Heaven or Hell?
Heaven or Hell?
It is 9 in the morning. The clouds are getting dark. The thunder strikes the light on the earth like kissing it and giving her love. The postman on his bike arrives at the door. He rang the bell and waited in front of the door to open.
The rain starts. He came close to the door to save himself from the raining water. He knocked on the door this time. He takes the letter to deliver and keep waiting. The old man opened the door after a minute. That old man cannot stand straight because his age weakens his body. He wore wide glasses in which his eyes looked popped out. He holds himself with the support of a stick. He adjusted his glasses. He asked, ‘What do you want?’
The postman senses even though it is morning time, there is no light in the house. Some kind of smell is coming from inside and not suited his nostrils.
He looked at him, Uncle, a letter for Mr. Balraj Awasthi, replied the postman.
Yes, it is me.
He hands over the letter to him. Hold this pen and please sign here, postman requested.
Who sent this letter? Asked the old man.
You can see it by yourself. I am getting late. The rain is getting strong.
But who sends this? How did I take any letter from a stranger?
Uncle, I am a stranger to you, but I am a postman too. It is my job to deliver the posts and letters.
An old stare at him for a moment and said, Ok, fine. I will take it.
Thank God!, replied Postman.
Old man closed the door. He slowly moved towards the sofa. The doorbell rang again. He kept the letter on the table. He reached the door and opened it.
You come again. You got another post for me?
No Uncle, there is huge rain, Can I wait in your house. It is a chilling wind outside, and my clothes got wet.
Old man allowed him to come inside. He requested the postman, Could you please close the door for me?
Yes, Uncle. The postman closed the door.
Uncle, Can I get a towel to dry myself.
He sat on the sofa and searched for the name, from whom he got the letter.
He said, Go to the room on the left. There will be a towel hanging on the nail.
Postman dried his hairs with the towel.
Hey, what is your name?
I am Jyoti.
Old man burst out laughing. Jyoti, you had a very unlike name? Did you ask your parents, Why did they give you this name?
I know people think of it as a girl's name. Let me tell you, I also got angry at my parents once when everyone made jokes out of me and my name. Before me, my parents gave birth to a girl. They gave her name Jyoti, but she had some disease, and she lived for only 12 days. When I was born, they never forgot her, and they named me Jyoti. I am kind of proud of my name since then. Jyoti means ‘Light’, So, how does it matter if it's a girl or boy name.
I got it.
Hey Jyoti, Can you read this letter for me. I am struggling to read you know. My eyesight gets poor.
Uncle tells me one thing, ‘Don't you fear living alone here?’
At first, I felt bad, but now I am habituated. Old man called him near and handed the letter to him to read.
Ok, Uncle, I can read if you want me to. Jyoti opened the letter. It captioned “Heaven or Hell?”
Why are you silent? What happened? Read the letter.
Yes, Uncle. It says, ‘Heaven or Hell’ and a question mark after it.
‘What? Maybe some old friend, try to make fun of me.’ said the old man.
‘I don’t know. I have lots of friends in my life, most of them I lose contact with.’ You please read further.
Uncle, possibly, someone close to you sent this?
You are very talkative, Jyoti. Just read it. I don’t want to put my mind to thinking who sent this.
Uncle rain seems not going to stop soon. Let’s have some tea.
‘I could not let you stay here anymore, If I did not request you to read the letter.’
You don't worry uncle, I will make tea for you and me. You have milk, right?
Yes, I have. Help yourself and make one for me. Go straight, you find the kitchen and all the stuff there.
Jyoti made the tea and handed the cup to the old man. He sat near to him and read further.
“You were thinking, who has sent this letter. You might forget me, But I am your old friend living alongside you,”
What is it saying? Beside this house is Mr. Gupta lives with his daughter. The house on the other side is empty.
Yes, Uncle. Remember, if you have known him from school or college?
No, I don’t. He started living here for the last 4 years only. I talked to him a few times. You continue reading the letter, please.
“You remember, When you were 19 years old, Who fought with your father and told him you didn't want his support and you left your parents alone. Then you never had bothered about them, How were they? And in what condition they were living their life?”
How could he know all this about me? Old man questioned himself.
Uncle, but have you left your parents alone?
Yes, I did. I know I was a stupid boy at that time. But I met them when I was 31. That time my mother already died and my father lived alone. I offered him to live with me, but he refused.
“This is not the first time you did the stupid thing. When you are working as the marketing manager at International Insurance Limited, you slapped your college friend, just because you lose some money for your insurance policy that he did sale and also you never had sorry for your behaviour,”
You did? Asked Jyoti.
Yes, that was an extensive amount of money he lost. I have pressure from my boss; He gave me an ultimatum to recover with another policy, or he would demote me from the current position. I was angry at him, and I slapped him.
Jyoti, you are asking so many questions, you would have made inappropriate things in your life, wouldn't you?
I did blunders. I was a thief. My father died, When I was 11. My mother used to earn for the livelihood. But she lost her hand in an accident. I was studying in school and helped my mother in her work. Later, I started stealing things for money. Then my mother got distressed and told me your karma let you place in hell. After that, I promised myself that I would stop thieving.
Do you believe in Heaven or Hell? Just as inquired in the letter.
I can't say. My mother told me that's the thing I believe. I don't know her theory or her experience on what assumptions it said, going to Heaven or Hell if you do either good or do terrible things in life.
“Both heaven and hell are within us,” said Jyoti.
Your mother must have told this, right? Replied the old man.
No, the next line mentioned here in the letter. Mahatma Gandhi quotes this, ‘Both heaven and hell are within us.’
I understand now, there is someone who is playing a game with me. Heaven or Hell? Right or wrong? Good karma and bad karma? I don't know if heaven or Hell exist? But if it does, who will decide this.
I don't know Uncle. ‘I think someone will try to communicate to you something by this letter.’
You please finish the letter; I am tired of this.
“Till now you realize that this letter is for you to understand your past mistakes and abandon them. Getup and correct your misdeeds by saying sorry to whom you offended or gave agonies. Forgive those who hurt you and damaged your ego. Balraj, this is the time to do good karma,”. Then you can give the answer to this, Heaven or Hell?
Both keep silent. The old man realizes and remembers all his past mistakes. He cries, and tears come out of his eyes. Old man said, ‘I now figure out who sent this letter to me?’
Who sent it? Asked Jyoti.
It is me, Balraj Awasthi.
Uncle, are you gone mad? You are now scaring me, said Jyoti.
Old man heard some noise, and he promptly opened his eyes. He finds himself lying on the sofa. He looked at the place where Jyoti was sitting. He wears his glasses and goes inside the kitchen and sees the cups and utensils all are in place.
He came back and sat on the sofa. He realizes and remembers all his past mistakes. He cries, and tears come out of his eyes. He recalls those words from the letter again and again, ‘Balraj this is the time, this is the time.’
He gets up and goes to his room. He stands in front of his parent’s photo with his hand bowed to them and appeals to forgive him for the sins he did. He touches the feet of his parents and takes their blessings.
He opened the old diary and searched for the contact of his old friend. He dialed the number from the telephone.
His friend picked up the call - ‘Hello, Rajesh speaking’
Rajesh, Balraj this side. How are you, buddy?
I am good. How about you? Is everything fine, you called after a long time.
Yes, Rajesh. I want to say sorry. I was unfair to you. I hurt you and impair our friendship.
Oh Balraj, you are still recalling those old things. I already forgave you. You would not do it deliberately, it is a situation that time coerces you to act.
Thanks, Rajesh, for forgiving me. You take care. Bye.
He thinks of his son. He took the paper and wrote a letter.
Dear Son, “I wanted to let you know that I forgive you for your faults and I love you so much. I was stubborn to you and always satisfied my ego above all the relationships. I realize the mistakes. I understand we need to perceive our flaws and rectify them before it hurts our loved relationships and forgive one another.”
Heaven and hell? They are just the hallmarks to understand the way we have to live and act in life. In our passage of life, we have to discover and practice the true meaning of Heaven and Hell because both are within us. We have to decide to whom we have to give water to grow it a tree of pleasure and happiness to pour love or the tree of burden and anguish to regret in life.