Saturday, February 20, 2010

THE PRAYER

For a long time, there were no calls from Ramesh. It meant: He was tension-free.

But, was he?

Ramesh was my student about fifteen years ago. That was when he was in his final-year B.Com. He came from a very ordinary Maharashtrian joint-family. During these fifteen years, he would call me regularly, take appointment from me, and discuss his problems - his 'tension', as he would call them. All his 'tension' sprang from either his job, or his joint family, or - after his marriage - the relationship with his wife. Every time Ramesh called, it would be to discuss his 'tension'. Nothing else.

So, when there was no news from Ramesh, for quite a long time, I felt happy for him. Then, just the day-before evening, he called me up. "Sir, tomorrow will be my son's first birthday," Ramesh announced, sounding good. "I want to bring him to you... What time is convenient for you?"

We fixed for 9.00 the next morning. That was yesterday. Sharp at 9, Ramesh and his wife appeared along with their birth-day child. They had left their home at 6 in the morning to pay a visit to the Siddivinayak temple. They came to me directly from there. I was their second important 'vigneshwar'. I felt quite elated about it!

Their child was very vibrant, very lively. I played with him as I kept the discussion on. Surprisingly, both of them spoke about everything else, except, the 'tension'. Finally, unable to contain my curiosity, I asked Ramesh, "Tell me, you had not called me for a long time... No more tension?"

They both looked at each other and laughed. "We prayed in the temple, today," Ramesh's wife told me. "What did you pray?" I took a teacher's liberty to probe. They, once again, looked into each other's eyes and managed to smile. "Lord, we do not pray to do away with the problems in our life... only give us the wisdom and strength to handle them," Ramesh's young wife replied. "We have stopped feeling desperate and helpless."

I felt even happier for them. They had been able to get hold of the 'handle'. That's all what is required in life. The secret is always an open one, and an age-old one: "Lord, we do not pray to do away problems from our life... only to give us the wisdom and strength to handle them."

To ask for a life without problems, means asking for more problems... more frustration, more sorrow and bitterness. Problems are situations... and, every situation has to change, shift. Like the clouds across the vast sky, the situations keep moving. Yes, every dark cloud has a silver lining around it... but, we fail to see it. We fail to see the hidden Sun, the hope.

Life, thy name is problems, tension!

As Ramesh and his wife began to leave, I gently ran my hand on the velvety head of the little one. Amitabh and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, too, walk miles to pray to the same lord, at the same temple. The stinkingly rich Anil Ambani, as well. Doesn't Sachin do? Doesn't Barrack Obama... maybe, before the same Lord, but by another name? "You, too, shall," I blessed the one-year-old. "Dhanya ho!"

GERALD D'CUNHA

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