Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good People: Chapter 24: Finally Love Knows No Bounds

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Medhavi was back in USA after a short stint in Japan. Her headquarters in San Diego called her back and her replacement was sent.

Medhavi left Samskara’s apartment and rented a much smaller one all for herself.

On her first long holidays on reaching San Diego she met Kelly and Shaan at their home in San Jose. Kelly and Shaan had got married in the mean time and showed their wedding photographs to Medhavi on their laptop.

Kelly informed, “It was quite a quiet wedding. Pretty private affair. Two of us, Alice and Yusuf and Yin and Arun.”

“All of you are looking great in the photos. And yes, before I forget, please enroll me in ‘Humanity Forum”.

“Why did you think of it? You views may be quite at an angle to what ‘Humanity Forum’ believes. You know that already,” Kelly doubted Medhavi’s decision.

“Kelly, I was like that earlier. But I have changed a lot over the past few months. I have already learnt to align with the values and actions of ‘Humanity Forum’. It’s guiding principles, which I had heard from Shaan long time ago but did not understand them, now seem so important to me. I am fully in tune with the concepts of ‘boundarylessness’, ‘zero discrimination- zero hatred- zero war’, ‘one world’, ‘openness and flexibility’, ‘religion is all about feel, think and do good to self and others’. 

“Well you pass the test. So why don’t you accompany us to the forum meeting tomorrow evening?” 

“I shall,” Medhavi laughed lightheartedly. “May be I will find some nice husband material there. I have changed my thinking quite a bit now and may be a few of your forum people will consider my candidature as a wife favorably.”

Shaan and Kelly joined the laughter. 

Kelly cautioned, “Shaan is definitely not one of them. Am I right Shaan?”

“Let me give it a thought,” Shaan teased Kelly. 

Medhavi blushed. Kelly noticed it. Only a woman can sometimes understand the inner feelings of other woman.

Over a period of time one bachelor boy of ‘Humanity Forum’ fell for the charms of Medhavi and married her. After all Medhavi was very beautiful and smart! And her newly acquired open-mindedness was the jewel on the crown!! Any male feet could have been swept away by this winner.


After twenty five years…

Shaan, Kelly and their daughter Shelly sat sipping tea in the patio.

Shelly spoke, “Mom, when do you think should Jay and I get married?”

“It’s your choice. Since Shaan and I like Jay a lot we are very happy. Go ahead, get married any day. But do send us an invite; we will definitely like to participate in your wedding,” Kelly smiled.

All the three of them laughed in unison. 

Shelly cuddled her mom and dad instantaneously and chirped, “You are such darlings.”

Then she remained silent and tried to assess the situation. 

When she got convinced that the prevailing mood presented an amiable setup she continued, “And yes, one more thing. I am adopting Orthodox Christian Faith. Jay insists on it. You already know he is an Orthodox Christian. But he is just like you, mom and dad, as far as the human values are concerned except that he has not got over the religion phobia yet. And so he feels a bit odd me not having any tag of a religion.”

“Hope he is not a radical or what we call a fundamentalist or extremist?” Shaan enquired.

“Dad, no. A definite ‘no’. Both of you and I know him for past two years. Don’t you think he is just like you and mom in his beliefs and values? It’s just that he is uncomfortable without being affiliated to an organized religion. Just for namesake, he wants to remain within the religion he was handed down by his parents. And for uniformity’s sake between husband and wife he wants me to be known as Orthodox Christian.”

Kelly and Shaan spoke simultaneously with a smile, “We love you Shelly. Go ahead. But always remain a human being when it comes to taking sides.”

Shelly affirmed with full enthusiasm.

“I will call Jay.” Shelly left them in the patio and walked toward the house with cell phone in her hand.


Shaan and Kelly were amused over Shelly’s decision of affiliating to an organized religion for sake of her love. 

They thought, “Love seems sublime. Everything else gets dwarfed in front of love.”

But Shaan and Kelly also exchanged the following conversation between them.

“Human society crawls when it comes to changing the deep rooted paradigms. Look at Jay,” Shaan spoke philosophically, smiling.

“You are being philosophical. But that’s the way the world moves,” Kelly responded. She smiled too.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Good People: Chapter 23: The Love Story

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Chapter 23

Medhavi was feeling much better today. She was generally tossing and turning on the bed waiting for her discharge from the camp. She was quite impatient to resume her professional work for which she was deputed in Japan.

The aftermath of the tsunami had affected every soul and people were trying to get out of it gradually. And so was Medhavi.

The doctor had just completed the morning round. He would soon declare his decision on whom all to discharge. Every day some people were discharged and new tsunami-hit patients were coming in for the treatment.

Medhavi’s mind loitered around many events that took place lately. She started mulling over them. Suddenly her thoughts rested on thinking about Kelly. She tried to remember when was the first time she heard Kelly’s name? She asked herself, “Was it in the articles that I had read about ‘Humanity Forum’ where Shaan’s name was mentioned and so was Kelly’s? No, perhaps it was earlier than that. Oh now I remember. I heard about Kelly for the first time from Anji. She had told me meeting Kelly at LAX along with Shaan. And I remember Anji telling me that Kelly was beautiful.”

Medhavi could not stop thinking more about Kelly, “I agree with Anji. Kelly is very pretty. Has she become Shaan’s girl friend by now or their relationship is just professional? But Shaan told me the other day that Kelly knew about what had happened between Shaan and me. So she can’t be Shaan’s girl friend. In fact I had been curious and asked Shaan pointblank if Kelly knew about his past with me. Then he told me that Kelly knew everything about our past. But I was afraid to ask Shaan about his relationship with Kelly. Perhaps I am not ready to accept the existence of any intimate relationship between them. My guess is that Shaan and Kelly are just professional colleagues.”

She was trying to concoct some arguments to feel convinced that Shaan had nothing to do with Kelly. So Medhavi further argued with herself, “I am sure that Shaan is not at all in any serious relationship with Kelly even though they work together all the time. I think this way strongly because even after knowing that I was Shaan’s earlier girl friend Kelly is so cool towards me. She visits me often in the camp to take care of me. She makes sure that I am comfortable and the nurses are administering the medicines in time etc. It is so unlike a girl to be nice to a rival. If I was in her position I would have definitely ignored the other girl.” 

She further asked herself, “Am I falling in love with Shaan again? Then why am I thinking so much of Kelly and Shaan?”


Kelly and Shaan had an early morning breakfast with Samskara and Medhavi’s parents in the hotel where Samskara and Medhavi’s parents were put up. After the breakfast Kelly left the hotel for the rescue camp. 

Shaan stayed back with them. He wanted to take rest for a while. He had worked all the night all alone. He had advised Kelly to take it easy for a night and not accompany him for the rescue operations. So Kelly was quite rested and fresh.

Kelly mentioned, “OK then, I will go to the camp. I will most probably return with Medhavi. The attending doctor hinted yesterday that she would be discharged from the camp today. So I will check up with the doctor and you guys can expect us back here soon.”

Then she turned towards Samskara and addressing him said, “Cheer up Samskara. Your wife will be home soon.”

On her way to the camp Kelly started pondering over the events of the recent past.  Finally her thoughts rested on thinking about Medhavi, “Is Medhavi in love with Shaan? Particularly after Shaan saved her, she seems to have become quite sentimental towards him. Also she remains quite tense in the company of Samskara. Even Samskara is quite uneasy communicating with Medhavi? Has something gone wrong between them? Their relationship looks strained. And is Shaan getting inclined towards Medhavi lately? He seems to be spending a great deal of time with her. Or is it just the usual humanitarian consideration?”

Then on second thought she concluded, “No. That cannot be true. Shaan has been honest enough to tell me everything about his past relationship with Medhavi. And he also told that he had gone past that now and Medhavi was totally out of his system. He has already declared his love for me recently and I believe in him fully. I cannot think of life without Shaan now.”

By this time she had reached Medhavi’s bed in the camp.


Medhavi was shaken up from her daydreams by Kelly’s sudden presence. Kelly had just approached her and said, “Good news for you Medhavi. Doctor gave OK to your discharge from the camp. You can now go to Samskara in his hotel room. I will escort you there.”

Kelly and Medhavi marched towards the hotel.

As they reached the door of the hotel room, Medhavi stopped Kelly from entering the room at hearing the mention of her name by Samskara.

Samskara was in the middle of some conversation with Shaan, “Shaan, in light of what Medhavi wrote in her diary, I have come to this conclusion. I must allow Medhavi her freedom from me. Both of us will remain unhappy in this marriage the whole life. It does not make sense. To start with we thought that we had similar opinions on everything and we fell in love and got married. But lately I realize that our thinking on some vital aspects of life is getting quite divergent. Medhavi has lately changed her mindset on religious issues quite significantly but despite my giving it a lot of try I am sure that I cannot change my mindset on religion and the associated rituals.”

Samskara was quite frank about his limitations.

Shaan interjected, “You have an year’s time. You can change if you want. As per you Medhavi wishes to save the marriage. That’s why she thought of giving each other some space for an year by taking a transfer to Japan. She still has some religious inclinations though she is in the process of moderation. If you too can shift yourself from the staunchness you carry about the religious dogmas, you two can meet at some mid point and then carry on well together.”

“That seems less likely. The limitation is from my side. I have thought about it from every angle every single minute after I read Medhavi’s diary. I have been brought up very differently from my childhood and to me all the religious dogmas that I learnt and practiced since then are very important. They are like life and death issues for me. You may call me extremist or fundamentalist or radical but I cannot change.” 

“I suggest, give it a try.”

“I consulted my parents and they advised me not to move away from the religious path we as a family have adopted. My parents even talked to Medhavi’s parents yesterday and told them our decisions. Medhavi’s parents having gone through the strong sentiments documented by Medhavi in her diary and knowing my limitations in reforming myself have agreed with my conclusions.”

Medhavi’s parents nodded. Medhavi’s father said, “Shaan, we also request you to consider Samskara’s suggestion. He requested me to speak about his suggestion about your marriage with Medhavi. Samskara says that Medhavi still seems inclined towards you. He says that Medhavi has expressed it in so many words in her diary. We also thought the same after reading her diary. In any case we were contemplating your marriage with Medhavi before Samskara came into her life. You yourself had proposed that. But you never met again after that. We wondered why. But now that you have saved Medhavi and thus met her and us again we request you to marry her. It solves everything.”

Samskara added, “I will soon find a wife for me. So you need not worry on that count. Medhavi will be very happy with you.”

Shaan responded, “Samskara, There are some more missing links that you are not aware of. When I initially proposed Medhavi, she had declined me for her reasons similar to yours. She and her parents could not accept a person like me who had no alliance to any organized religion. I overheard Medhavi’s conversation with her friend Anjali where she told her that she had no interest in marrying me. I understood that she was never in love with me. That’s the reason why I did not meet Medhavi and her parents to pursue my proposal. Then onwards I never thought of Medhavi. I did not know this Medhavi at all. I was in love with an image of her. Medhavi did not love me and so how could I impose myself on her?”

Medhavi’s father felt sheepish and he uttered an “oh” involuntarily.

“And one more most important missing link that you are not aware of,” Shaan said. “Now I am in love with Kelly. I love her immensely. She loves me too. I will propose her to marry me soon.”

Outside the room, Medhavi took Kelly’s palms in hers and squeezed. She looked at her as if her eyes were saying, “Congratulations, Kelly.” 

Kelly responded by the reciprocal squeeze of Medhavi’s palms. Tears filled Medhavi’s eyes. She turned her face and wiped them. Kelly did not notice.

Kelly asked Medhavi, “Do we go inside now?” When Medhavi nodded in affirmation, she knocked the door that was left half ajar. 

Shaan rushed to open it. He saw Kelly and Medhavi entering the room.

Everyone else in the room joined Shaan in welcoming Medhavi. Medhavi gave them a bright smile.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Good People: Chapter 22: Interesting Climax

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Chapter 22

Next day Shaan woke up quite early in the morning and before he could set out with Kelly on the next day’s rescue operations, he went to meet Medhavi.

Kelly was already awake when Shaan woke up but kept lazing around on her mattress. 

She got curious to know what Shaan was doing. Shaan took the direction of the camp and Kelly followed him. She had an inkling that Shaan wanted to meet Medhavi. She was in love with Shaan and wished to understand the relationship between Medhavi and Shaan.

Shaan reached Medhavi’s bed and sat near her. He smiled at her, “How are you this morning, Medhavi?”

“I am good. I could not even thank you properly yesterday.”

“No formalities. Aren’t we old friends? Formalities don’t have any place between the friends.”

Medhavi felt ashamed of herself. She had tears in her eyes. She mumbled, “I am sorry Shaan. I did not understand you then. I have started understanding only recently what you used to tell me about humanity being over and above the petty things like religions and castes. How wrong I was!”

“Medhavi, it’s all right. Just relax.”

“No, I need to tell you that I was utterly stupid. I was overambitious and very jealous of you. I was a fool then.”

“Medhavi, I must not forget to tell you that your husband reached here yesterday and in the evening he came to see you. You were asleep then. We did not think it proper to wake you up. He will meet you shortly. Take a full day’s rest and then you can move with him in his hotel after consulting the doctors.” 

Kelly was standing a little away from the bed of Medhavi but out of her or Shaan’s sight. But she could hear the entire conversation that took place between Shaan and Medhavi.

Then she saw Shaan moving away from Medhavi’s bed only to turn back and reach Medhavi again. Kelly got more curious to know why Shaan wanted to meet Medhavi again.

So Kelly remained where she was positioned earlier and listened to the conversation between Shaan and Medhavi.

Shaan reached Medhavi and said, “Hey one more thing. I am curious to know why you still have my handkerchief with you?”

Medhavi smiled and replied, “Shaan, when you travelled with me to USA and dropped me at Anji’s apartment that day, I have been very angry with you all the time. On top of that I hurt myself while removing my bag from the carousel at the airport and you bandaged my wound by your handkerchief. So I was angry because of that too. In the rage of my anger I forgot to give back your handkerchief to you.”

“I wouldn’t have accepted it then because it was meant for your hurt leg.”

“Yet I wanted to be rid of everything that was associated with you. But your handkerchief remained with me. And then I don’t know what occurred to me, I could not throw it away. Not only that, over the recent months I started carrying it with me in my purse all the time. Subconsciously I always felt that your handkerchief would always protect me. I am so stupid and superstitious. But see in the end your handkerchief did save me today. It has literally given me the second life. I am so much indebted to you Shaan.” 

She further added, “I was waving the handkerchief at each and every rescue team that passed my building where I had taken the shelter but everyone ignored me. I don’t know the reason. Then I remembered that even in the last rescue operations that took place in the Indian Ocean, the rescue operators had practiced discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and nationality. So I gave up all the hope. Death stared straight in my face every single minute. But I kept on unfurling your handkerchief to attract the attention of the rescuers. And finally your handkerchief proved so lucky for me.”

“Yes it was the handkerchief that gave me the clue that the girl holding it must be Medhavi. I had never before left any of my handkerchiefs with anyone. When I saw it through the binoculars, I saw my name woven in it. My mom did that to all of my handkerchiefs. Then I saw your face once again to confirm if you really were Medhavi.” 

“Shaan, even if you ask me that handkerchief back now, I will never ever return it to you. That’s my decision.”

Kelly was secretly listening to this conversation.

Kelly thought, “Is this girl still in love with Shaan? And what about Shaan?” 

Kelly moved from there before Shaan could reach the place where they resided. 

Then Shaan and Kelly resumed their rescue operations for the day. Shaan had no clue that Kelly had heard his conversation with Medhavi that morning.

But Shaan sensed some change in Kelly. Kelly acted every bit professional but quite detached from him at the personal level. Shaan wondered at her such behavior. Why such sudden change in her?

But they were too busy rescuing the people throughout the whole day and had no time to exchange any personal conversation.


Samskara was in constant touch with Medhavi’s parents. They arrived from India the early morning and met Samskara in his hotel room.

Samskara told them that he had met Shaan and through him he saw Medhavi in the camp. Since she was taking rest and already asleep he could not speak with her. 

Medhavi’s parents felt quite puzzled. Medhavi’s father asked, “What way Shaan comes into picture?”

“Perhaps you may be knowing Shaan because Medhavi and Shaan were classmates while studying in India. Shaan now works for a humanitarian organization of America called ‘Humanity Forum’. He along with his associate Kelly saved Medhavi’s life.”

“Did he really save Medhavi?” Surprise as well as doubt loomed large on Medhavi’s father’s face.

“Yes, it’s only because of Shaan that Medhavi is alive today.”

Hearing this Medhavi’s father looked at his wife with some meaningful gestures but Samskara did not notice it.

Samskara said, “Let us go to the rescue camp.”

Presently they were in Medhavi’s company in the camp.

Medhavi addressed to Samskara, “How do you know Shaan? You mentioned that you met him yesterday.”

“I do not know him personally but got to know his whereabouts through your diary.”

Medhavi was taken aback at this revelation. After reaching Japan she had realized that she had left her diary at home in San Diego. She was quite apprehensive about it because she wrote so many things in the diary, which she did not want Samskara to know at this stage. But she thought now that the damage was already done.

Yet she did not continue with the subject of diary in presence of her parents. But she decided that she would soon discuss with Samskara everything that was disturbing her because Samskara already knew everything after reading her diary.

Samskara was also keen on discussing Medhavi’s concerns that she wrote in her diary but not in presence of Medhavi’s parents.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Good People: Chapter 21: Love Triangle, Jealousy and Mystery

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Chapter 21

Kelly and Shaan took stock of situation around them. They could see total devastation all around them- dead bodies, collapsed and damaged buildings, structural damages, floating cars and other vehicles. The electricity and communication systems were totally out of order. The environment around them wore a dismally grim picture.

They also heard about a dam getting burst. Trains, airplanes and roads were almost dysfunctional. 

News was floating around that a nuclear power plant was seriously affected. It resulted in several explosions. Heavy radioactive substance got released in profusion forcing evacuation of some 200,000 people living in the vicinity of the plant.

While they were exchanging these concerns some frantic activity was taking place on top of a small building some distance away from Kelly and Shaan. 

A girl at the rooftop of a small building was waving a piece of cloth. She was also shouting something that was inaudible. All around her was water, right up to the top of the building almost. 

Kelly was looking through a binocular to trace the trapped people who were in need of an immediate rescue. In her sight came this girl on the rooftop attracting the attention of someone who could rescue her.

She was at a quarter of mile’s distance. 

She directed Shaan’s attention to this girl. Shaan took the binocular from Kelly and focused it at the girl. He saw the girl was waving a handkerchief in his direction. It looked like she had seen the two rescuers and was requesting for help.

“We must save her,” Shaan spoke in a tone that suggested that he was quite at a loss to speak out coherently. 

He muttered in inaudible syllables and made some ambiguous gestures. Yet Kelly read him correctly. She understood that he wanted them to reach that building without wasting any single minute.

So Kelly already started rowing their boat towards the girl’s direction. Shaan joined her and soon started the engine. Within a few minutes they reached the building. 

With the help of the gadgets they carried, Shaan soon reached the top of the building. Kelly remained in the boat.

Then Kelly saw Shaan approaching the girl and as he neared her, she saw Shaan into a wild embrace of the girl the next moment. They remained in an embrace for a good period of time. Soon the girl was kissing Shaan all over his face. She was crying and tears rolled down her cheeks in profusion.

It was quite a scene. 

“The girl is getting hysterical, I suppose. No, I am not jealous,” Kelly assured herself.

Next five minutes remained mystery filled for Kelly. Presently they were in the boat and Shaan was making the girl sit down. 

He introduced the girl to Kelly, “Kelly, guess who she is? Can you ever imagine she is Medhavi?”

Kelly did not know how to react. She was contemplating in her head, “Why of all the people Medhavi has to make an appearance right now when I am so full of love for Shaan? I wish I had not spotted her through my binocular.”

Without waiting for Kelly’s reply Shaan asked Medhavi, “Medhavi, what the hell you were doing here? How come you got caught in the tsunami?”

Medhavi was very weak. She spoke with great efforts, “Work brought me to Japan.”

Kelly found that Medhavi’s voice was hardly audible; she looked so frail and weak. She seemed to have no energy to speak out any more.

Then suddenly Kelly felt outrageous at her own sinister thoughts about Medhavi. She reminded herself of the aims and objectives of ‘Humanity Forum’ and started the procedure that was supposed to be administered on the rescued victim. The procedure aimed at pulling out the rescued subject from the trauma and to provide the life saving medical aid immediately.

Kelly also provided the first aid, bandaged the wounds and asked Medhavi to gulp down two spoonful of brandy. Then she provided her some food. 

Shaan steered the boat and brought Medhavi to a camp where he handed her over to a team of doctors and nurses. 

He consoled Medhavi, “You are now in safe hands. We will see you soon. Be a good girl. Obey your doctors.”

Shaan and Kelly got busy with saving some more lives till finally they felt that they could not continue to work any longer. They turned back towards their camp. It was already late evening.

As Shaan was entering the camp, a gentleman who was also approaching the camp stopped him. 

He asked, “Is this the rescue camp of ‘Humanity Forum’ of America?”

Shaan answered, “Yes it is. What do you want?”

“I wanted to meet a person named Shaan. I understand he works here.”

“I am Shaan,” Shaan shook hands with the stranger.

The stranger shook hands with Shaan, “By the way my name is Samskara.” Then he continued, “I never thought it would be so easy locating you. I came here with a request to save my wife. I tried to contact her from US but all the communication systems are out of order. Then I thought of flying to this place.”

“How do you know my name?” Shaan enquired.

“My wife knows you. She had mentioned to me about your association with ‘Humanity Forum’ and from the TV announcements I learnt that your team is already here. I urge upon you to rescue my wife; she must have been stranded in this area because her apartment is located in this Sendai area.”

“Is Medhavi your wife’s name?”

“Yes. Will your team rescue her soon?”

Shaan looked at Kelly with a smile. She was listening to their conversation but preferred to keep quiet. 

Shaan introduced her to Samskara and said, “Kelly has already saved your wife’s life. She was the first to locate her on top of a marooned building through her binoculars. Had she missed her, we could have lost that particular chance of saving Medhavi.”

“Thank you very much Kelly. I am very grateful to you. Where is Medhavi? Can I go see her? Hope she is fine?”

“Yes, yes. You can meet her now. We will take you to her. But since she is in a trauma, it will be preferable not to speak with her now. Most probably you may find her already asleep. She was very tired when we rescued her.” 

When they went inside the camp where all the patients were being given medical attention by the doctors and nurses, Samskara saw Medhavi already asleep on one of the beds.” He kept looking at her with some satisfaction and then turned to Shaan and Kelly, “I have no words to thank you two.”

Kelly spoke, “No need to thank us. It was our duty to do so.” Shaan nodded.

“I think I will check-in a nearby hotel and visit you guys tomorrow morning. I can then meet Medhavi as well.”

“Yes that will be advisable,” Shaan said.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Good People: Chapter 20: Anxiety and Love Story

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Chapter 20

By now Samskara found the other diary where the addresses and phone numbers were written.

He dialed the landline number of the apartment where Medhavi was residing in Japan. He did not hear any ring on the other side. He tried several times but the telephone lines were dead. It was the effect of the tsunami. Natural disasters always disarmed the man-made technologies.

Next best thing, Samskara thought, was to get in touch with Medhavi’s office in San Diego. He did that. But the office also was not in a position to contact its people in Japan. The whole communication system got disrupted.

He took out his car from the garage and dashed to the office of ‘Humanity Forum’. He met the receptionist.

He introduced himself and requested, “Can you please give me the whereabouts of your teams in Japan? I understand they have already reached Japan to start the rescue operations there. I wish to meet them personally so that I can urge upon them to save my wife who seems to have been affected by the tsunami.”

The receptionist gave the address where members of ‘Humanity Forum’ could be found in Japan.

Samskara then bought air ticket to travel to Japan by the next earliest available flight. He completed the other paper work that was required in connection with travel to Japan. He did everything on emergency footing. For him each and every minute was precious. He must save Medhavi.


Medhavi’s parents in India were equally worried. They knew that Medhavi was in Japan on an year’s deputation. They tried contacting her over the phone but they too could not get through to her. The communication from India to the tsunami-affected areas was totally disrupted.

Then they contacted their son-in-law Samskara. He told them that he too could not reach Medhavi on the phones and now he was already boarding a Japan bound airplane. He consoled them, “Please do not worry. I am going there personally and will meet the ‘Humanity Forum’ team from America who have already started the rescue operations.”

This did not satisfy the parents of Medhavi. They too started their preparations to travel to Japan as early as possible. It took them couple of days to get done the required formalities. And they too were heading towards Japan.


Kelly and Shaan were working in the team that was assigned the frontline rescue operations in Sendai area. All of them were working tirelessly for several hours without any break. Finally they were dog-tired. 

Shaan suggested to Kelly, “Let us take a break. Perhaps an hour’s break would help. After taking some rest we can work still longer hours with improved effectiveness and efficiency.”

Kelly was in quite a pensive mood. She remarked, “Human life seems so transitory at times like this. It is so very depressing. The total casualties in Sendai area alone have reached a gigantic figure within just few hours of outbreak of the tsunami. When we save one we find two already dead. The total of 13000 deaths have already been reported and it is likely to go up to around 16000 people. Tally of injured people is estimated at 6000 and missing people at 3000.”

They were conversing while they ate granolas to beat their hunger. They had brought good supply of dry foodstuff and mineral water bottles for distribution to the victims of the tsunami. They pinched some food and water from it for themselves.  

“One very disturbing fact has come to light. It is about discriminatory behavior of some rescue teams towards the victims. These particular rescue teams have been sponsored by some organized religions and nationalities. So they are showing their obvious preferences to the victims of their own communities and nations. That’s really sad.”

“Its good that we from ‘Humanity Forum’ are around and we are trying to save every single person we are coming across. We just saved one person who was bypassed by a religion-sponsored rescue team. He had pleaded with this rescue team but they did not pay heed to him. Around that time out team approached the spot and rescued this person.”

Kelly and Shaan decided to remain silent for next half an hour so as to feel appropriately rested.

Kelly spoke finally, “Shaan, I mentioned some time earlier that life seems so transitory. You are alive this moment and the next moment you are gone.” 

She paused for a while and looked at Shaan meaningfully.

She continued to speak, “Then I started thinking what is one most important thing I would like to do if I was destined to die this moment.”

“Why should you think this way? Don’t.”

“Let me continue. I need to grab this one moment before I die to complete my most important work before I finally die. Otherwise that important work will remain undone. And that most important work for me is to declare my love for you right away. Who knows I might be gone before I do so. Shaan, I love you too much.”

Shaan clutched her in his arms and reciprocated, “Why, that is my most important work too for this moment. Kelly. I love you too, too much.”

And they remained lip-locked for a period unknown to both of them. 

“Tell me frankly, do you still miss Medhavi?”

“No, Kelly. She is totally out of my system.”

“Medhavi let go a good catch like you. I won’t ever commit that mistake.”

They embraced each other again.

“Now we are fully refreshed. Kelly, let us move on and save some more people.”

“Let us move on, Shaan.”

Both of them resumed their mission of saving people.

(Get your copy of the novel "Good People" as an eBook from Amazon  only for $ 0.99. You may also like to get its Printed Book from Amazon

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Good People: Chapter 19: Prejudices and Conflicts

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Chapter 19

Medhavi’s wrote her diary day wise:

Day 1:

This is the first day of my life when I thought of writing a diary for the first time. I am not a diary freak but today’s incident disturbed me beyond my imagination and I need to vent them out somewhere. 

So what if I ate omelet in the company of my closest friend Anji? 

Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that. Eat only these things. What rubbish! Funny- yet every religion prescribes such unreasonable permissions and restrictions. What’s the harm in eating whatever one likes? Why and how does any religion enter into such a personal issue? 

I hated Samskara commenting on my eating an omelet. I do not eat it normally. I am still not used to eat other non-veg stuff. But omelet, I have started liking its taste and so I ate. Is it any sin that Samskara made a mountain out of a molehill?

Day 2:

I hate this shuddhikaran (purification) process that Samskara carries out every time I am done with my periods. 

He also did it when I ate omelet as if I became impure after eating an omelet.

I feel terribly violated when he does that act of sprinkling the Ganga water all over me and the house and the fridge.

My mother used to perform similar ritual. Now I remember that even when my mother did this shuddhikaran business on me, I used to get worked up.

I never questioned her thinking that she was an elder and knew better than me. But today I really want to ask myself, “Has this shuddhikaran any meaning in it at all?” My answer is, “None.” So I do not wish to be violated by Samskara any more.

It’s all about hygiene. Modern accessories take care of it.

And I guess such or similar unreasonable rituals must be true of every other religion and community. I have come to realize that all of that is no good irrespective of whichever religions prescribe such or similar things.

Day 3:

Is doing frequent poojas (prayers and worships) and that too over long and odd hours really all that pious? I am religious too. But I do not perform the poojas as frequently as Samskara does. Am I a sinner or degraded person?

And why does he have to get up at an ungodly hour of 5 AM every day and also disturb my sleep in the process? He never has time for a quiet breakfast with me, not even on the weekends. 

I have started missing the companionship I had expected from my husband in marriage.

Today as I am writing this I am remembering Shaan. He was such a great company always. What I knew of him he hardly spent time in any poojas or service or any other kind of worship. Every time I asked him the reason, he told me, “Medhavi, if there is a god, he or she resides in you and thus you are alive. So I silently salute him or her every now and then and no one even comes to know of it. Isn’t that wonderful?”

I have started seeing some point in Shaan’s philosophy. 


Before reading the diary of the fourth day, Samskara wondered about the mention of Shaan in the diary. Medhavi never spoke of him earlier, Samskara thought.


Day 4:

I am repeating here in my diary exactly what Samskara uttered the other day. 

He said, “Oh these people of other communities can be a bad influence on our children. And I am quite serious about it. Our samskaras (cultural heritage and upbringing) are far more superior to the samskaras people of other communities give to their children. We do not want our children to pick them up.”

And then he asked me to cut down on my relationship with Anji since she is a Christian. 

I got quite shocked at such utterances of Samskara and I am certain that he is not quite correct. There are good and bad people in every race, religion and community. You cannot rule out any community with such sweeping statements.

But it is not just Samskara who thought lowly of other communities or races. On rethinking I find such statements being made by many people of various communities about the people of other communities, races and religions. But doing that is not correct in any way even on their part. Does their religion allow it? No good religion teaches it.

I will never break my friendship with the people of other communities who are already my friends. And least of all Anji- she is my best friend, so what if she is a Christian. And after all I am not marrying her.

I agree that one should marry in the same communities. I am still fussy about it or I would have married Shaan. Imagine I have problems with a person of my own religion and sub-caste, what kind of problems one might face in marrying a person from other religion or race?

Day 5:

Samskara believes in each and every religious diktats that some people of ancient times passed on to the next generations without checking their veracity. At times even to a somewhat religious person like me those diktats seem quite unreasonable and particularly in the present times. 

I realize now that we should always find the scientific reasons before following any diktat of any religion. Samskara’s opinions on this do not match with mine. He takes every written and spoken word of the religious teachings and preaching as a gospel truth and hundred percent sacrosanct.

Day 6:

Samskara has started imposing some more new whims lately. He handed me a chart the other day. It is called ‘Rahu Kalam’. As per him it is very useful as it prescribes the inauspicious period of the day when one should never undertake any auspicious activity. The duration of this period is one and half an hour every day. For example 7.30 AM to 9 AM is inauspicious on all Mondays, 3 PM to 4.30 PM is inauspicious on Tuesdays, 12 noon to 1.30 PM is inauspicious on Wednesdays and so on for the rest of the days of every week. 

I remember that my parents are also ardent followers of ‘Rahu Kalam’. They refuse to carry out any important job during these hours. Though I am religious, I am a bit of rebel too at times and so I used to ask the rationale behind it to my parents. 

I used to argue, “Mom, if I am writing a university examination paper during this ‘Rahu Kalam’ should I stop writing the paper? And my experience so far shows that many a time when I wrote the exam papers in ‘Rahu Kalam’, I even got centum marks.” My parents won’t have any answer to this kind of questioning of mine. 

Many times we are engaged in very important tasks during this period because some one else with no knowledge of ‘Rahu Kalam’ had planned that activity during this inauspicious period. And I have seen that nothing went wrong in doing that planned work.

I have not argued on this aspect with Samskara for fear of getting into yet another conflict but I definitely do not like such restrictions.

One more thought came to my mind, “Are radically religious people superstitious too? Are they more superstitious than the people who are less religious or not religious at all?”

Day 7:

Today I read an article on the Internet about a group called  ‘Humanity Forum’. I was impressed by their work.

The group consists of persons of all kinds of faiths and also the people not having affiliation to any organized religions and yet all of them work together seamlessly.

‘Humanity Forum’ assists the entire humanity as per its requirements without any consideration of any kind of boundaries drawn by physical or political boundaries of nations or any other kinds of boundaries drawn based on race, color, religion, caste, sub-caste, language, gender etc. 

There was a mention of Shaan in the article and descriptions of the projects that he undertook during past few months for the benefit of the humanity.

After reading Shaan’s accomplishments I could not but admire Shaan. 

I lost a great friend like Shaan due to my immaturity, stupidity, over-ambitiousness and jealousy. I should meet him soon and apologize.


Samskara stopped reading the diary for a while after reading the mention of Shaan and now the mention of ‘Humanity Forum’ of America. He recalled hearing the name of ‘Humanity Forum’ this morning on television. What was it? Yes, the members of ‘Humanity Forum’ were the first rescue team to reach Japan from outside of Japan.


Day 8:

I am writing diary after a gap. 

In the mean time I have remained terribly disturbed by what I now call as ‘overdoing of religiousness’ by Samskara. He is trying to impose his ideas on me and now I am the last person to buy his ideas.

I am tired of Samskara’s weird ideas and wish to stay away from him at least for an year. I must save my marriage. My boss has confirmed about my deputation to Japan. That will help.

During this one-year’s time I will give some more deep thought to this matter between Samskara and me and see if Samskara will like to moderate his views and actions. I am all for saving my marriage.

Lately after checking the vast literature that is available on the Internet and also studying the objectives and the type of work ‘Humanity Forum’ does I am getting convinced of the futility of too much of religiousness bordering on fundamentalism or extremism.

I wonder if I am becoming like Shaan myself.

Why do I remember Shaan so very often these days?

Am I falling in love with him? Did I fall in love with him when I met him for the first time?

Oh, why am I thinking all this nonsense? 

I must save my marriage.


That was the end of Medhavi’s diary. Medhavi forgot to keep the diary with her while she traveled to Japan. She inadvertently left it on the table at home.

Samskara’s senses became numb on reading the diary. For a few minutes he remained still and his brain stopped thinking.

However, soon the writing of Medhavi started sinking in and he started realizing the enormity of the turmoil that was taking pace in Medhavi’s mind. And he felt that he was the reason for the turmoil. First he got enraged but sanity set in soon and the first thing he thought was how to contact Medhavi and save her life.

He must take immediate steps, he decided.

(Get your copy of the novel "Good People" as an eBook from Amazon  only for $ 0.99. You may also like to get its Printed Book from Amazon

Novels and Stories

Novel "Good People"
Funny (and Not So Funny) Short Stories
Stories Children Will Love