A Tale of God and Love

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

The events below transpired on a recent Saturday morning as I came back home from my morning jog in Bandra West, Mumbai India . The characters Wife and Husband  are my lovely neighbours. *Shaila is their youngest daughter, while son is the firstborn.


Me: Goodmorning,

Wife: Goodmorning

Me :Where is Shaila ?

Wife : Shaila is in school .They have to cover up for the 3 days holiday  taken during Ganapati festival.Come , I will give you some tea. (She ushers me to the small living room  where the husband is sitting and leaves for the kitchen )

Me: (settling down, myattention on a picture of  a god I have not come across yet ) who is she? I ask pointing to the wall.

Wife comes in carrying a  tray, on it tea and some snacks  (Tea without masala , just like my  moms ) (In my mind awesome I am home )

Husband : He is one of our gods used to live in the Himalayas , you know Himalayas? All covered in snow.

Me(A bit shocked it’s a male god, he looked like a female, well that’s common here ) Yes Yes , I plan to travel there.

Wife : Have some tea.( Places the tray infront of the stool and sits on the floor)  Where are you from ?

Me : Kenya, in Africa

Wife :  Aha , I worked in Kuwait for 2 years .

(At this point my interest in this family doubles )

Me: Wow, what were you doing there?

Wife: I was a house help.  I didn’t study much so this was good job for me. Very nice people. I can speak Arabic very well.

Husband: Yes two years then she came back

Me: Why?

Wife: So I could get married to my husband. My employers wanted me to stay , but I said no, I have to go and get married to my husband.( Every time she mentions my husband she looks at him with adoration)

Me :How long have you been married?

Husband and Wife in unison: 20 years , anniversary is this December

Me:Wow, that’s a long time . Congratulations

Wife : Drink some tea , before it gets cold.

(I sip some tea as she leaves the  small room. She comes back after 2 minutes with a small photo album)

                                        *************************************************

Wife: Let me show you our family photos (For the next 20 mins , we go through the small album as she explains to me the different events page after page. Her wedding, her sisters wedding, her family, her daughters birthday and then we stop when she mentions her son)

Me: Son, You have a son?

Wife and Husband : Yes we have two children . He is the first born. (Husband leaves to go call him as wife  reminds me to finish my tea) He is now working in a call centre and studying his BA.

Wife : My daughter , she always tells me I will marry Shah Rukh Khans son. He is Muslim and his wife is Marati . His Mother is Muslim and his Father Marati . Mom you wont say no right? I tell her, yes its alright. She wants to be an actress .

Me : Oh, actress too? She also mentioned to me she is interested in animation

Husband: (Sitting next to his son) Yes animation too. We let them be what they choose to be. Its about their future , the rest of their lives. So if it makes them happy so be it. We pray to God, to guide them.

Wife: God is great. We pray all the time. No worries. Shaila will be back in the afternoon. Do you know Shah Khan? He and many Bollywood actors and actresses live on the seaside .

Me: Yes I know him.

Wife: Please come and see her when she is back. We never let them go anywhere. Just to school and tuition and stay with school friends. These are nice people. The neighbourhood is not very good here.

Son: Yes , people are mean .

Me: Aha , why is that so?

Son: No one cares, you greet some they don’t greet you back. They are just mean. Where are you from?

Me : Kenya

 Son : My sister has friends from Kenya, Japan , China too all over the world. She met them on Facebook She can speak japan, she learns everything online.I have  a college friend too from Kenya, she lived there 10 years.

Me: Wow, small world .

 Wife: Shaila uses my laptop , but its not working now. So I just tell her to use her mobile phone.

 Son: Where do you work?

Me: Tata Consultancy Services , my office is at Nariman Point, Air India Building

Son: How do you travel , local train?

Me: Yes , its ok. Gotten  used to it now.

Son and Wife: Be careful in the train. They steal your things. You don’t know when they open your bags or pockets. They can take everything, purse, money. So just be careful.

( I smile as I recall how it is back home in matatus)

Husband: Yes , he just lost his phone, 21,000INR phone.

Wife: You don’t need to be scared of anything , don’t be afraid. God is watching over us. We just have to pray to him and he will take care of us.

Husband:  Yes why be afraid?

Wife: (Smilling, with so much enthusiasm and full of life) You see, your Kenya could just be like My India. And my India could be like your Kenya. Not much difference. We are all the same. Not different. So don’t be afraid.

                          ************************************************************

All this time, I have been shifting my eyes to give equal attention to these three amazing people. I have never been more fascinated in my life. Suddenly I remember that we didn’t finish viewing the photos. I flip through to the last page and draw closer to the wife so we can complete. Noticing some are copies,  I continue flipping until I come across a photo of the husband in a tshirt written Dubai

Wife : That’s my husband. He went to Dubai to look for work. My inlaws stay there as well. But he didn’t stay long. My  Shaila was crying every day. I want daddy back.

Husband:  So I had to come back for her.

I continue flipping and stop at a photo of Shailas birthday.

Wife :   Shailas first birthday . Next we have Navarati  , 9 days of dance. Very beautiful festival .Then Diwali , the festivals of the lights , then your Christmas in December . India has so many  festivals .  She was born on the 1st October , but we celebrate her birthday on the first day of Navarati.

Me: Why  do you do so?

Husband: Because its an auspicious day. For blessings.

(I quickly decide I will buy her the birthday gift on the day they celebrate as much as I would love to do it on the actual day.)

Me: Thanks a lot for the tea. It was very nice and reminded me of home. Well, I have to leave now go wash some clothes . Will pass by in the afternoon to see Shaila . Please let her know when she is back home.

Husband, Wife and Son: Ok, thanks for coming. We will tell her.

Wife: And always feel welcome here. If you want anything come to us. If you want food , I will cook and give you some.

Me: Thanks a lot maam. I would love to come back ,  learn how to cook some Indian dishes too.

Husband : But how will you cook, you don’t have gas yet.

Me: Well, I can cook for you one day. Will use the skills when I go home too.

Husband , Wife and Son  burst into heavy heartfelt laughter as they show me out.

  (I gladly make my way to my flat , perplexed by the kindness shown to me  so much ,that I feel guilty. I wouldn’t have wished to spend my Saturday morning in any other way. )

 

*************************End****************************

 

 

 

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