robert, please come in." Mother spoke without any
tinge of hate in her tone. "Be comfortable in the
drawing room." Slowly Robert walked in, hung his
overcoat and hat on the coat stand behind the door, and
sat on a chair.
asked Nancy to bring coffee and cake for Robert. Nancy
placed the tray on the coffee table and walked away
without saying a word.
treats are not necessary for me. Mom, I don't deserve this
respect and hospitality." Robert said.
a loving tone, Mom replied. "Robert, you are still
our guest. Besides you are a relative and member of this
family. Feel at home and have this hot coffee in this cold
weather. Please forget the past."
this time I had recovered from the initial shock. The
hatred was replaced by curiosity, and I was eager to know
why Robert had come. I hid myself behind a curtain
separating the drawing and living rooms.
spoke with a tone of sincere repentance. The circumstances
in France had compelled him to marry that French girl,
otherwise she would have committed suicide. The first girl
born in Paris was the result of his premarital affair. Two
years later, a second girl was born. Then he was
transferred to USA. He was living in a nearby township
with his French wife and two daughters. A week ago, his
wife was admitted to a hospital for a third delivery. An
operation was required for delivery. A severe reaction
occurred after blood transfusion. Leaving behind a third
new born girl, she had died only two days ago.
I am so sorry to hear this sad news, Robert. May her soul
rest in peace." Mom closed her eyes and prayed for
the departed soul. It was a sincere prayer from Mom's
heart for Robert's French wife.
minutes passed in complete silence.
Robert said, "Thank you very much Mom. I came to tell
my true story and express my apologies to Mary. I am
relieved by this confession. I feel I should leave now. I
truly loved Mary, and her memories are still within the
deepest corner of my heart.
Please forgive me and tell Mary to forgive
speaking any more words, Robert slowly got up from his
chair and walked away leaving his address card. Mother
also went to the door and consoled him. "Robert, keep
up your spirits and pray God. When HE closes one door, HE
always opens another one".
came out from behind the curtain. Mom knew I had heard
Robert's story completely. She had nothing to say or
looked into my eyes. A stream of nectar, compassion and
love was flowing from her eyes. I looked into her eyes and
she looked into mine. We exchanged a thousand thoughts in
those few minutes without uttering a single word.
some time, I picked up Robert's address card and looked at
it with trembling hand. Then I said, "Mom, I want
your permission to go to my home and take care of my three
embraced and kissed me, giving me a great hug. There was a
smile of divine satisfaction and complete approval on
Mom's face. She had awoken a sleeping mother within me.
thunderstorm and darkness of night were over next morning.
They were replaced by a cool breeze and the soft light of
early morning. From the east window the scattered rays of
rising sun were entering my room and sweeping the floor
like a golden broom. Outside the window, a familiar red
sparrow couple was jumping on the branches of a nearby
OF A SHORT STORY.
By Dr. H. K. Gandhi.
had an important meeting that evening, otherwise he would
have kept me company until the train would leave the
platform. He dropped me off at the entrance gate of
Detroit Amtrak station at 6.p.m. and left for the meeting
place. I missed his hug and departing kiss that day.
the morning I had received a call from Chicago that my
mother was admitted to a hospital. I was her only child.
Once or twice during a year, I would visit Chicago and
stay with her for a week or fortnight, after the death of
my father, which had occurred in a plane crash three years
ago. After that incident I preferred to travel by train.
Tom never liked my visits to Chicago. But this was an
came home at 2.p.m., though the departure time of the
train was 8 p.m.. Having removed his coat and tie, he
stretched on his bed and closed his eyes, with a deep sigh
of grief. I thought he was trying to relax. He said he had
a severe headache and wanted to rest for a while.
that time I was packing my suitcase. With some
apprehension and worry, I placed my hand on his forehead
to check if he had a fever. With closed eyes, he grabbed
my hand and pulled me in the bed. I could read a cunning
smile and an evil desire on his face, though his eyes were
closed. Tom never tolerated my separation even for a day.
This time the duration of my Chicago stay was uncertain.
knew him from college days. Upon seeing a young blond, his
senses would fly in the sky. But he was frank enough to
confess his adventures before me. In order to make me
jealous, he would add salt and pepper to his romantic
adventures and tell me those stories. I would laugh and
tell him that I would go to Chicago for a fortnight with
my mother and make room for him and his new lover.
such moments of our separation came, Tom would get upset
and loose his sense of time and place. We were married for
four years but he was behaving everyday like a newly
married young husband.
occupied my seat on the train. I had to wait at the
station for two hours. I was staring at the platform
through the window of my compartment, but my mind was
filled with thoughts about my mother and her sudden
illness. My body was in Detroit, but my mind was in
Chicago. My peace was disturbed by two teenager girls who
entered my compartment and occupied the near by seats.
They were two big mouths fitted with amplifiers. They
talked very loudly about the love affairs among their
college friends. In between they would discuss college
sports, laugh about peculiarities of their teachers,
remark about the hair styles of their girl friends,
comment about their dress styles, cosmetics, jewelry, etc.
But soon they would come back to the topic of love
affairs, frustrations and jealousy among their teenager
pretended to look out the window, but my ears and mind
were tuned to their conversation. I posed like an
unattached saint, but my attention was on their talks. I
was analyzing the minds and attitudes of teenagers.
smart-looking girl gave a magazine to her friend and said,
"Neena, This is an interesting story. I'd like to
discuss its end after you have read it. I don't like this
ten minutes there was silence. Then Neena broke the ice.
"I love this story and its end. Sweety, why didn't
you like it? The art of a story writer is nicely expressed
in this story. He brings the characters to a delicate
situation, where the chances of slipping down from moral
ethics are great. Then with a thought of morality he
invokes the hidden self control which turns an average
man's behavior into an act of noble character. The writer
tries to give a message of higher values and morality in
life. This is the style of a celebrated writer. I like
this end. Goldsmith is my favorite writer."
I could not keep my eyes towards the platform and pretend
my indifference any longer. I turned my face towards them,
listened their arguments, and observed their expressions.
I didn't know how two hours passed. The train picked up
speed. The heat of their arguments also increased with the
speed of the train. Sweety tried to suggest various ends
of the story, but Neena maintained that the end given was
the best. I enjoyed their debate and smiled on many
at the smiles on my face, they could judge my interest in
their discussion. Neena invited my opinion after giving
their brief introduction and a short account of that
story, which was like this:-
families lived in adjoining apartments in a high-rise
building, in New York. Robert was a traveling salesman of
some international company, and Linda was his housewife.
Many times he was away from home for weeks and months.
They had a three year old son, Andrew. Their next door
neighbors were John and Sussen who were married for ten
years, but had no children. Both these families were very
good neighbors. The important link between them was
Andrew. They loved this boy like their own son. Whenever
Linda had to go out, Andrew would stay with the Johns.
Robert was out on a long business trip. Andrew received a
minor injury during the day time and developed a high
fever at night. A strong tornado had hit the city in the
afternoon, and many roads were blocked due to fallen trees
and poles. At 10 p.m. he developed convulsions. Linda was
very worried. She called for help from the next door
and John came running. The telephone lines were out of
order. Susan was a nurse. She tried some first aid
measures like ice-packs on the head and gave aspirin. This
treatment worked. The convulsions stopped and the fever
started coming down. The boy was still unconscious but his
breathing and pulse had improved. Everybody was relieved.
Susan watched the boy for some time, and she was now
satisfied. She suggested Andrew should not be left
unattended but watched for the whole night. She had done
two night duties for the last two days, so she returned to
her apartment. Her husband John promised he would be by
the bedside for some hours. He asked Andrew's mother Linda
to go to her bedroom and now relax.
boy was sleeping soundly. Convulsions had stopped. Linda
tried to sleep in her bed, but Andrew's sudden illness had
filled her mind with great apprehension. She was getting
horrible and fearful dreams.
loud sound of lightning and thunder shattered glasses and
windows on the upper floor of that building at midnight.
Semi-awake Andrew's mother woke up, was terrified and
screamed for help. Susan’s husband ran to the bed room.
She was perspiring and shivering with fear. She embraced
John firmly, held his arms and pulled him in bed. She was
breathing rapidly. Her heart beats could be heard from a
pacify her fears, John remained quiet and acted as she
desired. Linda embraced him firmly and gave many kisses.
John's attempts to loosen her grip, were answered with a
firmer hugs and many kisses.
had came to a stand still. A state of bliss occupied their
minds. They could hear each other’s pounding heart beats
and the whizzing of their breaths. Lips were sealed,
tongues were paralyzed and eyes were open but would not
see anything. A pin drop silence prevailed for some
was the situation in the story when anybody would forget
the moral vows of chastity and become a pray to Venus.
somehow John gained consciousness. He gently relieved his
one hand and placed it on the forehead of Linda. She too,
regained her full consciousness and released John. Like a
speechless mummy, John walked out of the bedroom, without
speaking a word.
and Sweety were discussing the end situation of this
invited my opinion. "Is such behavior possible in
real life, by people in such circumstances of perfect
isolation and no chance of disturbance in the moist
midnight atmosphere of monsoon?".
replied. "You are right. This is not possible by
many, but by few yes. You are partly right, and partly
wrong". She was surprised at my dual answer.
that could be?." Both girls spoke at same time.
would not suggest a change in the end of the story but I
would comment about the writer's mind. The writer himself
might have been placed in a similar situation and fallen.
At a later moment he might have realized his mistake and
thought he could have preserved his chastity. This story
appears like a confession of a sin committed in real life,
which is reflected in the story. The writer is trying to
make a hero of himself, which he could not do in real
life. We all know, it is easier to preach than to
and Sweety applauded my remarks with clapping and cheers.
"Please tell us something about yourself. How is it
that you can discuss such delicate topics and understand
human behavior with such depth?"
am a teacher of English literature and my husband is a
writer. Many times we discuss such situations and the ends
of such short stories."
asked, "What is the name of your husband?"
girls were spell bound. In utter surprise, they stared at
me with broadly opened mouths and stretched out tongues,
because Tom was the writer of this story..
STICK OF GOD
Dr. H. K. Gandhi.
was going to Lambertville. It's a small farming town,
about 150 miles southwest of Denver. I love it like my
'birth place'. Sweet memories of the early years of my
life had filled my mind. Leaning back in the seat of
Eastern Airline's westbound flight, I was looking at the
endless ocean of blue sky from the window. A sense of deep
joy had filled my mind. I was seeing a re-play of those
early years in my mind. I lived in Lambertville as a
school-teacher at the start of my career. The events and
various characters appeared before my mind like short
scenes in a movie. I was appointed as a math and history
teacher in a middle school, managed by a local church.
Tony had come as English and sports teacher. I came from
North Carolina and he was from Nevada. During vacations I
used to spend short weekends with his family in Nevada.
that first job, I joined the Federal Education Department,
as a coordinator in Inter State Educational Programs. My
job was to organize teachers conferences in different
states. My headquarters were in Washington. In the early
days of my new job, I regularly wrote to Tony and other
friends. I could keep in close touch with Tony only, by an
occasional phone call, Christmas cards, birthday wishes,
frequently asked me to take a week off and spend a
vacation with his wife Jenny and their two children. After
an interval of fifteen years of hectic life, I was able to
spare four days to visit Lambertville. I was moderator in
a conference of high school principals, in Denver. After
that I was to visit that small town.
joy of meeting my old buddy Tony and other friends of
Lambertville, had gripped my mind. Tony was principal of
that budding school which had grown to a leading
High-School. Tony was to attend that Denver conference. He
had said on the phone a week ago, that he would not allow
me to go back to Washington without visiting Lambertville.
I had agreed.
Wilson and I were bachelors in those days and shared a
common apartment, owned by a rich widow, Dorothy Smith.
She was a kind hearted land- lady. Off and on she would
give us homemade cookies and cakes, and invite us for
dinners on weekends. Her features resembled Mona Lisa.
When we addressed her as aunt Lisa, she felt flattered.
Her face would flush and a smile of contentment and joy
would appear in her eyes. She would say, "You bad
boys, don't compare me with that great queen of France.
Dorothy had no idea that it was only a painting in the art
remembered her lunatic son, Richard. Richard would pickup
butts of cigarette from the pavements or search beer in
thrown away cans. Some times he would sing romantic songs
in the middle of the night. At other times he would cry or
laugh very loudly for a long time without any provocation.
Between such spells, he would behave normally. We
sometimes invited him into our room, offer him a cigar and
beer, and ask him to sing love songs. Richard's voice and
those love songs are still ringing in my ears. Richard had
a natural gift of a melodious voice. He could have been a
musical genius, if not disappointed in married life.
was married to a beautiful girl, the daughter of his
father's rich friend in Denver. Robert's uncle Mike Smith
was managing their property. The manner in which his uncle
treated Richard and his wife, after the death of his
father, was mostly responsible for his mental condition.
Mike would not give Richard and his wife enough money.
Mike would poison the ears of his mother Dorothy, and say
that her rich daughter-in-law was extravagant. Tired with
such tactics and insults from uncle Mike, Richard's wife
left Lambertville and got a divorce. She walked out from
Richard's life for ever. After that incident
Richard was disappointed and became a lost soul.
husband was the chief architect to create a big real
estate Firm in Lambertville from his business in Denver.
He would invest his savings in real estate to help his
farmer brother Mike Smith. After his death, Dorothy came
to live in Lambertville with her ten year old son Richard.
That innocent lady had full faith in her brother-in-law
Mike Smith, and his financial smartness. Mike was the sole
manager of the entire Smith estate. It was easy for Mike
to fool Dorothy in money matters by showing her fears of
the future and the need to economize in village life.
could never forget that cunning character of Mike Smith.
He had gripped my mind for the most part of my flight. I
had never seen such a selfish, cunning and emotionless
devil in my life. In his absence, we used to refer to him
as "Raja uncle". "Raja" means a king
of a state in the Indian language. This name was coined by
one friend, Mr. Ramesh Bhattacharya, a next door neighbor
and a man from India staying in our complex. Tony, I and
Ramesh were close friends in those days. Every evening we
used to meet and discuss the latest adventures of
"Raja uncle", I mean Michael Smith.
Smith was a big boss in our street and also in that small
town. The Smith family owned six houses, two apartment
complexes and many acres of land. He had three qualities.
A honey-coated tongue of a fox, a typical squint of an
owl, and the smartness of a wolf. He wore dark tinged
glasses, to hide his squint. He was president of the town
committee, a chairman of the fund raising committee of a
local church, a director of the school advisory committee
and many such social activities. His word was final at all
places and in all matters. Such an uncrowned king of
Lambertville had become our friend in those days.
would frequently grace our evening meetings and brief us
with the latest news of the town. He needed an audience to
listen about his achievements. We were outsiders and not
attached to any local group. We enjoyed his company and he
was benefited by our knowledge and new ideas.
would tell us about father Abraham, a new priest, who was
frequently visiting the home of Iran, a young widow, who
had lost her husband six months ago. He would tell us how
he caught Bobbie, the milkman. He was first adding water
into milk cans and then milking the cows. He would tell us
the story of a poor boy, who was caught red-handed by him
when he was stealing old breads from a food store.
remembered a story of Mike's business smartness which he
told us many times. With one smart shot he had killed two
birds, his brother's wife Dorothy and Gary, an illiterate
shepherd. Gary was going to a nearby city to sell his
butter. Mike told him that the whole sale food stores in
the city were closed because of a worker's strike. Then he
approached Dorothy and said, it was a good time to buy
Gary's butter. The stores in the city were closed because
of the strike and prices of butter would rise. Gary and
Dorothy had full faith in Mike. But Mike had fooled both
of them. There was no such strike in the city. He earned a
handsome commission in that deal. He spared nobody in
would criticize the foolishness of Dorothy before us. But
in a group meeting he would praise her financial
smartness. To glorify her he would say, "I have
placed a proposal in the city council meeting, of naming
our street as Dorothy lane. Dorothy, you are the pride of
the Smith family." Innocent Dorothy would fly in
heaven at such words. She would invite his family and
circle of friends for dinners. But after enjoying such
dinners from Dorothy, he would come and tell us that this
lady can be fooled by any one. She would sell her share of
the Smith estate one day, due to extravagant spending and
her lunatic son would become a beggar on the street. It
was only because of him that she was safe and sound!. We
knew Mike's motives and intentions.
could never imagine that a man could be so mean, narrow
minded, evil and selfish. How to accumulate wealth, cheat
others, earn commission and become happy by seeing others
suffer, was his inborn nature and his main activity. It
was the philosophy of his life, according to his code of
ethics. In money matters
he would not spare his closest relatives.
with Mike's success, sometimes I would remark that there
was nothing like morality or God in this world. Smartness
in money matters was the most important thing in life.
Uncle Mike was the living example before us. To such
remarks, Mr. Bhattacharya would answer in a philosophical
and cold manner. "God possesses an invisible club
in one hand to punish the evil ones, and a bouquet of
roses in the other hand for the good guys. HIS kingdom and
invisible laws are perfect. It is a question of time. When
the pot of the sins of Raja uncle would be full, God's
invisible club would show its power." I didn't
believe in God, and such myths in those days, though I
believed in an honest and fair path of living.
event appeared before my mind like Agastha Christi’s
crime stories. Was it an accident, a suicide or a
homicide? The mystery was never solved. Mike's
daughter-in-law had committed suicide because of his bossy
nature. Others said Mike had raped her. Her death had
become a hot topic in Lambertville for three months. The
ever miser uncle Mike had to spend a lot of money, to show
that the death was natural. He spent a lot of dollars to
close those files. The relatives of the girl had filed a
criminal complain and it was investigated as a case of
doubtful murder. For a moment I had felt that God's
invisible club had started working. But I was wrong. Mike
proved his smartness and broke the invisible club of God.
The files were closed and Raja uncle was walking in town
with an erect head and upright neck, as if nothing had
our evening meetings he would tell us how the jealous
relatives wanted to harass him. His son was married after
the close of those files. The wedding was celebrated with
rich decorations and dance parties. I remember those neon
lights and the dinner parties which went on for one week.
Uncle Mike had invited us on one night.
awoke from my day-dream when the fasten-belts sign showed.
My dream of the past came to an end by the silence of the
jet engines in the air. The plane had started its descent.
The high-rise buildings of Denver looked like tiny toys
from the window. From an endless ocean of infinite sky and
heavenly peace, I was coming down to the land of noisy and
nosy, selfish and dirty, mortal humans like Mike. But
angels like Dorothy and Tony assured that life was worth
living. They were giving out fragrance of love and rays of
came to receive me at the airport. We hugged for a long
spell with tears of joy in our eyes. The first question I
asked Tony, "What are the latest adventures of our
said. "You shall meet him yourself."
two days of conference, we were driving towards
Lambertville. Tony informed me that Dorothy's lunatic son
Richard was treated in a psychiatric clinic and was now
normal. He was remarried and had joined a singing group.
The high school building was extended last year. The
school had tripled in its number of students and teachers.
He talked about his marriage, family and other activities
of the town. I could note that Tony was avoiding my
questions about uncle Mike by saying "You will soon
meet him yourself". He would lead me to other
characters and topics, or question me about my views on
changing trends in the education system of America and so
turned the car into a shopping mall when we reached
Lambertville. It was not there in my time. He parked his
car near a food store to pickup some fruit. I loved those
fresh fruits. He went near an old man who was searching
beer cans from the trash boxes, and picking up cigarette
butts. Pointing his finger towards me Tony said to him.
"Hello uncle, do you know this gentleman? He is a
special visitor from Washington who wants to meet
old man placed his palms on his forehead making a shelf to
cut off the bright sunlight falling on his face. He wore a
dirty brown suit with big windows near the knees and
elbows and not washed for many months. His untrimmed
mustaches and white beard covered his lips and facial
features. Dried beads of pus filled the corners of his
eyes and dribbling saliva had made thick tangles in the
beard. His upper face was full of deep horizontal and
vertical wrinkles. A repelling odor was coming from his
could not recognize me, nor could I recall in memory his
a strong thump on my back, Tony said. "This is our
Raja uncle, Jon." I was spell bound. After some time
I tried to talk with uncle Mike. "Hello uncle Mike, I
am Jonathan Burt. Do you remember me".
observed me from head to toe for a long time, and tried to
dig his memory into its deepest corners.
some time he spoke with a stammering tone,
You….You….are that frrrrr..friend of Tony, that math
I am that math teacher." I nodded my head with a
sense of compassion and sympathy.
looked at me. His eyes were telling me that the invisible
club of God is there.
name is TIME.
CALL FROM OUTER SPACE.
Dr. H. K. Gandhi.
have heard the voice of your father from heaven. He is
calling me. For one week I have seen his shadows day and
night. My mind is filled with the memories of those two
years, when I lived with your daddy. The last sixty years
appear like a vanished dream. I feel that only those two
years were the reality of my life. Dear Jenny, please let
me to go to Loveville. Your father is calling me from his
grave." Mary, at the age of 80, was requesting her
daughter Jenny with half closed eyes. Jenny was a grand
mother of 40 children. Droplets of tears were visible in
the corners of her eyes. Mary turned away her face so that
Jenny might not see those tears flowing from her eyes.
raised her eyebrows in great surprise. "Has anyone
insulted you or hurt your feelings? Have I failed to care
for some of your needs, Mom?"
dear. Nobody has hurt me?. Everyone in your family is my
flesh and blood. They all love me more than you do.
Yesterday, your husband Ron was also telling me not to
leave Chicago. “It is not good to stay alone in a small
village at this age, he advised me”.
why are you so determined to go to that remote place of
Loveville? For sixty years, you have lived with us. There
is no heat and no telephone, or any facilities in that
village home. We have not repaired its leaking roof for
three years. I won't allow you to go there." Jenny
said to her mother with some firmness in her tone.
didn't feel like eating that evening. Jenny went to call
her for dinner. Ever joyful and active Mary was seen calm
and quiet and somewhat upset during the last few days. She
remained confined to her bedroom during most of the day.
was a small village in Indiana, located sixty miles away
from major highways or any railway station. Mary was the
only child of her parents. She was married to David, a
local farmer's young son, at age fifteen. Within two years
of the marriage, David died in a car accident leaving
behind six months old Jenny, their first child.
the following four years, Mary's parents also died one
after another leaving young Mary and her three year old
Jenny. Their little estate was a one-bedroom cottage
having a poorly furnished drawing room, with a kitchen and
few utensils. But the love of David and his living gift
Jenny, were sufficient for Mary to hang on. She didn't
agree to the advice of relatives for a second marriage.
She was determined to raise Jenny, all alone by herself,
and to give her a mother's love and devotion.
worked hard in the farms carrying little Jenny on her
back. Jenny would sleep under the shade of trees or play
with squirrels and birds. She would earn extra dollars
doing part time work in local restaurants. Mary learned
sewing. She would do sewing for hire. It was a hard life
in that farming village, but Mary was able to live within
modest means with self-respect. In the course of time she
became an idol of chastity and respect for everybody in
that small village of a hundred houses. Mary's only goal
in life was to give all the happiness to Jenny, raise her
and find a good mate for her. And that moment did arrive
one day, when Jenny was fifteen.
Smith, the son of a rich businessman, had come from
Chicago to spend his vacation with his uncle Tom Smith in
Loveville. Tom was a rich farmer staying in the third
house from Mary's cottage. Ronald met beautiful Jenny when
she went to Tom's home to deliver clothes, which Mary had
altered and repaired. At the very first sight Ronald felt
he had known Jenny for ages, and he was attracted to her.
During the next few days Jenny and Ronald spent nice
moments of fishing and playing in the near by lake and
woods. They became very close. With the blessings of Uncle
Tom and Mary, their wedding was celebrated within the next
two months. It was the day Mary awaited since the death of
pain of separation from Jenny, created a vacuum in Mary's
life. Every night she would sit before the portrait of
David, and tell him how she had trained Jenny. She would
read the letters of Jenny received from Chicago and inform
David that she was happy with Ron in her new life.
Sometimes she would open the photo album of Jenny's
wedding and show him those photos.
with the passage of time Mary recovered from her
loneliness. Her sewing machine became her true companion.
Ronald's father had a garment store in Chicago. He gave an
idea of preparing garments and curtains to Mary. He would
send rolls of linens. Mary prepared clothes and curtains
as ordered. She was relieved from the hard work in the
farms. Her skill and sincerity was rewarded. Now she could
not keep up with the orders. Mary trained some young girls
in the village, more machines were ordered, and a home
industry of preparing ready made garments came into
existence in Loveville. Her days of financial struggle
had to make short visits to Chicago for her new business.
These trips provided her many opportunities of meeting
Jenny. The luxuries of city life amazed her. She was
satisfied to see Jenny happy with Ronald in Chicago. Once
Jenny wrote, "Ronald has started a new store in a
very good locality".
one of her visits to Chicago, Jenny and Ronald requested
Mary to come and stay with them for a longer period, on
the occasion of Jenny's first delivery. She was to become
a grand-mother. She accepted the invitation with great
pleasure and joy. During the interim period, she trained
one village lady to manage her small business. Mary spent
nearly six months with Jenny before returning to Loveville.
At the time of departure, she told Ronald and Jenny that
they might call her again on a similar occasion within the
next two years.
Ron and Jenny provided many such occasions, every
alternate year. On every visit, Mary's stay in Chicago was
prolonged. She proved a great asset to Ron and Jenny in a
variety of jobs at home and in business. She would prepare
breakfast, baby sit, give a nice baby-bath to the newborn,
clean clothes and dishes, tell Bible stories to the grown
up grandchildren, and would look after many minor points
in the home. At night or early morning she would go to the
store located on the ground-floor and arrange the garment
racks in an artistic manner.
came the occasions of marriages of the grand children one
by one. Mary was stuck-up in Chicago. There was no time
for ever busy Mary to visit her hometown, or look after
her business in Loveville. The period of stay in Chicago
increased, and that of visits to Loveville decreased.
Everybody in Chicago was in need of Grandma Mary's help
had to close her Loveville business. But her business
genius had influenced the life style and economy of that
farming village. Many small home industries had came up in
Loveville because of her helping nature. They provided
earning opportunities for the village families. Mary was
respected and hailed as a pioneer of small businesses in
that economically backward village.
passed. Now the married granddaughter-in-laws and
grand-daughters were seeking great grandma Mary's help
during their deliveries. The presence of grandma Mary was
an assurance of perfection during the occasion. Every
thing went smoothly and in an orderly manner by her
presence. Sometimes there were sweet quarrels among the
cousins, when Mary was required by two families at distant
places at the same time. Mary would joke. "Send me a
cutting-saw, I would send my half body at each
place". This provided a change of place and
opportunities to see the country.
lived a life of total devotion to Jenny, Ron and their
eight children. Sometimes, Ron would say. "Mom, don't
refer to me as your son-in-law. I am your son". When
Jenny demanded too much work from her old mother, Ron
would take the side of Mary and order Jenny to do some
jobs by herself.
a few days ago, when Mary had expressed her wish of
permanently returning to Loveville, Ron was spell bound.
He inquired, "Mom have any of my sons or daughters
hurt your feelings in any manner?. I don't know where God
lives. But I have felt the presence of God, whenever I
have thought of you. You have taken care of us during your
entire life. It is now our turn to take care of you in
your old age, and not demand any services from you. You
have obliged us for nearly sixty years which we can never
return. Please give us an opportunity to serve you".
it was something else. Nobody could understand her mind.
Mary's decision to leave Chicago was firm like a rock. It
was a call of sweet memories of past days and her birth
place. An invisible shadow was dragging her towards
Loveville. It was the voice of David, coming from the
outer space. Only grandmother Mary could hear that sound
and see his shadow. The love of David, from the grave of
Loveville was now inviting Mary to give him company.
advised Jenny to go with Mary and stay with her for some
time at Loveville. They arrived in Loveville. A fortnight
passed in great joy of meeting their old friends. Every
family from the village came to meet Mary and Jenny and
express their gratitude. They gave a history of their
economic prosperity which was the result of Mary's
inspiration. From morning till evening her small home was
full of visitors. Jenny also enjoyed the company of her
young friends, who were now grownup grand mothers and
never showed any signs of fatigue or disease. One day
Jenny observed that Marry was sleeping until 10 a.m. The
rays of morning sun were falling on her face, yet she
didn't move. She looked like an angel. There was an
expression of divine joy of satisfaction. There was
absolute peace in the atmosphere.
tried to wake her mother. But Mary's soul had joined her
husband. She had closed her eyes for ever. Jenny screamed
like a young girl and fell on Mary's chest with a stream
of tears flowing from her eyes.
two days, the entire Ron family- the grandsons and
great-grandsons, granddaughters and great-granddaughters,
a total of nearly fifty five blood relatives had gathered
in Loveville for Mary's funeral. All the members were
crying from their hearts. They were sobbing without
reservation, when her coffin was lowered into the grave.
The entire village population Loveville participated in
her funeral. They had never witnessed such a grand funeral
ceremony any time.
their birthdays the grandsons and granddaughters, the
great grandsons and great granddaughters visit Loveville
and place garlands of roses on the white marble tombs of
Mary and David. On the date of Mary's death, all the
members of Mary's family tree come to Loveville, to
celebrate their family union. Ron has renovated that old
house. It stands as a monument of respect to Mary. It is
now a beautiful guest-house filled with photographs of
Mary with all the family members. It has become a museum
and a place of pilgrimage and symbol of family unity for
the younger generation.
death has become a legend in Loveville. People question
each other. Is it possible to hear divine sounds and calls
from outer space from dead souls? Is it possible to see
such shadows of loved souls of the past?
answer according to holy scriptures is "Yes" for
rare divine souls are incarnations of God in human form.
The answer is "No" for many who don't understand
the meaning of true love and selfless devotion.