Laxsha Natraj



Laxsha Natraj


An Unusual Dream

An Unusual Dream

5 mins

Narendra, who was Nanu for his mother, kept the heavy bags bulging with vegetables, on the corner of the kitchen, and called out, "Amma, here I had brought all the things you wanted in the list. Could you check if everything is OK?" 

His mother Kamu, frying something in the gas said, "It is all right Nanu, I am sure you would have brought everything perfectly. Did you meet the Vadiyar?"

Nanu said, "Yes, Amma, before going to market I went to his house. He said that he made arrangements for the three Brahmin for tomorrow, and all of them will be here at 8.00 AM Sharp. Is that All right? Anything else to be done?"

Kamu smiled and said, "I am so happy that we are performing your father's Shradham here in our village house. Otherwise, for the past two years, I was coming to your house in Mumbai, and though the function all went on well, it did not give me peace of mind. Good, this time you could manage one week left, and we could perform the function here."

Nanu said, "Amma I had to manage some office work. If there is nothing else to be done I will go and finish it"

Kamu said, "Just one thing Nanu. Will you mind digging two large pits, in our kitchen garden near the Banana plants? It must be just three feet deep, just enough to put the banana leaves of the Brahmins after they finish their lunch. You know the remains of Brahmins food should not be eaten by dogs etc. So we have to put them in the pit and cover it with mud"

Nanu said, "I think the shovel is in the storeroom. I will do  the digging work firs" As he was about to move away suddenly he remembered something and said, "Amma, one big pit will be good enough. Why you want two pits?"

Kamu said, "Nanu the food cooked for Shradham is not to be eaten by anyone except the relatives. We are only two and hence a lot of food will be remaining. So we will drop all the remaining food in the second pit and bury them also so no dogs will eat."

Nanu started digging the pits in the backyard. His mother had maintained her garden very well and the soil was wet and easy to dig. But as he dug he started thinking about his father. He was a simple school teacher with a golden heart. On all festival days, when his mother used to prepare a large number of sweets, he used to call all the children living in the slum and used to distribute everything to them. Kamu used to get irritated. But he uses to smile and say, "Festivals are not just for celebrating, but to share and make everyone happy. Who will give those slum children sweets? Just tell me one name?" Kamu could not answer and would walk away.

Thinking about this Nanu remembered that tomorrow, not just the food but, his mother will be making so many side dishes for the great Shradham. All that has to be buried?

After finishing his work he went to the bedroom worked for some time and took a nap. As he got up he got an idea. He came out rubbing his eyes and called out his mother in a little excited voice. Kamu who was grinning in the mixer, came out with a wet hand and said, "What happened Nanu? Why are you looking so anxious?"

Nanu said, "Amma can you believe? I saw Appa in my dream just now"

Kamu stared at him unbelievingly and said in a choked voice, "Really, you are so much blessed. Tomorrow is his Shradham. So he came in your dream. Did he talk anything to you? Did he ask about me?'

Nanu said, "Appa was really upset. He said as long as he was alive he was feeding the slum children. At least on his Shradham day, when you pay respect to his soul, you can feed the poor children. Instead, Kamu is wasting precious food by burying them? And you are also agreeing for this old practice?"

Kamu sat down and tears started flowing from her eyes. She finally said in a choked voice, " If that is your Appa's wish I will not go against it. I will feed the poor children with all the leftover food. In fact, I will cook a little extra and feed them" Nanu hugged his mother and said, "Amma you are the best"

The next day after the Shradham when the Vadiyars came out they were surprised to see so many slum children sitting in a line there with banana leaf ready. As they looked back at Nanu, he said," Fulfilling our Appa's wish is more important for us more than the Shradham because that only will make his soul happy"

The Brahmins walked away and the children started enjoying a large quantity of fine food served to them. Nanu sat on the veranda watching them with happiness. He mused, "Appa, I know you won't get angry with me for my small lie. This was the only way I could convince Amma, who had been brought up from childhood with these outdated ideas." 

Kamu came and sat near her son and said, "Your Appa was right Nanu. Hereafter on all the festivals, I will feed these children just like you Appa was doing. Both smiled happily.

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