Well, it is 3 a.m. and my sleep cycle is completely disturbed. I open up “New Post” and my mind is just BLANK. So I realise – my last post was titled “An Everyday Miracle” which was a painting. But I have also written a short story by the same name. It was in fact, my first story to ever be published – into both my school and college magazines! Posting it here for memory’s sake…..
(A caveat: Wrote this WAY back in school – so the odds are that it is a bit juvenile)
The train’s engine let out a loud whistle – it seemed like a death knell to the little boy as he frantically tried to un-stick his shoe which was stuck to some semi-solid substance.. All he had to was un-tie his shoelace, kick off his shoes and rush to safety…but in a crisis situation sensible and practical ideas always failed him. The train was just a hundred yards away from him now and it seemed to inch closer .Suddenly strong arms seized him… The next thing the boy knew as he came to focus was that, he was lying face down on the ground, the train had shrieked past emitting another whistle and a tall, well built man was helping him to his feet. The stranger was trembling too, not with fright but with anger. Instinctively he shouted, “Tera demag sad gaya kya?” (Did your brains just rot) Until it dawned on the man that he was in Bangalore and chances of the little boy knowing Hindi were remote. The man took a few deep breaths that calmed him down. He realized that the little boy was frightened enough and harsh words would only make matters worse. He then said slowly, “What were trying to do, young man?” hoping the little boy understood English, as he did not know the local language. The little boy stammered some “thank yous” and “sorrys” alternately and then said, “I did not know what to do Sir. It is a miracle that I survived!”
The gentleman looked at the little boy for a moment with a peculiar expression on his face and said, “Well, run along now,” and then turned to continue his jog. “Wait a minute Sir,” said the little boy. The man stopped and turned back. “How can I thank you for saving my life?” he added, as he searched for his wallet. Touched, his saviour replied, “If you feel the need, just pass it on – a good action that goes along a journey reaps many rewards.” Saying this, he turned and jogged ahead. The little boy turned in the direction of his school. He wondered who the gentleman was – he did not know his name, or address so wondered if he could ever repay him. All he knew was that the man was very strong and had a tattoo of a scorpion on the right forearm.
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER
The Colonel sat in the garden at his home on Rest House Road early in the morning. For twelve years he had stayed in this little cottage-like house of his that once seemed a perfect family home. A meritorius father, a wife that could cook up fabulous meals, a son that excelled in sports, and an ever- smiling daughter who was pampered and adored by everyone. Tragedy struck and the daughter was killed in an accident, run over by a car. The cheerful little girl that had kept this family so close knit was gone. The father missed her sorely and took to drink. His prestige in the army as the virtuous Colonel was at stake. He gambled his life away. His wife left him taking his son along with her. Now with debts amounting to fifteen lakhs and his retirement period due in two years all his assets including this dear little cottage were mortgaged.
Sighing, the Colonel got up from his chair, took his umbrella and headed out for a morning walk to Cubbon Park. This had become his favourite haunt, as it was here where he enjoyed moments of solitude. Passers -by who recognised the familiar face, waved out to him as he did his rounds. Everyday, he would then relax on a fallen branch of a tree that suited him; it was at the right height – he always preferred it to the benches anyway.
That morning, an unfamiliar jogger was at the park. As he saw the little branch, he too wanted to sit there. It seemed so perfect, comfortable, clean and secluded. He enquired politely “May I?” The Colonel who had drifted into his dreamland was startled and jumped, but then smiled and said, “Yes, do join me.”
“Do you believe in miracles young man?” asked the Colonel.
The young man was surprised but answered nevertheless – “Yes Sir, I do!”
“I used to believe in them, used to believe miracles were worth believing in and that everyday was one.”
“Why did you stop believing in them, Sir?”
‘Because everything seemed to go right, once upon a time, and then all those miraculous elements just disappeared (pause)…from my life at least.”
The young man laughed and said, “Then Sir, I guess they must have entered my life instead.”
The Colonel patting him on the shoulder, smiled and said, “It is very nice to see a cheerful, pleasant face in the morning.”
As he did so the young man noticed the “scorpion” and for a moment was shocked to see it, then shook his head and said to himself – I should have known! The young man and the Colonel chatted away for the next quarter of an hour or so. He learned just enough to know how much he needed. After all, it was this talent to make conversation in Aditya Devaraj that made him famous, that made him the most eligible bachelor in Bangalore – he had the money, the looks and the compassion. He also happened to be the youngest CEO (of a popular company) in the country. By eight a.m. in the morning, the men parted ways. The Colonel wondered who the young man was. He was sure that he was someone well known and had apologized profusely when he was unable to recognize him – but he had a strange feeling that he had met the young man before. The Colonel was struck by the man’s ability to converse so freely to a stranger, his charisma; and knew that this was just the kind of young man who would make his country proud. He had wished the man all the good luck he would need and in return thanked him with a firm handshake.
The Colonel sighed and walked on. He knew that once he reached home .he would have to get back to all his papers, and think of ways to repay his debts. His only wish was that he could clear all his debts before he died –He knew that this would be nothing short of miracle.
TWO WEEKS LATER.
As the Colonel headed out for his usual morning walk –he was surprised to see a thick package on his doorstep .He soon realized it was from his superiors in the office .As he opened it and read its contents, he stumbled on a step. It stated that ALL his debts had been repaid; to the army and his superiors. The mortgage on his house had been repaid. The package enclosed his bank statements too! In short, he did not owe a rupee to anyone!
The Colonel was overwhelmed –first with happiness but it slowly turned to suspicion. He rushed to his Headquarters. His Commanding Officer was there; he seemed to be expecting him. Before the Colonel could even utter a word, he smiled handing him a folded, sealed letter saying –“He wanted you to have this. ”The Colonel looked on blankly for several seconds at the letter .It said –For the eyes of Colonel Gyanendra Sharma only, and was sealed so well that any attempt to unseal it would be recognised immediately. Curious though he was – he knew he had to open it away from all the prying eyes at his Head Office. Once home, comfortably seated, he opened his letter .In clear, handwritten words, it read –
To the one, who stopped believing in Everyday Miracles …
Yes, Colonel, it is I –Aditya.
Wasn’t it a miracle that when a little boy was stuck between the railway lines just waiting for the speeding train to blow him to pieces …that you came along with just one sweep managed to save his life?
Wasn’t it a miracle that, the same little boy is able to help you come through “parallel lines” (debts) that never seem to meet? You have always been my mentor. Having searched for you for so long, isn’t it a miracle that I should casually find you, sitting in a park. What got us to sit together that day? I do not know …
You taught me to value life and time, so I worked hard to achieve my goal .I am a success story –a miracle you have performed while knowing nothing of it.
Sir, these are our daily miracles –we need to realize they happen just once in a while so that we can APPRECIATE them, others may call it a mere coincidence. Since we are the participants, we know the truth –IT IS A REAL MIRACLE! You and I may be the only believers in such matters, but I am happy that it is ‘just us’ among all in the world, as thoughts, words or deeds such as these are always misinterpreted. We go our ways to meet our parallel destinies, someday in eternity –so Sir –
Could these little miracles remain just between us, unlike in the past –when a frightened little boy was told by his saviour to “pass it on”?
I do know you live alone, and I value your help, so may I look up to you as the father figure… that I have never had? Let us walk together, everyday at Cubbon Park, just for a start? Love and Prayers,