I got up early in the morning, as usual, performed my ablutions, and hearing the Azan, completed my Fazr. Then went into the hall and opened the window. The fresh morning breeze struck my face and with that came the scent of incense sticks. As usual, I brought my granddaughter and sat in the rocking chair beside the open window. She started playing with my beard. It's still a little dark outside. The picture outside the window is very serene and peaceful. The Tulasi plant and surrounding its oil lamps. The cool morning breeze mixed with the scent of incense sticks and the chantings of mami (granny). This is a daily routine for my granddaughter and me. We both play listening to the Sanskrit chantings and watching mami doing Tulasi puja. It soothes the mind and takes us into a blissful state. The Fajr in the morning and then listening to the chantings gives me immense positive energy. Meanwhile, my wife came, took my granddaughter from my hands and handed me a cup of hot tea. Sipping hot tea, I slipped into the past. I work as an Urdu Pandit in a village. My only daughter Hassena is married and when she became pregnant I shifted to Hyderabad for better medical facilities. The area in which we live is far from the city but a good hospital is there and it's a bit nearer to my workplace. All my relatives live in the city and visit us once in a while. The apartment where we live is a newly constructed one and people started occupying one by one.
This happened some 6 or 7 months back. One morning I opened the window for fresh air after doing Fajr. It's a common balcony and I couldn't tolerate the sight. I opened our main door and went into the balcony. After inspecting there a few minutes, I knocked on the door of the opposite house. An elderly lady clad in white saree opened the door and invited me inside. Seeing her, I hesitated to say what I wanted to say. I tried to speak in Hindi and then she called her grandson. A boy of 18 years came and asked me what I wanted. I showed him the sight in the balcony and asked what it was. He came out, looked there, and told that it was a Tulasi plant and as his granny does puja regularly to it oil lamps were lighted there. I told him that it was a common balcony and so they shouldn't do all those things there. He tried to convince me saying his granny is an elderly lady and there is no harm in keeping a Tulasi plant and doing puja there. I sharply asked him whether they would agree if I cut a goat in the balcony as it is a religious ritual for us. He was aghast. Though that elderly lady didn't understand our conversation exactly she sensed something and told her grandson to bring in the Tulasi plant which he followed immediately. Every sign of puja was removed from the balcony and I returned home victoriously. I instructed my wife and daughter not to open the windows any time because I believed the shadow and looks of those people might harm my daughter who is pregnant. I follow my religion strictly but I always thought about what I know and do only is right.
Days passed by. One day, when I was in school I got a call from my wife that Haseena started getting pains all of a sudden and asked me to come to the hospital immediately. I don't know what happened to me or how I told this in the school or took permission. What I could remember faintly is John, our school drill teacher drove me to the hospital.
When I reached there, I ran through the corridors and met my wife. I was surprised to see that the elderly lady and her daughter in law sitting with my wife , trying to give her courage. Meanwhile, viswanadham (as I knew the man's name from the nameplate of my opposite house), the son of that elderly lady came and handed over some medicines to the nurse. He then came to me and congratulated me on becoming a grandpa. It was all like a dream to me. I couldn't understand what happened and what was happening.
Then my wife came to me and explained everything in detail. In the morning after I left for school, Haseena started getting pains all of a sudden and she opened the window in the hall for air as she felt suffocated. Mami who was sitting in the opposite house saw my daughter in pains and alerted my wife. As there was no one to help, the family drove my daughter and wife to the hospital and the lad even donated blood save my daughter's life. And now, my daughter and granddaughter are safe on earth thanks to that family. Tears welled into my eyes.
I went to thank viswanadham. I shook hands with him, but couldn't speak as my voice broke. Viswanadham shook hands with me, hugged me, and said," all this is possible because your daughter opened the window. Otherwise, we can't even imagine what could have happened. So, please open the windows once in a while, my friend". I told him in a broken voice, " my daughter opened the window and that saved her life. You people opened the window of my mind and saved my soul. I will not forget this lesson throughout my life and this window remains open always."
And from then I never close the window except during the night. The first thing I did after returning from the hospital was to bring the Tulasi plant into the balcony. Now, mami does puja regularly in the balcony and my granddaughter plays in both the houses happily.
I haven't told you about my grand daughter's name. Right? Tulasi. Mami's name only.