Last Chance!

There was excitement in this town of about 30000 people, situated on the banks of a small river.The annual fair had just begun.Women had turned out in their finest, showing off the beautiful patterns of mehendi (henna) on their palms and hands.

Men, with their colourful headgear, were strutting about proudly, twirling their moustaches. People from nearby villages came in their bullock carts, their only means of transport.There were, of course, some youngsters, who came on bicycles, to impress the young maidens.The presence of two or three motorbikes was hardly noticeable. There were the usual food stalls, some for playing games and yet others selling their wares.The one selling bangles was particularly crowded, with the women bargaining hard over the prices.Then there was a merry-go-round as also a Ferris wheel, both crafted from wood and hand driven.

The children were screaming with joy and happiness while enjoying their rides. One could also spot a few stray dogs, especially near the food stalls, hoping to find some tidbits. This, then, was rural India, where India’s heart really throbs.

Among the revellers, were three friends, all in their forties and all policemen. They were doing their rounds and chatting animatedly when one of them just stopped dead in his tracks, rooted to the ground. He clenched his fists, his jaws tightened and his eyes had some determined, distant look. What exactly had happened? Had he seen or heard something?

It was getting late in the evening; about closing time, when a man with a megaphone announced at the Ferris wheel, “Hurry, this is your last chance!”

“Last chance? In the cycle of life?” so thought the policeman. In a flash, he had got the ‘message’. “What am I doing here? I have served the police department for some twenty years; when am I going to serve Him?”

He excused himself, discarded his uniform and putting on a mendicant’s clothes, turned his back to this world to be of service to God.

In the distance, one could still hear the echo of that voice: “HURRY, THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE”.

 

This is a true story.

 

Happy Birthday, Kunal

My dear son,

As I sit and write this, my mind goes back to that night of 9th November 1964, when I was sitting on the wooden bench in the waiting room of Harkisondas Hospital, awaiting the arrival of my second child. I remember the lady doctor attending on your mother, coming and reassuring me and my telling her that I too was normal.

Then came the news of the birth of a baby boy – the first male child in our family after me. You can only imagine how happy your grandfather was since you were his first grandson after the birth of four granddaughters. You have experienced how doting he was and the numerous postcards and letters he sent to you – even when abroad – are a testimony to this.

I remember your childhood years. You were simply brilliant in studies and excelled in other activities as well. That particular event, when as a child of about six years your drawing depicting the arrival of an aircraft, won you a prize in inter-school competition, will forever remain etched in my memory.

After school, there were some years of trials and tribulations which too were overcome. You will not believe this but your time in the USA for doing your Masters was the most difficult one for me. I was missing you so much that I was literally striking off each day in the personal diary I kept, unknown to others. You may call me sentimental but I have always been like that.

Well Kunal, I do not want to go on and on like this and suffice to say that I am extremely happy and proud of the progress that you have made standing on your own legs.

Wish you all success and happiness in the years to come. May god always be with you.

Have a great day.

Love you son.

Affectionately,

Dad