I offer my humble obeisance to you Rev. Sri. Sri. Om Swamiji🙏🕉
It’s said we choose our Mother’s womb , born out of love for we are pure love. It’s disheartening how and when a pure soul is tricked into becoming what he/she is not during the process of the later stages of life. All but, keep choosing to sharing your treasure .
Year around 1998 my kids were too young, most of my time would revolve around them almost like a single parent. Double efforts are put in if you are in a joint family esp. if you are the daughter in law. Life surely seemed like a huge task and inspite of so many basket of worries that are laden on the head, you still have to manage to look your best. No one tells you but even after giving your best shot overall, killing your system and mind with work , it was made obvious with their constant nagging and comparisons to a whole lot of world outside and how others daughter in laws were brilliant . No stone was left unturned to demean my mannerisms and duties.
Deep down it does effect to dim your abilities and all that nagging works as subtle hammering on your great confidence too. It seemed that life was on a constant run for years. My story I had shared in few episodes earlier. Now when I look back I myself wonder how I survived . Gosh!
No one would have bothered if you lost your health, your looks, your personality or your precious life, for actually you are worth nothing for them. But inspite of all that I was facing I did carry within my own charm that I was Blessed with from my wonderful Parents , so I took everything under one umbrella as my discipline and duty for I had to raise my kids.
By God’s Grace our business picked up and the child in me was happy to get to buy some gold jewellery which I never had on me or ever got wear for good 6-7 years after my marriage. Slowly I felt some dreams coming true.
The story behind my fascination for gold was in me since childhood . I loved the colour of gold always and my Mom used to get lot of jewellery made almost every month. The family Goldsmith used to frequent our home almost twice a month with latest jewellery design books and Mom would selectively choose and design what she would want for herself and for her kids in future.
I used to imagine myself like a queen loaded with jewellery , such was my fascination for gold. Who would know that I would go ahead and choose a man who barely earned his bread. On a serious note that is what we do with our choices, knowingly and unknowingly.
So now that I had jewlery on me imagine my inner joy. I felt rich after donkey years. No, not that it ever bothered me for my world was complete with a man I was madly in love with , my kids , my life and was confident that the Divine will show us great days. Such a faith I carried in me at all times.
I knew a very dear friend who was from Delhi and was married to a very rich man. Her husband had a massive bungalow and kept her like a queen and she always threw her attitude on every woman she knew in her circle of friends. Though she had some good qualities too, of getting big yagyas and poojas done in her haweli ( bungalow) .
One day I was invited with the kids to attend a birthday party of her kids ( as my kids and her kids were in the same school too ) . Once at the party one could make out how elaborate and lavish everything was. There were guests from different towns too and one such guest was her cousin sister Veena from a different city. She was a charming lady and her husband looked liked a thorough gentleman . I was introduced to them and told they owned cloth mills in Calcutta. We ended up with interesting conversations and spent a good time at the party.
Years rolled by around 2009 I shifted to Kolkata, our situation was great and financially we had nothing to worry about. Since Veena too stayed in Kolkata I took her no from my friend and called her and invited her over. Since I had a great memory of her good nature in my head for years even though we had met once, I thought it would be great to connect and know her better and have another good friend in the city.
Veena was delighted to hear my voice and she along with her husband came the very next day to meet me over lunch at my place. What I could not figure out was that she did not look the same. The couple it seemed had aged before time, she seemed very shaky and even the way she was dressed up, it felt something was amiss .
After lunch the intense conversation started and I was told that the govt had shut down many cloth mills in the city and they incurred huge losses and in a few days time they were almost on the roads as they had loans to pay off, and for that they no choice but to sell off everything.
Strange, isn’t it ! How life blows out many dreams in just a fraction of moment . I felt very sad for them. The couple left after lunch and we promised to meet each other soon.
I called my best friend ( the rich lady) and narrated about her cousin. I was shocked when she asked me to abstain from Veena , giving the reason that she is mentally sick and is abnormal . I could not digest the fact, that when Veena had everything she was considered the best and when their condition is gone bad she is being portrayed as mentally sick and a lost person. In fact I lost faith in my best friend who had no heart for her own cousin as she no longer carries any status.
Sadly after a month or so Veena lost her mother. As soon as I got the news I informed her I was coming to meet her at her place. This was the first time I was going to her house.
I knew by the address ( as I am familiar with lot of areas of Calcutta, since it’s my hometown) it wasn’t a great area she was staying in . Above all it was raining cats and dogs, and that area could get flooded many a times. My driver drove patiently and we managed to reach her place eventually. I saw Veena already waiting down on the side of the pavement for me with a big umbrella . Since there was no parking place in that area I asked my driver to go back and that he could come and pick me up once I call him.
Veena then took me through couple of narrow lanes, one could hardly walk in there, so overcrowded and full of vendors all over to the extent of even getting pushed.
Poor thing, time and again kept asking , if I was ok, and I kept saying , “ yes I’m fine don’t worry!” My heart knew how I was walking ( honestly there are certain old habits that never die, and since childhood I have phobia of dingy and overcrowded places, but then I myself had to spend good many years with my ex too in gutted places. Sigh! I wondered at times, looking at the sky, speaking to God many times“ how many Agni pareekshas are you going to take?” “ bring it on, I will not give up!” ).
Finally we reached her building , her flat was on the fifth floor, and guess what…there were no lifts ( elevators) She looked at my feet, then me and said,” will you be able to climb the stairs with your heels?”. The plus point was I was going to the gym and was fit to climb , so assured her that I would be fine .
As we reached the fifth floor, I could see a shrunk lane, where some people were sitting on the way , and once I reached and saw her flat I really had to hold my breath. The bare cemented walls, the small creeky unpolished old doors , with almost no furniture. Veena dusted a chair and asked me to be comfortable. I sat down quietly and the couple sat on a wooden cot kept in front of the chair. We spoke about her dear Mom. She shared some sweet memories of her Mom and cried many times and I kept consoling her. She was a brave woman I felt.
After a while Veena made tea for us. I was silent and kept noticing everything in her place. What bothered me more was my attire ( though it was cotton, but expensive) my arms loaded with gold bangles and fingers equally loaded with gold and diamond rings. And the place where I was sitting, was a humble abode where the beings in the house were short of almost everything. I felt embarrassed for myself. How rich I was? The big question just kept popping in my head.
Veena wanted me to have lunch with them. Whilst having lunch I could hear some strange tiny drops falling into a bucket that was kept on a big old stool close to my chair. I looked at it and then at the couple , I think they understood what I was feeling. Veena just smiled politely and said, “ Oh the roof leaks terribly, esp when it’s pouring heavily , we have to get the roof fixed once the rains stop”.
But the truth was, that anytime with a heavy down pour the roof would come down . It could be fatal for the family.We finished having lunch, which was dal rice and vege made with so much love.
Her husband went to rest in another small room next to the kitchen.
“ I know you are little shocked looking at our condition “, Neema sat down on the floor next to me and smiled softly.
I quietly looked at her and said, “ since when and how long have you been staying like this?”
“It’s been almost six years”, she said .
I tried to ease the situation and change the topic.
“Can I have another cup of tea”, “ let me help you in the kitchen” I said.
“ Oh no, just relax yourself, the house is in a mess”she smiled at me.
But I accompanied her to the kitchen, everything was in shambles. My eyes could not believe as how they were staying like this. The bathroom was broken . My heart was crying from within. Above all, these so called rich cousins of her ( who were my so called best friends) and visited Calcutta and meet her every two years, ( though they stay put in big hotels) did they not have a heart to part with something in cash so that they could atleast fix their place. They had ample money to spend on yagyas, gaudaan, parties but had no heart to help their dear ones.
I know I was told by my so called best friend that she carries her daughter’s clothes for Veena’s daughter and that I guess was more than enough and like a big favour.
I came back into the room where I was seated, the leaky roof was now dripping big drops speedily. My heart was racing , for something in me was asking me to take off my jewellery and give it to her. How could I leave this place without not parting with what I have and what I could do?
Trust me, it’s very important to listen to your heart, when there is a strong pull to take a call and act on it.
I picked up my phone, messaged to my kids father ( ex) who had come from abroad for couple of days.
I sent a message that read, “ Veena’s house is almost in shambles, the roof can come down anytime, I don’t know how are they surviving? “ I am taking out my gold bangles and giving it to her, and don’t stop me please. ( the irony of an Indian wife is, she has to seek permission from her husband before she decides on anything).
“ You better come back home, you are not doing anything of this sort , period”, was the abrupt message I got back.
I felt the most helpless that day, and before leaving her house I promised to myself that I would keep aside these gold bangles only for her and give her once the ex is gone back. I gave some cash to Veena before I left.
With a very heavy heart I came back. I sat down on the couch, my son was waiting for me too. He knew what I was going through. I just broke down inconsolably, for I felt I could have done my bit there and then and I failed. Of what use is this gold for me, when I don’t know how to acknowledge the richness of a pure heart going through so much mess in front of me.
But they say God is kind. I never touched those bangles again. I kept those bangles and few others rings and pendant separately in a bag for Veena. After a couple of weeks time finding my quite time I called Veena and her husband to my place.
I took Veena in my bedroom upstairs , chit chatted with her for a bit , and then I took the jewellery bag and handed it to her.
“ What is this?” she asked shockingly .
“ This is your stuff Veena, that God gifted me to hand it over to you”. “Please don’t refuse”, I tucked the bag in her hands.
Veena was in tears, and hugged me and Blessed me.
“ I wish I could do more”, “thank you for accepting it”.
We went down into the living room. Lunch was served and then I asked my security to call the cab, as they had come by bus. When the cab arrived, my security guards took some packets and loaded it in the luggage section .
It was some stuff like quilts, pillows , utensils and water purifier that I had got for Veena’s place.
The couple was in tears and I stood just with folded hands in front of them, for I truly felt that God stood right in front of me that time in their form.
What more could my life ask for. It has immense gifts of His Grace, and I feel He chooses me to part with His gifts further.
There has been endless moments in my life where I have witnessed Divine in many such ways and I strongly feel Him guiding me to do the same.
My Son who was in London was now a Doctor, started supporting me from the year 2012. With his help I shifted to a rented apartment in Kolkata. In 2016, my Son and his beautiful wife called me to arrange a proper Indian wedding with rituals , though the couple had a registered marriage in 2014. But no support of the parents from either side financially to spend on the couple’s wedding. My kids did not have the opportunity to experience what normally a good family would do for children .
I had booked The Taj as the wedding Venue , we invited just limited guests . I had saved a bit to book a suite room for couple of days for both of them as gift to them. Apart from that I had nothing on me that I could gift them, but trust me my kids are the coolest and for them these things don’t matter. Veena was invited too, she came and Blessed them enough.
There is loving Grace on my family. So much to be thankful for .My dear son and his bride are well settled with a beautiful home in London , my little grand daughter enjoying all the treasures of life, My daughter well settled in Canada doing extremely well.
Oh yes, Veena shifted to a new apartment a few years ago ( her father willed some property on her name out of the blue) her daughter is abroad and things are wonderful for her too. Amazing, isn’t it!
With immense Gratitude I would warm up this post by a little quote by Saint Basil“ A Tree is known by it’s fruit, A man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers Love. Kindness is helping the world, one person at a time, it not only changes you, it changes the world.
He truly watches and knows where to leave the glitterati effect of His treasures , isn’t it ! Hari Om !😊🦢
May we all be Blessed with His Grace always🌾
Thank you Divine
Jai Sri. Hari🙏🕉