Saturday, September 26, 2009

Journey to earth

“Hello, how are you?” asked Nehru, surprised to see Gandhi on earth.

“I am doing fine. I am sure you can’t be still alive, so what are you doing here?” asked Gandhi, equally astonished at his encounter with Nehru.

“Oh! I was in heaven, and they gave me an opportunity to visit earth, as a reward for my good conduct. I was hoping to see you in heaven ever since I checked in there; what happened?” enquired Nehru with a genuine concern, knowing that Gandhi deserved to be there.

“I was in hell all the while and I am going to get in to heaven after this trip to earth. For two pins, you never cared a button about karma concept and never listened to me when I implored you to read Gita. So let me tell you this, every human being does bad and good karma; based on his deeds, he would be directed to spend time in hell and/or heaven. Initially, he would spend his time in hell if he did relatively little bad karma and later he get to spend his life in heaven. On the other hand if he did lot of bad karma, the opposite would be the case. Now you know where you stand” smiled Gandhi with a grin on his face.

“Do you mean to say you did more good in your life than I?” questioned Nehru, bit disappointed over Gandhi’s sarcastic remarks.

“No, don’t take me amiss, I don’t mean to traduce you. It was just that I confessed my bad karma in my book ‘My experiments with Truth’. That nullified all the bad karma I did.”

Nehru for a fraction of second regretted that he did not know this eternal dharma, had he known about this he would have written everything in his autobiography. But in a jiffy he realized it’s much better that he did not write everything about him or it would have taken lid off so many things.

“Anyway, I am happy about you Gandhiji for all right things you did in your life, but you were born before your time, if you are alive now and have the courage to speak nothing but truth, you would have won yourself a crore rupees and a direct ticket to Heaven.”

“What…………… why do you think so?” asked Gandhi with a puzzled look on his face.

“Do you know about this television show, called ‘Sach ka saamna’, which is a Indian version of American TV show ‘the moment of truth’. The foibles and forte of this show are being debated on this earth as well as in heaven. In this show, host asks 21 questions that are interwoven to your personal life, whose answers would have to be either simple Yes or No. If you give right answers (basically speak truth), you would go home with a crore rupees. Polygraph machine or Lie detector, as the name suggests, examines whether a person is speaking truth or not. Even in Indralok, Gods are so tech savvy these days that everything is computerized and mechanized over there. And I tell you, Brahma is so happy these days, he gets to spend most of his time with Saraswathi” said Nehru with a glee in his eyes.
“So what is your point” asked Gandhi, still not very clear what Nehru was trying to imply.

“Ah! Same thing that I have said earlier, you would have made lots of money in your life time and also had a ticket to heaven. I envy those people who appear on the show, earn money and a have secure place in heaven. But Gandhiji………… it beats me, if you had written everything right about yourself in your book, why did you end up in hell in the first place. You confessed all of your bad karma, right?” asked Nehru.

“Nehruji, you are up the creek in this regard, do you really think 200 odd pages book is sufficient to write about all good and bad things you had done in your life. And above that we did not have lie detector to test our so called ‘true confessions’. In the similar way, 21 question and answers are not just enough to talk about person's life. Essentially, what I am trying to say is to minimize your bad karma so that you will have to spend less time in hell” said Gandhi.

Gandhi and Nehru reached and settled comfortably in Sabarmati ashram with much ease with their super natural powers. After a 'austere' meal they called it a night and retired to bed.

(To be continued)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

River side

It was not very rare for students’ parents to visit our tuition master (fondly we used to call him Masto). That was our evening tuition class, there was no power but the room was well-lighted with a number of kerosene lamps, and our Masto was teaching us physics. Everyone had one kerosene lamp in front of them. We were bound to carry the lamp with us, as there were no regular hours of power supply to our village. In fact, same kerosene lamp was also being used as torch light while we used to get back to our homes after tuition class. Naidu was standing trembled and was trying to answer the question Masto asked, fully aware of what was going to happen to him in couple of minutes. Home truth is Masto’s method of teaching was very peculiar, unconventional and bit weird: he used to make us know important question and answers by heart, which made many of us to do reasonably well in our board examinations. We had to memorize all the important question and answers that were taught a day before and we were asked the same questions the following day to see if we remember them at all. This method of teaching had been in practice in the best interest of students, since most of the students just wanted to pass in the board exams rather than acquiring knowledge about the subjects. This concept of “just passing the exams without having an iota of knowledge about the subjects” was very disturbing to many of the young and educated minds; but like in any other case, you follow the majority and the so called conventional (unconventional around the world) practices.

While we were in the middle of the class, Madhu’s father came and exchanged formal greetings with Masto. Madhu’s father came to express his grievances about his son. He told Masto that he was ashamed of his son’s misdeeds and his son had put him in much embarrassment. Masto was startled since he did not know what was amiss with Madhu, as Madhu by nature was a hard working and an obedient student. I must mention that our Masto knew more about our well being than our parents; since many of our parents were illiterate and they entrusted their responsibility of our well being on Masto’s shoulders. So it was an unwritten rule that Masto is responsible for our acts of delinquency. Since Madhu’s father refused to tell what exactly made him let-down, Masto called me and asked what was all about it and if I had any idea. If you are a nice and well behaved kid, it does not always come in aid of you. The same case with me; I was caught between rock and a hard place. I know I would have to face the repercussion if I told the truth but I could not help telling him and my fellow mates what had brought shame upon Madhu's father. Before I tell you the story let me take you through our village surroundings.

There were four villages surrounded by a river called Mahendrathanaya (Daughter of Mahendra) and the only factor that kept the four villages together was the village high school, Z.P.H. School, Peddaseedhi, where students from all four villages advanced their higher secondary studies. We belonged to the batch of 1991-1996. Since the school did not have enough number of teachers to educate us all the subjects that we ought to study, we were bound to take tuitions from Masto. Masto used to teach us Mathematics, Physics and English and he used to hire couple of other teachers to teach us Hindi and Social Sciences. On week days, we used to have two sessions and one in the morning and other in the evening. After the evening session we used to disperse for dinner. Girls used to stay back at their homes and we boys used to come back to the tuition, where we used to study together. Our Masto arranged the place in such a way that we could sleep there itself with out having had to go back to our homes at such ungodly hours. This arrangement primarily did some good to most of us; but some guys did make use of this opportunity and enjoyed themselves, in a negative sense of course. This is essentially because if some of us did not turn up to the tuition after dinner, Masto used to think that we were at our homes, as we were not bound to come to tuition after dinner. Some of us used to go for late night movies and few of us used to go sugarcane fields/edible plant fields and enjoyed ourselves. Since it was always in the night we escaped all most all the times with out getting caught. That’s when some of us did something in broad day light which had put us in odd position and taken away the freedom we were enjoying till then.

Here is a brief account of what happened on a bright sunny day morning on the banks of river Mahendrathanaya. Seven of us that include Ravi, Rishi, Kantha Rao, Laxman, Madhu, Kalidas and I decided to go to river to take bath. Kantha Rao and I were from one village, Theemara, and the rest of the guys hailed from the other village Thamara. Laxman and Rishi were short, well built, bold and daring and obviously these qualities made them the leaders of the group. Kantha Rao, Madhu and Kalidas were very ordinary and followed the footsteps of Rishi and Laxman. Ravi and I didn’t get along very well with the group but we were part of it. There were two different routes to reach our destination but they were connected at one place before the two paths lead to the river. As decided earlier, we met at the junction and that was actually when some of us had planned to have coconuts as our breakfast, as if they were up for grabs. Me, not being very daring to venture in to those kind of acts, decided to cut myself from the group, as I am fully aware of the situation if we get caught; Ravi, my good friend probably thought the same and joined me. The rest of the seven were determined to have coconuts, so they proceeded towards coconut plantations, unaware of the future consequences.

Letting the other guys to pursue their misadventures, Ravi and I took the alternative route to reach river. We were just playing around and trying to catch small fishes using our towels. It was nice then as the water level was waist deep, the water flow was not really high. If you were born in a village, although you miss luxuries that city kids would avail, you learn and enjoy so many things that you need in life without paying a penny. Having had the pleasure of fishing for some time, we let them go in to the river. When were about leave for our homes after morning ablutions, we found Kantha Rao running on the banks of the river. At first we could not understand what was going on, so we tried to stop him. We both failed to stop him and in no time he was out of sight. Later, by seeing the other person who was chasing him, we came to an idea what could have gone wrong. We both thanked God for not having had to join them and headed back to home imagining actual series of events that could have taken place and making jokes on that. At the end of the day, I went to Kantha Rao’s home to know exactly what had happened. His mother was bit worried and told me that he had not been to home since morning. Later, from Katha Rao I came to know that he went off to nearby town to save himself from the short comings.

What I gathered from Ravi was that the owner of the coconut plantations who was a resident of Thamara village filed a complaint in Panchayat. Since the premises of the plantations fell in Thamara Village, there was formal hearing in Thamara Panchayat. Laxman, Madhu, Kali Das and Rishi were called and they had to face the music. Kantha Rao was saved because he belonged to the other village and guard of the plantation did not know who Kantha Rao was. So we all thought it’s all over and were in raptures that Masto did not know about this incident till Madhu’s father came to tuition.

Masto was not very happy with me for not letting him know about the incident earlier. Ravi and I got bashings from Masto and we were fine with that as we were used to such bashings. What was not digestible was the kind of punishment Laxman, Rishi, Kantha Rao and Kalidas got. They were beaten up with a plank on their knees and on their fingers. So the take home message from this anecdote is not to go around and take other’s things for granted.