May 15, 2010

INDIA: Two bodies, one soul...

NEW DELHI / The Times of India / Life & Style / Spirituality / Soul Curry / May 15, 2010

 After her mother’s death, Rinku Goyal sees same generous qualities reflected in her father 

I grew up in a house where birthdays and anniversaries were celebrated by visits to orphanages, blind schools and old age homes. She would buy sweets, biscuits, namkeen, make halwa puri, fruits, etc and distribute it herself. She loved to see the joy in people’s faces.

Slowly, these visits became monthly, sometimes fortnightly or whenever the mood took her. Most of the time my father and I were informed after the deeds were performed.

Over the years, my mother built her daily routine around feeding every living creature she could, including birds, stray dogs, cats, cows and any beggar she could spot. She never associated with any organisation but patronised quite a few. Through all this, my father’s role was that of a silent, supportive husband. He would always be present when asked, but would never interfere; and that is how she liked it.

In July 2001, my husband and I shifted to Delhi from Mumbai. My parents lived in Jaipur by then and so they decided to drive down to Delhi to help us settle down. About 20 minutes of starting their journey, they had an accident. Logs from a stationary trolley hit the windshield, going from the driver’s side to my mom, who was sitting behind the driver. She died on the spot, and the driver was seriously injured. My father and the domestic help miraculously escaped unhurt. My father’s first thought after the accident was “Thank God, we are safe”, after which he turned to look at my mother.

With the help of some people from the road and an RTDC bus, my father took my mother and the driver to a nearby police station, and then on to the hospital in Bawal, where the doctors declared my mother dead. The driver was seriously injured, but could be treated only in the hospital in the next town. So my father left my mother’s body in Bawal, and took the driver to Rewari. He spent the entire day making sure the driver was saved, and then returned to claim my mother’s body and start his long journey back home alone.

A few months later, the driver came to visit my father. Both of them sat in the verandah in my father’s house, shedding tears. The driver’s silent tears, begging for forgiveness and expressing gratitude, and my father’s tears expressing grief for having lost my mother. Finally, my father got up and gave some money to the driver and told him that it was my mother who saved his life and not him. For had there been an iota of life left in my mother, he would have moved heavens to save her and would not have worried about the driver!

Later, my father said that, on the fateful day, he thought of what my mother would have done, had she been the one to live. She would have run from pillar to post to save the driver, forgetting her own grief. I could only stare at my father in awe, for after performing the highest acts of humanity he was still passing on the credit to my mom! 

Till then, I had always thought that it was my mother who was the saintly soul, always giving, touching each heart she met; but finally I realised that they were both two sides of the same coin. I thank my stars to have been born to such parents.

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