THE DISTANCE AND YEARS
Every morning, I receive, on my cell-phone, a short passage from the Holy Bible. A dear friend of mine - who lives hundreds of miles away - sends it to me, regularly, every morning. And, it feels good!
On every Christmas day, right when the Sun comes out in the East, I receive a lovely bouquet of flowers. Gauthami and Hetal were my students, more than fifteen years ago, when they were in their final-year B’Com. Ever since then – yes, for all these years – they have made sure that I – their sir – should receive the most exquisite bouquet on Christmas-day morning!
“Please. Please don’t bother,” I keep telling them, every year.
But then, they do bother, do send.
“Sir, there are only two teachers in our life to whom we do it,” they tell me. “To one, we send it on his Birthday. To you, we do it on Christmas.”
Yes, they have been doing it, without a break, for more than fifteen long-years! Both Gauthami and Hetal are married and settled in two different, far away, corners of our city. They have their joint families, husbands, children and their respective professions to mind. Fifteen years are too long a period to keep a teacher like me in mind. We may wish, send flowers for a year or two… and then, we tend to get sucked in our own world. We forget. Gauthami and Hetal are certainly no exception. But, every time the Christmas comes, these two amazing ladies remind me that they ARE!
Mitesh is in Singapore, now. He too passed out his B’Com about twenty years ago. He has lived in many countries during all these years. Again, he has never failed to send me a Christmas card for all these years. No mobile-phone or e-mail greetings, it is a real card – the ‘hard copy’ – to his sir!
Again, I have told him repeatedly, “Mitesh, why do you take so much trouble?”
“It is no trouble sir,” Mitesh tells me, “It is my pleasure.”
I used to send cards on Diwali, Christmas and New-year occasions. Later, I began to send greetings on e-mails and mobile phone. I met a middle-aged man last evening. I had always sent greetings on the New-year day to this man. This time, I forgot.
“I didn’t receive your New-Year greetings this time,” he grumbled, as soon as he opened his mouth, last evening.
“Happy New-year,” I offered my hand.
But, his lukewarm-response conveyed to me that he was a little upset: I was supposed to send him my wishes, you see!
“You could have sent me your wishes, even though I hadn’t.” I felt like shouting at him. That would have been an ugly way of going about life, particularly a New Year… I chose to be deaf to what I had just heard from this man!
Why should Gauthami and Hetal send me a loving bouquet each Christmas? Why should Mitesh his greeting card? Why should my friend send me inspiring lines of the Holy Book, each morning? Why, even though I keep telling them, “Please. Please don’t bother.”
Some days ago, when I was in Mangalore, I met a dear old-friend of mine. I was very close to their family. However, I had not communicated with them for over two decades. Still, when I met them this time, I felt the same warmth as I felt years ago. There were so many birthdays, anniversaries, Jubilees, marriages, Christenings, Holy Communions, even deaths, in their as well as our families during these twenty long-years. And still, when we met, neither of us complained about the lack of communication.
“The distance and years
are only that…
the distance and years,”
this friend told me.
“How true!” I agreed.
And yes, ‘Happy New-Year’ is only that… only ‘words’! Yes, unless our hearts know how to rejoice – by being simple, grateful and hopeful!
A Christmas card. A lovely bouquet. A Holy passage. Thank you.
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.