That was too much for me, first of all I didn’t know who Sheetal is and over that blaming me for murder, I was hopping mad. Suddenly it struck me that Sheetal is one of the characters in my short love story where sheetal would die due to a dreadful disease. As I recollected the story and was about to confirm it with her, she showed me bunch of papers which she was hiding behind and said “why you didn’t tell in last 7 years that you are story writer” she asked. “Sorry great story writer” she adjusted.
“haha .. you scared me Sindhu” suddenly a girl’s name, with eyes red , that too murder..Ho man you made me really go wild for some time” I shared..
"Yes I purposely did it, wanted to make you understand how I felt.."
“What feel” I asked
“Why would you want to kill sheetal in the story, it was such a wonderful romantic story and why did you have to kill her, I was weeping and couldn’t digest that” she said.
I realized that Sindhu was cleaning the house as we had to shift the house sooner and that’s when she got my diary where I have written all my stories in my college days. I was laughing at her and said , all these stories I wrote when I was in college.
“But why didn’t you continue and told even once that you write stories”
“I have told you many times Sindhu may be you did not hear it, “Anyway after you came in to life nothing was interesting other than you, Sindhu” I said
“Don’t give all this dialogue, you are going to continue writing stories” She said.. You need to discover yourself Amit, she said.
It reminded me the OM teacher story and I realized that I was just focused on the spoon of oil and forgot to discover the palace.
“Lets see, first give me some water and snacks, I have to prepare for a press meet tomorrow” I said.
I was the product manager and had to address 10 – 15 press persons in Taj Residency to explain the school product that was implemented in UK successfully in 3 years and to showcase that and implement in India.
My mobile rang and my wife picked up and gave it to me. All I knew it was a bad news as sindhu’s face shrunk.
It took some time for me to digest. I never cried for a person whom I had never seen in my life. But that day I wept as I learnt from my friend that Vaishali madam’s son expired in a car accident in U.S”
He was in US for his higher studies and was later working in an s/w company there, so I didn’t get a chance to meet him nor bothered to look him in the photo when I went to their house in Chennai.But I was feeling bad for Vaishali madam, she is a great person.My product demo in Taj was to be telecasted in CNBC business news next night, but I was still in a shock state and couldn’t concentrate on it. Probably that was the irony of life the long awaited moment in life and I am not in a state of mind to enjoy it.
He came again and asked me
“Why are you sad?”
“You know why – who is this God ?” “Why does he want to punish Vaishali mam, for may be due to some previous birth deeds which she doesn’t even remember now”
“hmm – you are talking about karma. Forget about it, BTW who said God is punishing her”
“what else, she has been doing lot of services taking care of Orphan home and her son is now in pieces due to a car accident”
“But you have to thank God for the reason that he gradually took her son from her and not suddenly. He initially separated her miles away from her by sending him to US 6 years ago.
Now just imagine that he has gone further away to a place where she can’t reach him.”
“Ha it’s easy to see it that way, “I can’t even imagine this tragedy. Only a mother knows how hard it’s to loose her son whom she carried since he was formed in the embryo”
“I agree the loss of life is a tragedy and couldn’t be replaced”
“For your question of why?” I don’t know. Anyway let’s pray for his soul to rest in peace
And you need to tell Vaishali mam to look her son in all the 30 kids’ faces. Probably the bondage she had with her son needs to be tied with them now, he concluded.
It’s always never easy to meet somebody who just lost their son a month ago, I made a trip to Chennai exclusively to meet Vaishali mam. I went to my friends house Nikhil who stays nearby her place and got more details before I could go and meet her, I was so nervous but still made my mind and went to her house.
I expected her to become so weak and so dull face. But she was not as weak and dull as I expected. I walked in looking at her and said ‘I am sorry ma’m”
“Its ok Amit, it’s all happened and it’s all his game” she said pointing upwards.
I saw her son’s photo for the first time which was kept blown up with garland in the hall. Somehow I couldn’t resist tears in my eyes, I controlled to the core as I don’t want to trigger her to go in that mood. But my mouth did not listen to my thoughts and opened up “
“Of all the people why did God chose you to punish “I asked.
She looked at me and started tell me in a soothing voice, it reminded me the situation in the canteen where shared the oil-palace story by Paulo Coelho
Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983. From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: "Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease"?
To this Arthur Ashe replied:
"The world over -- 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis,500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, and 5000 reach the grand slam,50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals,When I was holding a cup I never asked GOD 'Why me?'.
And today in pain I should not be asking GOD 'Why me?' "
"Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrow keeps you Human,
Failure keeps you humble and Success keeps you glowing, but only Faith & Attitude Keeps you going...
“Wise Woman” is what I could think of after this. She has become my friend, philosopher and guide. Our bondage became stronger after this.
Life become normal after, on a Friday night, Sindhu was planning to make a trip to her uncle’s house in DRDO colony
“ Why?” I asked “we have gone only once there after our marriage I am not so comfortable” I said.
I have given my uncle all your stories as his friend is a chief editor in ROOPA publishers.
“So you mean they are going to evaluate my stories to publish in their magazines?” I asked
“precisely” she said.
I have already spoken to him , he already called his friend to review the stories and give his feedback tomorrow.
We all went to his house on Saturday. Her uncle was saying that his friend may publish my short stories in the monthly magazine called “Youth thirst” which is similar to Readers digest. As I had collection of small stories approximately 15, he said they would select best 12 and release it throughout the year, “You will be even getting paid for that,” his uncle said but please write more stories for next year’s edition he said and called his friend.
He gave me the phone after letting him know that I had come to his house.
“Hi Amit, this is Nitesh here. I have read your stories, I had refined them . The stories are really good, most importantly many of them are mind awakening, though initially I thought of publishing your stories every month in our magazine, we are planning to publish it as a separate book itself, collection of short stories like the one R.K. Narayan book”
Some how the comparison of my stories with Readers digest and R K Narayan made me have goose pimples.
“Ok Amit, can you suggest a name for the book, we will do the compilation have the proof read done by next week and you can sign the book and the agreement and we can send it for printing”
It was all like a dream.
The phone was kept in the speaker phone every one looked at me to suggest a name for the book, home, and my presence of mind helped me as usual “how about COCKTAIL” I suggested
Sindhu’s uncle nodded his head, Sindhu was not quite convinced, but nitesh instantly replied “Cocktail – cool it really suits well, it’s a collection of variety of stories”
And since the target audience is youth I think cock tail is very good, OK we will decide it by this weekend if you don’t get any other names.
Please call me some time next week to remind me.
In 8 months time, Cocktail was released and was available in many places like landmark. I was told that 1000 copies were sold in the 4 months. Which is a great number for a first time writer, probably the title was very catchy.
It was a long weekend and also it was my parents wedding anniversary day that Saturday so we all planned to visit them in Chennai. I was in the railway station in Higginbotham. A lady in late 30’s was asking the sales man if they have the book “cocktail”
I was stunned to see a customer buying my book, to my disappointment the sales man asked the author name and after fondling with the computer for 5 minutes he said “no book with that name ma’m.”
I went to the lady and said “Please take this book mam”
She looked at me strangely and said “No, its ok thanks , I will get it from other book outlets” she hesitated.
“Please take it mam I have more than 100 copies with me”
“What, why?” she gave a much stranger look
“I wrote this book” I said
“AMit…. Amit Kumar……….. Sharma…..” She asked
“Yes I am “ I replied modestly.
She grabbed the book from me and opened the first page candidly to have a glimpse at the book. My photo was printed in the front page and she was happy to confirm that it was me”
She said “thank youuu sooooo much.. I am so lucky to get the book from the author itself….”
She took her handbag to take money
“what are you doing” I asked.. no this book is worth 100 rupees she said in a low tone..
“that’s my gift to you” I said and gave my card..
“If you want to pay me. Please write your feedback to this email id” I said
She said thanks again, gave her card and vanished to catch her train.
I saw her and it was written “Dr Sheela- DGO “ – Wockhard Hospitals.
I was priceless to see her thrilled on getting the book.
Sindhu, my daughter Nisha and I got in to the train. While Sindhu went to make nisha sleep in the lower birth, I stood near the door to enjoy the site seeing.. the train was picking up fast and I saw the moon following us. The moon was shining as bright as it was I could remember 7 years back when I lost my first job almost the same day as I could recollect accurately it was my parents wedding anniversary day.
He came again and asked “so exactly 7 years over. So all the boons that god gave you are in to reality” he asked
“I lost the paper” I said
“my question is did you realize the boon. Forget about the paper”
“ I recollected all the 3 boons, a great business man . a great writer & service to mankind”
I have been in CNBC news the other day for my product, my stories are now published and hence I replied “almost yes”. I said.
But though I wrote the stories, it was my wife who took all the pain to have it visible to the outside world and have me recognized.
I said did the boon was realized never said that god will himself come and full fill. Your wife was the medium. he said
“What if God comes and asks you for 3 more boons “he asked
I smiled and replied “nothing”
“What” he asked again
“’nothing, I am content, I am happy with what I have, I am married to the girl whom I loved, I have a beautiful daughter, I am in a good company, I have rediscovered myself – writing stories”
“Good – you have realized yourself, so does that mean all your 3 boons are fulfilled?” he asked
the first 2 boon is a form of luck where my effort and opportunity was met, for my 3rd boon I had to take the initiative as the boon I asked for is “ I have to do service to mankind”, the boon itself derives my efforts as it’s a service. So I feel ashamed that I have not done that yet” I said
“Don’t feel ashamed – you already have the opportunity all you have to do is take efforts he said.
But where? I asked.
Your mentor - Viashali mam – orphan home – he said –
Another train in the opposite direction crossed by with a sound horn……….
My inner voice subsided while I went to the upper berth to sleep.
I looked at Sindhu and Nisha sleeping in the lower birth –
My inner voice came again and said
“Life atlast nail downs to a few key moments, life goes on, but be shrewd enough to make the most of it, listen to your dreams, live every moment and most importatnly don’t spill the oil” he concluded”
The words of my inner voice kept echoing
“Your mentor - Viashali mam – orphan home”
“Listen to your dreams, but don’t spill the oil”
I closed my eyes to discover other places of my palace.
Discover Your Palace .