O Lord Shiva (A tale about spirituality in India) - English version | DIARIO LITERARIO DIGITAL

O Lord Shiva (A tale about spirituality in India) - English version

jueves, 16 de julio de 2015 0 comentarios

"A story about a different era of Indian culture"

Written by Suresh Kumar

From Punjab, India

For Diario Literario Digital

(Digital Literary Journal)

O Lord Shiva,

"Please meet me at 5PM sharp, there are things to be discussed, and do not be late cause I will bring you some hot food and mangoes. I repeat, do not be late. Your loving Rani".

  Rani wrote this letter to Lord Shiva, the almighty God, when she was only 9 years old. She put the letter in an envelope, addressing God.......from ....Rani.And posted it in the mail box.

Since it was a small village, the postman brought this letter back to Dharamchand, Rani’s father and the biggest landlord of Dharamsala. He told about the letter to his wife and they had a good laugh.

Dharamsala was a place surrounded by mountains, water falls and big trees all around. Most of the men were either farmers or craftsmen . Women were house wives. Dharamchand was a very big land lord. All the communities lived in harmony. There were separate schools for boys and girls. Girls were not allowed to study more than the middle school and they were married before they reached 16 years of age.... Life was simple. Till the 1960's the mean of transportation was a bullock cart for the remote areas of India. Rich people had horses for themselves. Rani's family had a few. Her best friend was Salma, a poor fatherless Muslim girl. Rani would always take extra lunch for her in the school. She had a big heart. She was a true believer of God but not religious at all. She always told everyone that God is one and all are equal. Her parents were so proud of her. Salma was allowed to visit Rani anytime she wanted.

In Aug.1970, She got married, at the set age of 16, in a nearby town and brought a lot of dowry with her. (Dowry is the load of gifts which are gifted by the bride’s family to the newly married couple, which is officially banned in modern India, but only officially). She was rich and beautiful. Her husband Mahesh was a Captain in the army and was posted in Assam.

Soon after the marriage, Mahesh received a telegram from the Army Headquarter to report back to his unit immediately. He packed his bags and went back to join his duty. They didn’t have their honeymoon yet. Rani was confused, not even a hug or kiss on her forehead. She didn’t know what to do. A teenage kid was now the mistress of a big house where she lived with her mother-in-law , two sister-in-laws, two maids and Madho the cart wheeler driver. Being the daughter-in-law of this house, she was responsible for cooking, washing clothes, cleaning the house and care for the cows and the family. She felt very strange, she was exhausted and tired. She was a child after all.

She had been married for six months now and she had already forgotten her husband’s face. Indian brides would not take their veils off their faces for many months and sometimes many years. She was missing her parents very much. It was her older brother Durga’s wedding the following month. The date of marriage was fixed for February 18. Mahesh was immediately informed, as the son-in-law is
regarded as the guest of honour in Indian society. Mahesh was supposed to be with her. She was excited, her heart was pounding. She was still untouched.

But Mahesh didn’t come. 

There was a war between India and Pakistan. 
The Pakistan Army launched an action against East Pakistan and India was directly involved in the rescue of the civilians (East Pakistan was declared Bangladesh on March 26, 1971). In this action, Mahesh was lost. She did not know what to do. For the first time after her marriage she missed her husband so much. Everyone in the village was talking about her ill fate, “very unlucky” was the word she was hearing everywhere. It was so shocking for her and her parents. People were suggesting her to get married again. The situation was so horrible and confusing. Rani was always crying. Suddenly she wanted to go back to Mahesh’s house. But she was unlucky and now unwanted too. Her world was finished.

With time everything started cooling down. Rani decided to go continue her school again and study further to be a teacher. Her father agreed but her mother wanted her to re- marry and settle down. But she was determined. It took her five years to be a teacher and as soon as she finished, she took a job in the Boys Senior School.
In the mean time, her youngest sister’s wedding was fixed. This time Rani was not excited at all. All the memories were back. Since she was so young, everybody was still insisting her to get married again. ¡At last a marriage in Dharamchand’s house! Everyone was happy. People were ignoring her and she knew all about it. The bride went away. The guests had left, the workers were paid.

The wall clock banged five times, it was 5PM and there was a knock at the door. Rani was combing her five feet long hair. She opened the door and there was this stranger standing in front of her and he instantly said, "Rani, I am Mahesh”.

Rani almost lost her balance and Mahesh extended his hands to hold her. She was in his arms with her hair touching the floor. She was a bride again. Everybody wanted to know what had happened to him. Mahesh told them that he had lost his memory after a nasty bomb blast at the war, and how a Muslim landlord called Rehman took very good care of him, all this time, until he recovered. Rehman had mango farms where Mahesh worked voluntarily.

Her father, Dharamchand, recalled the letter written so long ago, and smiled. Rani’s prayer was answered. God was well in time and Rani was right, “God is one”, because another name of Lord Shiva Is Mahesh and Rehman is a name for Allah. All her childhood Rani helped her muslim friend Salma without prejudice, and somewhere else, her husband Mahesh was taken care by a complete stranger. 


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