Friday, November 6, 2009

Dedication To My Love - Part 2 - Mohan Anna & The Call

4 P.M., February 14th, 2008
403, Apartment J, Eagle Heights
Madison, Wisconsin.

It was 20 days into one of the greatest tragedies of my life. I was on the verge of going mad. I had lost everything – literally everything. All my dad’s money. My health. My hope. My strength. My faith & even My passion. I didn’t remember when I had eaten last. And I couldn’t remember when I peacefully slept last. I wasn’t sure how many hours did I have left to live in America. And I wasn’t sure how many hours did I have left to even live.

“Mohan Anna calling..”, Said my phone.

It was snowing like hell outside my house. The temperature outside was -30 C. I hadn’t spoken to anyone for 2 days. And I hadn’t attended my classes for the week. I was living my worst nightmare ever. My body, heart and soul had all stopped feeling anything. My mind was using various plans I had to inspire myself and yet I was just feeling empty.

“Mohan Anna calling..”, Said my phone.

Mohan anna was my neighbour in Hyderabad. I knew him ever since I first knew myself. He was one of the first ever to congratulate me on one of the brightest days of my life – When I topped my college in first year inter with a 97 %. His brother Gopal is my batchmate and one of my best friends.

I had lost touch with Mohan Anna during my engineering and subsequent years. But two days before I left for America, Gopal came to me and said, “Sai, what you are doing in life is something extraordinary. I wish and pray for your success. Annaya is living in Minnesota, U.S.A. This is his phone number. Do call him up if you need anything. Baba’s blessings will always be with you”.
“Mohan Anna calling..”, said my phone.
I picked it up.

“Heyy Sai.. How are you doing ra ? Did you eat anything ?”, asked Mohan anna.
“Yes anna..”, I lied as I didn’t want to disappoint anna again.

Mohan anna had been the only person in the world who supported me through the past, horrible 25 days. He was the only person I was talking my heart to. He was the only person whom I had opened up to. And he was the only person who knew every second of what happened in my life ever since I had landed in the U.S. And as I look back, both Mohan anna and me, realize that it was pure destiny that we met and got to talk to each other on phone regularly.

“So, what did you cook ?”, asked Mohan anna affectionately.
“Hmm.. Nothing much anna.. Same old same old.. Avakaya pickle with curd rice.. Just made some ginger tea..”, I replied unable to recollect any food items immediately.

“Hmm.. How will that be sufficient ra ? Please do eat something and eat well”, said Mohan anna with the feelings of love that one must be blessed to hear.

“Ok anna. Sure”, I replied trying to put some courage in my voice.

“Hmm.. That apart, Orai Sai.. I am not sure how to tell it to you ra.. But I have some bad news for you.”, said my dearest anna.

“Sure Annaya..”, I said with a smile in my voice.. “Please go on. Not to worry.. What worse can possibly happen after everything that happened to me in the past 25 days ?”, I said.

“Hmm.. Do not say that Sai.. You have been absolutely inspirational in the past 25 days to me. I have never ever seen anyone fight for their love as you have done and are doing. But then Sai.. I think its time !”, said Mohan anna.

“I am sorry annaya.. I am not able to understand you”, I replied.

“Hmm.. Well Sai, I am not sure how to convey this to you.. The doctors of our Sai organization are insisting you leave America immediately. The reports have been horrible. You could be infected with blood poisoning any moment. You can literally die any moment ra. Please leave now and go to India for medical care. I am not sure on how are you surviving there in Madison, all alone in such adverse conditions. I myself am not able to bear even the thought of it or even any news about you”, said Mohan anna.

“Hmm.. Annaya, is that all ?”, I asked.

“What do you mean is that all ? Don’t you understand the seriousness of the situation ? Our Sai organization people are thinking you lied to your parents about your health and came here. They think you are mad about America and egoistic. They say it is your egoism that will cost you your life. Please leave ra. I will book your return tickets.”, said Mohan anna.

“Annaya please.. You and only you know as to what i have experienced in the past 25 days. And after all that has happened, I am not going to give it up. Definitely not now. My life might leave my body. But my soul would not leave my love. I will fight and win this battle. I will get my love no matter what. And anyways what will I do after going to India ? Live at the merciful and pitiful looks of everyone ?”, I asked.

“Sai ! Please try to understand. You first need to survive more than anything else. 25 days back I knew nothing of you. You were just my neighbour Sai of hyderabad who drove a Scooty, Studied well and attended bhajans in our colony. But when I came to know everything of you, I was stunned ra. Even our own Sathya Sai Organization is mad at you at the way you are adamant about living in America inspite of your frail and worsening health.”, said my dearest anna.

“Annaya.. I have got nothing to say as of now. Last week, I have lost 10000 $ of money as medical expenses. I came here with 15000 $ in all. Having paid the advance for the house & having bought groceries and clothes, all I have is 15 $ in my shelf. I do not have money to pay for the next month’s rent. I do not have money to pay for my tuition of even the first semester. I do not have money to buy even a pizza. And yet, inspite of it all - I do have something and only one thing in me today. It is a small belief. A belief that I can pull out something extraordinary in my life here. A belief that my love would not desert me. A belief in the God above and in the blessings of my parents & love of my sister. Annaya, the final research scholarship test and interview is on the 22nd of this month. A scholarship equal to the tuition fee of 25000 $ and a monthly stipend of 2000 $. This scholarship is the last for this semester and there in only one left anna. It is going to be a do or die battle for me. If I don’t make it, it is the end of everything. It means my life is ruined. But if I do make it, then I can come out of all this in fraction of a second.”, I replied trying to sound as positive as I can.

“Hmm.. Sai, I am not sure what to say ra. I am talking of your life and death but you are talking of the scholarship exam ! Anyways, Leave everything for the moment.. How are you managing yourself all alone ra ? Aren’t you feeling it tough ?”

“Ya annaya.. It is a little tough. But I am somehow managing it. I get up at 4 in the morning. And listening to music, I make some tea and watch the snow falling for sometime. Then I do the dressing up of the wound for an hour. I also simultaneously put clothes off for washing. I have literally planned out and organized my entire house here. It took me three days to do so. But then, I have finished organizing my house. Every item now has got a particular place here. The most used things are the kept closest to my hand and reach. I use an entire room to keep my medical kit and dresses. And the other, well lit room, I use it for study”, I said.

“Hmm.. Am not sure what to say ra. But why are you doing all these things ? Why do you have to struggle so much ?”, asked annaya.

“Hmm.. Well, I have already told you everything anna. I am in a mad mad love. And as such, it is that love which is driving me into all this. I do not have any further reasons, apart from my love, to believe or explain right now. But as I said, I can feel love in what I am doing. I can sense a belief for my tomorrow. I believe that if I stand up for what I want the most, nothing will stop me.”, I replied.

“Hmm.. Not sure what to say ra.. But anything that you are finding it particularly difficult ?”, asked Mohan annaya.

“Nothing annaya. Nothing much at all is that difficult ! I am slow in doing things. But then, I start early. So, that’s not being a problem. Most funnily though I must say, washing vessels after cooking is one of the toughest, most testing and most irritating works I ever did in my life ! After I return to India, I will first ensure that atleast one day of every week I wash vessels for my Mom anna !”, I said trying to shift the mood of talk.

“Hmm.. Please stop it ra. Are you serious you can pull this off ?”, asked Mohan annaya again.

“Hmm.. Ofcourse annaya. Ofcourse I do ! The syllabus for the exam is C and C++ programming. And I believe in my programming ability to pull it off. My life annaya – my life as of today – is in a stage wherein I need 42 runs in a single over. And I believe and I really do believe that not only will I score 6 runs of every ball.. but I also believe that God will ensure a no ball will be bowled and I will hit a 6 of the same too. I am chasing a huge target annaya. I have been studying non stop for 9 hours a day now. And I will not loose the exam, no matter what – I will not loose it. Even if I am dead on the pitch half way, i will end up fighting. Annaya, trust me, 10 days from now not only will i be a research scholar in this university but two years from now, i would have begun the journey towards being the best entrepreneur this world has ever seen.”, I finished.

“Hmm.. I am not sure what to say ra.. As I already told you, there is a very thin line of difference between courage and foolishness. And I am not sure what to say about you as of today. But then, please do give me a call whenever you feel lonely. I will always be there for you in this fight. If you do need anything, just remember that I am there for you. And not to worry, I will speak to our Sai organization and manage them about your not leaving.”, finished Mohan anna.

“Thank you annaya.. Thank you so very much ! I will always remain indebted to you for this ! But annaya, more than Sai organization, can you please ensure that your parents in India talk to my parents regularly and comfort them ? Atleast for the next 10 days.. They have witnessed nothing but tears in the past 2 months and I want someone to be there for them to share their difficulties without inhibitions. And as of now, your parents are the only people who can help me in this”, I said.

“Sure ra.. I will ensure that. You prepare well for your R.A. exam. I will take care of the rest”, said Mohan anna.

“I will anna. I will for sure”, I replied.

Mohan Anna hung up the phone and the empty feeling of fear, pain, sadness & loneliness hit me again as he hung up.

But then even as I was feeling everything and nothing but negative, I knew there was a bigger purpose ahead of me. Inspite of not having anything in my life at that moment, I also had the three most important things of life – Something to do, Something to love & Something to hope for. 9 days from thereon - the R.A. exam and the interview would seal off my fate. And with not a penny in my pocket, not an energy in my body, I was there all alone in my room, almost dead, with nothing but a small belief - a small belief in my love - a small belief that something extraordinary in my life is still possible.
Lying on the bed, I now took the gift of the small wind pipe chandlier that my best friends had once given me and held it in my hand. I looked at it and was recollecting the most memorable days of my life for inspiration. I was also recollecting what had happened to me ever since I first landed in the U.S.A.

- To be continued -