There are certain traits that we carry with us from childhood itself. I would like to call them default settings or pre-installed software in our system. I am afraid of crossing such roads, where there is a lot of traffic(if I’m with a family member or a friend, they are kind enough to hold my hand while crossing);even when any small animal is crossing the road, I close my eyes!  People-pleasing tendency also started at a young age(but now I can genuinely see good in others, and honestly appreciate them). The only trait that I am eternally grateful for is, my love for the lord, the faith in him, the child-like belief that for my lord nothing is impossible! Over the years this love has only intensified it has gone through lows, my fears sometimes would overpower the faith, but in the end, the divine hasn’t let me down!

When I was a small kid, my father would tell me many mythological stories, I enjoyed them. But my favourite was the Bhakta Prahalad story, how the Lord took the Narsimha Avtar for his little bhakta, how almighty saved him each time Hiranyakashyap would try to kill his son. I’m grateful to my father, for sowing the seed of faith in my heart.

As a child, I was afraid of ghosts, robbers, dogs howling at night. My mind would cook up weird scenarios, so I thought I should maybe pray at night to sleep peacefully. Thus started my connection with the lord. I was fascinated by Shivji, he looked so fearless, wearing a snake, like a garland. Something about him looked so reassuring, like when I’m with you, nothing can go wrong. He was, is, will be my superhero forever. I would chant “OM NAMAH SHIVAAY”, in my mind at night, and fall asleep.I’M not very sure what my age was at that time.

Here I would like to share one incident, that strengthened my faith. I was in 4th standard at that time. My maths teacher called me and told me that she could not find my maths homework notebook, she has checked twice in the staff room. She asked me to check at home, if I don’t find it, I will have to make a new one. I insisted mam, I had submitted it for sure! She replied sternly, check at home, else make a new one! I went home and checked my bag, the cupboard where we kept all my books, and could not find it. Not fair, I thought, so much to be written again! When I went to bed that night, I had my first conversation with Shivji,” Hi Shivji, I’m in deep trouble(it looked like a big problem at that age), I cannot find my HW notebook, I’m pretty sure I had submitted it, without any mistake at my end, I will have to write so much again! Can you do something about this? Please help me out, please!  After praying for some 10 mins, I said, I’m feeling sleepy, good night.”

The next morning, I checked my timetable, Maths was after the short break. So, wait and watch! What else could be done? As I entered the school building, the first person I saw was my maths teacher. Mam was generally a latecomer, we had often seen her coming to school when the assembly would be going on. Seeing her, so early itself was a miracle(later I came to know, she was the teacher on duty that day, so she had come early, and while on duty, they do not take classes, had I not met her in the morning, we would have met only the next day!). I wished her good morning, she said,” Rashmi, by mistake, I had taken your notebook to my house, I found it yesterday night when I was looking for something else.”I smiled and said ok mam, “thank you!”But I cannot put in words, how happy I was, so Shivji listens, he is so kind, so sweet I thought! The little seed of faith had sprouted after this experience.😊

Thus developed a habit at a pretty young age, of sharing everything with the lord. At night I would discuss my day, people, my fears, shortcomings, desires everything! He is the storehouse of all my secrets! Later I became equally close to Shirdi Sai,(I call him ‘BABA MUMMA’).

In March 2021, we had an unwelcome guest in our house. I live in a joint family,3 families on 3 floors. My aunt had developed fever, body ache, etc. My uncle had a slight fever and cold. At that time their daughter and her kids had come from Chennai. The kids had fever too. It was more than obvious, that coronavirus, had entered our house. I still prayed, at night to the lord, the test result should be negative; but the next morning, the test results were positive. Uncle and aunt were admitted to a good hospital, given their age, we didn’t want to take any risk. Fortunately, they responded well to the treatment.

In two days on our floor, my paati(grandmother), developed a slight fever. My Masaji(uncle), who lives in Mumbai, is a doctor. He prescribed medicines for her and asked her to get tested the next morning. That night I prayed intensely to Shivji and baba mumma, my paati doesn’t know how to operate a mobile, she has never stayed alone, she is not very comfortable with Hindi too, if the results come positive we’ll have to admit her, please do not let this happen, my lord, please! The next day she got tested, and in the evening, the results came positive. I was heartbroken and scared. I also felt betrayed, a feeling, my lord did not listen to my sincere prayers. My cousin, who had also tested positive by then, took paati to the hospital for further tests. We were grateful, she did not have to go alone.

Given her age factor, it was much better to get her admitted. Began the frantic calls for the availability of a bed in a good hospital. My cousin brother and my entire bua’s family(aunt), helped us a lot. That night,paati was at home, my amma(mother), became restless. After every few hours, she would go and check her oxygen saturation,(of course, taking all precautions)enquiring about her health, etc. I couldn’t sleep either. I cried my heart out, I’m quite a sensitive person and a lot of people have seen me cry, but when I cry with my lord, it is indescribable, with him I am my most vulnerable self. Why did you let this happen? How will she face this? After fighting a little, I said of course this is the reality and we have to face it. But now I badly need you, not only with me but with each one in the family, too much has happened in a short time.

The next morning, my aunt spoke to a friend. The friend’s family owns a hospital in Nagpur, they are rich and powerful, but humble people. They had beds available. A guy who works as a supervisor, at our site office, was ready to take paati in our car(he has done a lot of seva for other covid patients too). My cousin sister from Bangalore called and told me a real-life story of a 90-year-old lady, who defeated, this virus and came home healthy! At that time, it was a very reassuring call, full of hope and faith, I narrated this to my paati (from a considerable distance). 29 year old me, was giving my 79-year-old paati all the gyaan! Of how we are never alone, God is there in every form taking care of us. I told her to trust her Lord Rama and guru (maternal side of my family are followers of ANANDASHRAM, KERALA).

She got admitted on a Sunday afternoon. The owner of the hospital called my amma. The kind lady told my mother,”Don’t worry she is like my own mother, she will be taken care of well and we’ll send her home after she is alright, I will arrange a malyalee nurse for her from tomorrow. The nurse and doctor in charge will also call and give you health updates.”My paati felt weak, due to the medications but fortunately, she responded well to the treatment. In 2 days, she saw the death of an old man and this scared her. But she continued with her regular prayers. On the third day, another aunty from our area got admitted to the same hospital, in the same room as my paati. I can’t explain, how relieved they felt on seeing each other. This familiar feel helped them in the healing process too.

After coming home, my paati told me, you always tell me that God takes care of us, this time I could feel it! Through the kindness of doctors and nurses, through this maami getting admitted next to my bed(aunty is also doing well), I felt the presence of the divine so many times. So I rushed to give my thanks to Shivji and baba mumma; despite 9 of us in the family(including me) tested positive, still, with his grace, this tough phase passed too! The lord is a magician, only he can convert my fears into gratitude-filled tears 😃 every day, through a phone call, through a hopeful message, through positive updates from the hospital, I felt the divine at work. So grateful to all instruments(humans), he chose to play their role.

Faith has been an integral part of my life, I admit I’m not strong enough to live life without my permanent support system, ie my lord. Like a human parent, doesn’t give up on us when we are learning to walk, but keep falling again and again; our merciful, compassionate creator doesn’t give up on us too.No matter how bad we feel about our flaws, he loves us nevertheless. He waits patiently for us to become our better version, helping us all along!

On this earth, Lord Rama too had his share of sufferings, so no matter how perfect someone’s life looks from outside; they too have been tested in life, physically or mentally or financially, etc, and no matter how strong a person is they need some support too. This long post is just to convey one message, you are never alone, and you are always loved! If you are looking for the most trustworthy, loving, lovable companion turn to your favourite deity/guru, he/she is listening! “Having god, in your boat, doesn’t mean that you will not face any storm. But it means that no storm can sink your boat. Walk in faith, and you will never walk alone!”

Thanks for reading, may the Lord keep you and your loved ones, happy and safe, stay blessed!🤗

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Rashmi Ramanathan

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