Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Signs from heaven

I have this personal belief that when you are really sad or depressed, heaven sends you certain signs to know that you are needed in this world. Not that you'll win a lottery or meet your soulmate, but small signs that are too much of an accident and surprisingly delightful.

As children my brother and me looked forward to every edition of Balarama, which was published every fortnight unlike now when it is published every week. We both would run for it and at times struggle to get it first from the old man who used to bring us paper.I remember running with toothbrush in my hand and toothpaste in my mouth to get it ahead of my brother because whoever gets it first could read it first after coming from school.It was a time of intense waiting and struggles and one book full of colours meant a lot to both of us. 

Its with the same anxiety though there is none to fight with now, we both being grown up and understanding, that I wait for the Literary Review page in The Hindu on Sundays. This is because of the column Endpaper by Pradeep Sebastian. His writing reveals a book lover with much sensitivity and understanding.  The article that touched me the most came some  years back in May. 

I was in very low spirits at that time. It was exam time and I wasnt able to study well with my project incomplete and my heart sore over something that I now consider very trivial. Agitated and worried with the exams and some nerve-cracking people around me, I went on doing a lot of self-destructive activities- like skipping studies, tearing up all diaries, cutting my long hair and getting mad at anyone who tried to advise me. A radical and highly rebellious state of mind it was. 

Then in the evening, I was sitting with a vacant mind and my eyes fell on this article. It was called An Unlived Life about a story called "Babette's Feast" by Isak Dinessen. It spoke of how a congregation without any unity is changed by a feast given by an artistic cook who gives up whatever she has for the feast. 
I felt a big calm settle over me as I was reading this. Right after reading it, I went to my room, closed the door and began to write about what was worrying me-my indecisiveness about the life and career I was to take. Not that the problem was solved that day, but it made me feel better.You don't know what saves you from killing yourself. May be a little kindness from someone. Or some signs from heaven that reminds you of your most precious gift. Not lottery. Or a soulmate. This beautiful life. The General in the story gives this speech:"We tremble because we imagine divine grace to be finite. We tremble before making our choice in life and after having made it again tremble in fear of having chosen wrong. But the moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we realize grace is infinite. We need only to await it in confidence and in gratitude. See! That which we have chosen is given us, and that which we have refused is, also and at the same time, granted us. For mercy and truth have had a lover, and righteousness and bliss have kissed one another!" 

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