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Inspiring Stories of East & West


             DAWN OF LIFE.     By Dr. H. K. Gandhi.

 The 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.

With 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 work".

One 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.

The title of the picture was: "The Flesh of My Flesh".

I liked this title, but Jessica was not completely satisfied.

Lying 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 picture. 

"Mike can you suggest some other title for that picture?" Jessica asked.

"It was the most appropriate title, 'Flesh of my Flesh'. "Bone of my bones, blood of my blood." I said.

"Try some other words." said Jessica.

"Immortal Motherhood."

"Try once more," Jessica asked.

"First rose of my garden". A poet awoke within me.

Jessica moved her head from side to side with closed eyes.

"Doll Of My Cradle. My Cabbage Patch. A Doll In My Lap. A Shameless Bad Boy. Toddler Spoiling My Carpet !"

I looked at her eyes with a sense of victory.

She 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.

Accepting 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."

Jessica was lost in a dream with open eyes as if  she was looking at a far horizon. After some time she spoke:

"Mike, 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.

In 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.

"Wonderful 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.

But 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."

Jessica 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.

The 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 living  “Pot of Nectar” was looking at me.


Three 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.


  LOVE, HATE AND DUTY (Dharm)    By Dr. H. K. Gandhi.

Oily 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.

"Is this Robert? Impossible! He is in Paris. How could he be in New Jersey today in such stormy weather?" I spoke to my self.

Although 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 peculiar limp.

*     *     *

I 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.

But 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.

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.

In 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.

I 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.

Robert 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 graduation.

Robert 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.

After 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.

In 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.

In 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.

I 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.

Time 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 family members.

In 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.

Three years passed in this new position, and I had nearly erased the memory of Robert from my mind and life.

*            *          *

But 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.

"Could this man be Robert?" I was afraid.

I 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.

But, 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 problems.

"May I come in?"  he spoke like a criminal in a low tone.

Without 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 ground.

Nancy 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.

Hearing my loud screams, mother came out from the living room. She asked Nancy, "Who is at the door."

"Robert," Nancy replied.

Mother went to the door and observed Robert from top to toe for a few minutes. He requested again, " May I come in?"

"Hi! 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.

Mother asked Nancy to bring coffee and cake for Robert. Nancy placed the tray on the coffee table and walked away without saying a word.

"Such treats are not necessary for me. Mom, I don't deserve this respect and hospitality." Robert said.

In 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."

By 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.

Robert 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.

Five minutes passed in complete silence.

Then 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 me."

Without 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".

I came out from behind the curtain. Mom knew I had heard Robert's story completely. She had nothing to say or comment.

She 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.

After 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 daughters."

Mother 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.

*     *     *

The 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 maple tree.


END OF A SHORT STORY.     By Dr. H. K. Gandhi.

Tom 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.

In 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 emergency.

He 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.

At 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.

I 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.

Whenever 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.


I 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 friends.

I 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.

One 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 end".

For 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."

Now 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 occasions.

Looking 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:-

Two 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.

Once, 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 friends.

Susan 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.

The 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.

A 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 distance. 

To 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.

Time 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 moments.

This was the situation in the story when anybody would forget the moral vows of chastity and become a pray to Venus.

But 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.

Neena and Sweety were discussing the end situation of this story.

Sweety 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?".

I 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.

"How that could be?." Both girls spoke at same time.

"I 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 practice."

Neena 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?"

"I 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."

Sweety asked, "What is the name of your husband?"

"Tom Goldsmith”.

The 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..



I 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.

After 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, gifts etc. 

Tony 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.

The 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.

Tony 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 gallery".

I 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.

He 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.

Dorothy's 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.

I 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. 

Mike 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.

He 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. 

He 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.

I 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 money matters.

He 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.

I 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.

Impressed 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. 

An 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 happened.

In 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.

I 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 hope.

Tony 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 Raja uncle?"

Tony said. "You shall meet him yourself." 

*                                       *                          *

After 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 on.

Tony 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 you."

The 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 entire figure.

He could not recognize me, nor could I recall in memory his identity.

Giving 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".

He observed me from head to toe for a long time, and tried to dig his memory into its deepest corners.

After some time he spoke with a stammering tone,

"You..... You….You….are that frrrrr..friend of Tony, that math tea...tea...teacher."

"Yes I am that math teacher." I nodded my head with a sense of compassion and sympathy.

Tony looked at me. His eyes were telling me that the invisible club of God is there.

It's name is TIME.


A CALL FROM OUTER SPACE.    By Dr. H. K. Gandhi.

"I 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.

Jenny 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?"

"No 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”.

"Then 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.

Mary 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.

*           *          *                *              

Loveville 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.

In 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.

She 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.

Ronald 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 her husband.

The 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.

But 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 were over.

She 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".

On 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.

And 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.

Then 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 and guidance.

Mary 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.

Years 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.

Mary 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.

Only 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".

But 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.

Ron 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 grandfathers.

Mary 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.

Jenny 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.

Within 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.

On 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.

Her 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? 

        The 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.



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