I have been wondering about so many events in my life. I consider myself lucky that my life is full of varied experiences throughout the years. I have been assailed by many thoughts but overall I have come to the conclusion, that the words of the Lord ” Not a leaf moves without my will” is a Cardinal principle of life.
After leaving the Air Force, I was one of the lucky few who was interviewed by AH Tobaccowala a doyen of the Parsi community and an earlier close associate of JRD Tata. This interview was for a Community Health Project under the auspiciousness of the World Health Organisation and was located in Palghar district of Maharashtra. I was appointed the project director. It was a very senior appointment making me responsible through the Indian headquarters headed by Tobaccowala to the WHO in Geneva. I had his bevy of scientists in various fields like tribal welfare, water sanitation, improvement in agriculture and other associated subjects reporting to me. Though I have none of these or matching qualifications, yet the interviewing a thought I was the most competent man to be the project director of this tribal welfare project. Before I took over I was called to Geneva for a briefing.
The beginning of the tryst
My story really commences from the time I landed in Geneva I was put in a good hotel but it was bitterly cold as it was the month of December. I had a meeting with the top brass of the WHO who briefed me about the project and told me that they had appointed me to the post of the director basically to see that the project was properly administered and there was no corruption. A vast amount of funds were flowing into the community project from the WHO and the previous incumbent probably swindled $200,000.I was told that they had studied my background and their confidence was high that I would not allow a repeat of such a monstrous act.I was delighted that the authorities have so much confidence in me during the meetings I was introduced to young American doctor named Sally. This is not her real name but is one used by me to identify her for the simple reason that it will not be proper for me to name such a person.
I looked at Sally and saw that she was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, extremely slim with very shapely legs. Above all, she was a doctor and I was told she has been with the World Health Organisation for close to 6 years. I guessed her age as about 25 that made her about two decades younger than me but this did not dampen my enthusiasm and desire wondered what she was like as a woman. I have once a brief meeting with her and I took my chance.
“Sally,” I said. “I am here for another 3 days. Would you care to have dinner with me tonight/”
She thought for a moment and then her eyes brightened and she said: “yes, certainly why not?”
So the dice were cast.After getting to my hotel I asked the manager to arrange dinner for a couple in a quiet corner of the dining hall.
Sali came at 8 pm.She was wearing a gorgeous black dress with the slit up to the hips. This set her to good advantage and now I had a look at her face. She had slightly smallish eyes with a square chin and I guessed she was descendant of the Red Indians many generations earlier. Overall she created the image of a very enticing woman and as we clicked champagne, we came to know each other better. It was a long dinner and continued late into the night the ice had been broken between us and we were now almost friends. I shook hands as she left with the word “goodbye Sally, hope you are going to come to India soon”.
“Yes of course” she replied. “I will come to India. In fact, I come here quite often to work with the tribals and I hope you will be there. It will be a great pleasure working with you.” She laughed and I could not help feeling that her laughing was just like the chimes of small bells ring in a church.
I came back to India and took charge of my post as the director.It was a tremendous job and give me a great opportunity to learn about tribes and their modes and Customs. I really felt that I was doing some good in the world. This is the first time in my life even after two decades in the air force that made me think of such thoughts. One day I was sitting in my office when my secretary came to me and said “Sir, a cable has come from Geneva. A person called doctor Sally will be visiting for a month.”
My ears picked up and I asked her to repeat the message. I was delighted that doctor Sally would be coming too Palghar and maybe I could invite her to dinner again
On the due date, Sally landed at Santacruz airport and she was picked up by our vehicle and brought to Palghar. We had a small guest house and I positioned there. It was small place situated in the woods with a lot of greenery all around and course it was fully air-conditioned.I had also arranged for a chef who could cook continental food
Sally was course delighted to meet me. She gushed “captain, it’s a great honor to be here with you and I look forward to a lot of interaction for tribal welfare”
“Yes, I know that is the purpose why we are here” I replied.
Sally began to work, initially in the headquarters and later she began to move on her own among the tribals. There was very little interaction between me and Sally for the first one week, considering that she had come for a month, I began to wonder whether she would go back without my having had dinner with her. These are lascivious thoughts in my mind but these cannot be wished away. Especially for a man like me who has seen the world and his wife had left him half a dozen years back.
This was the period of the monsoon and everybody knows that Ghats monsoon is something that has to be experienced. Over 100 inches of rain falls and torrents reign making the atmosphere romantic and the countryside becomes beautiful and green.
One day Sally told me, “Captain, I have to go to Ratham village and there is no vehicle available can. I take your Land Cruiser?”
I replied “that’s not a problem but the problem is that there is no driver as today the driver has not come from Andheri but there is a way out and that is I will drive you to the village.” This delighted Sally and she said “why the delay, so let’s go”
I jumped into the driver’s seat of the Land Cruiser and put the vehicle into gear and the vehicle lurched forward. Sally sat in the seat next to me and looked at me. I wondered what was going through her mind and as we continued forward the rain began to fall. It was not a simple rain but a torrent almost like a cloudburst. Thunder boomed and boomed again and lightning crashed across the sky. I had a feeling that’s something was going to happen. I had never seen long thunders strike with such boom and I had a feeling that Lord Krishna was up to something.
I again wondered what could be the reason for this avalanche. The rain now increased in speed and after a few minutes Sally said ” Sir, you better stop because I wonder if you can see anything as the visibility is reduced to almost zero”
” Yes,” I said “that’s a good idea,” as I piloted the Land Rover to a halt by the side of the road. Let me tell your friends it was not much of a road really and basically, it was just kutcha path through the mountains. As we sat in the Land Cruiser I began to wonder about these strange events which are taking place. I said, more to myself’ “Looks like this is the hand of Lord himself”
She caught on and asked, “who is the Lord?”
I replied “He is Lord Krishna, who really runs the universe. He is omnipotent everywhere and there is one quotation in the Bhagavad Gita which about sums up the essence of life. It says “not a leaf moves without my will”
“Do you believe, “she asked
Yes” I replied “I do believe it and if we are together here with rain all around it can only be the handiwork of the Lord himself”
Sally looked out of the window at the rhythmic pattern of the rain falling on the earth. What was she thinking? I didn’t know as I said something which I wanted to say so many times.
“Sally, I must say you are the most wonderful beautiful girl I’ve ever seen”. She smiled back at me and replied “I knew it all along, in fact, I have been sure. I have seen your eyes following me and believe me I knew the driver was not available today and I wanted to come with you alone.” I was in for a shock as now it transferred that this visit has been planned by Sally, as she knew the driver was not there and I would drive the vehicle.
She just looked out of the window and whispered “Captain, I had a weird dream yesterday. A man big and strong took me in his arms and carried me away. He seemed to jump over the clouds as he held me tight. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t see my abductors face, but something told me it was you.” That’s when I engineered this little plot today, but I never knew the heavens would break asunder and I would be in the position I am now.
These words hit me like an avalanche and impulsively I caught her hand. She made no attempt to pull it back as I carried it forward to my lips. I kissed the knuckles, the inside of the palm and sucked the thumb and each finger. She made no attempt to pull her hand away and then suddenly thunder and lightning crashed and the cruiser shook like an aspen leaf.
There was no word spoken between us as lightning and thunder crashed across the sky and the rain beat on the earth. I had pulled the seat into the reclining position and took her face in my hands and kissed her lips, her nose, her cheeks, her chin for what seemed like an eternity.
“Sally, Sally” I whispered “you are my girl and if God wills and if the Lords feels maybe this day will have some memories, later on. I will not describe further what happened because it is something so primordial, something so glorious, something like the dance of Shiva as I undressed Sally. I made ferocious love to her. I am a fitness freak, a golfer, mountaineer, horse rider and these held me in good stead as with the rain beating all around and the Land Cruiser shaking like a leaf and with thunder booming, again and again, Sally became mine. At the back of my mind, I had no regrets that I had seduced the girl two decades younger than me. All I knew at that moment was that this girl was mine and the great lord had given her to me
The rain stopped but we continued in on our path to Eden. It was a delight as nightfall came and the stars begin glittering in the sky as the monsoon had gone. In the clear sky with no rain and monsoon, I carried Sally onto the soft earth for one last fling like the last post sounding the retreat.
We returned late at night and next day when I was in the office I received a cable from the head office at Geneva calling Sally back. I was loathed to let her go but after a last farewell lingering kiss, she left. I was left wondering at this tryst of destiny in the jungles and the mountains of the Ghats and I thought what could be the result.
Hand of the Lord
Sally soon resigned from her job and left for America. She rang me up before leaving and said she was going away to America but she said something which will remain in my memory forever. She wrote to me saying “I am caring something which is a gift of the Lord”. I wondered what she meant and try to take Sally out of my mind after another 2 months Shirley sent me an email in which told me that the gift which I have given was the gift of the Lord himself.
She said she believed Lord Krishna and she further strengthens by the fact that very soon in the months to come she would carry my gift into the world. The story must end here because what happened after that would sound more like an anti-climax. I learned Sally was married, a fact she never told me. She was also childless for 4 years. I am convinced that when Lord Krishna says “not a leaf moves without my will” is nothing but true.