13 Jan 2011

The Stone Melted

I am an atheist, he declared everywhere he went. This man aged 69yrs was a retired government engineer; kids who looked after him, grandchildren who loved him, daughter-in-laws who took great care of him and most importantly a lovely wife who had taken the “in life and death” vows of marriage very seriously were his biggest and only assets.

It is still fresh in my memory how he had made the architect take off the “puja” room from the blue print of his new home. His wife persuaded, sons made a fuss, daughter in laws cribbed but he listened to none. His words were always final & once he decides on things there would be no chances of looking back. So the home had no prayer hall, & all of them had accepted the truth, moved on with it.

In between all this his wife had started a simple ritual which had later turned out to be part and parcel of her life. She used to leave home on pretext of morning walk, go all the way from her home to the florist, buy some fresh jasmine and reach the famous “Vinayak” temple of her town. She used to offer flowers, did her prayers and return home. All this without the husband getting to know; that was probably the only thing in their 40 years of wedding she hid from him. 

It was the horrible winters the city had ever witnessed and it was also the winter the family was given the bad news. The old man’s wife was detected with 2nd stages of throat cancer. Her conditions deteriorated each day & within few days she was bed ridden. She couldn’t swallow anything due to the lump, and the amount of medicines she had to take was in plenty. The old man stayed by her all the time, nursing, caring and reading stories to her. He did not sleep even when she did. But the cancer had reached the final stages, & the wife started having hallucinations. She cried and yelled in pain for months, asked for a peaceful sleep but death wasn’t even near her although the doctors had given up any hopes.

“I have a final wish” she wrote with difficulty, her handwriting all shaken. She felt that the deity she worshipped every single day was not letting her go. She had asked him the impossible; her request to him was to visit the temple, pray and get her the divine water they used to wash the idol.

He did not complain; he had to do it for the soul mate who had not asked him anything till date. Before anyone could talk, he left to the temple. He returned with a tumbler of the divine water; he sat next to her holding hands.

“I am sorry that for all these years you had to visit that place with lot of apprehensions that I would come to know and not let you do it. It is a place with tremendous positive energy and I am ashamed that I did not realize it till this part of my life. As they say it is better late than ever, you fixed that divine appointment with the lord today. I spoke with him to my heart’s content, told him that you were suffering more than the pain. He has assured peace with this” and made her sip the water.


Her eyes sparkled the best at that moment; she was overjoyed. We all could see the sense of contentment; with a smile she closed her eyes. My uncle doesn’t miss his routine prayers at that temple since that day. Your aunt was his messenger, he always quotes