Ganesha – A short story

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Anand stands before me. His palms joined together in reverence. His eyes closed. Lips moving in prayer.

“Please, please, please…” he murmurs. “Please God, let me do well in my Chemistry exam tomorrow,” he prays ardently.

 “Don’t you think it’ll help things if you go home now and spend sometime with your books? “ I ask him.

He does not hear me. His mind is full of voices.

 His father’s. His mother’s. His teachers’. His friends’. His own.

Admonitions. Fears. Warnings. Dreams. Aspirations.

The din drowns my voice completely.

After one last look at me he leaves hurriedly.

He has tickets for the latest movie in his pocket.

I should know. I am after all, omniscient.

Assured that I’ll cook up some miracle tomorrow to save his day, he leaves while his mind is already with his friends waiting for him at the cinema.

******** 

A coconut smashes on the street.

It’s Kamala.

Soon she is  standing in front of me.

Her lips are moving in fervent prayer. But her mind asks me, “God! Why isn’t he speaking to me? What have I done wrong this time? Why don’t you do something?”

After each fight with her husband, she comes here with many questions, to implore me to help her.

“Why don’t you ask your husband?” I ask gently. “Talking it over with him will give you more answers than all your prayers here.”

As before, my voice goes unheard in the clamour of the thoughts in her head.

But relieved that I’ll solve her problems, she leaves, more light hearted.

*******

Sometimes I wonder if that’s what I am here for.

To solve problems.

Agreed, I am the remover of obstacles and all that. But most of the time, all people have to do is to bend down, pick up the obstacle and throw it away.

But instead, they just stand there, mortified, close their eyes and try to wish their problems away.

*******

Here comes Preethi.

She’s a delight to me. She lives next door. Comes to see me everyday.

I wait eagerly for her visits.

She comes in. After exchanging pleasantries, starts telling me the highlights of her day.

Her childish logic never ceases to amaze me. She makes so much more sense than the adults.

Today, she’s upset with her mother.

“All I did was ask her if my snack was ready,” she says mournfully.

“For that, she yelled and said, I bother her all the time!”

“Don’t worry about that, sweet heart,” I assure her.

“Your mother was not really mad at you.”

“Really?” she asks.

“Yes.” I smile.

“Go home now, your mother’s waiting for you with cheese crackers!”

“Wow!” she says and skips out.

************

She almost knocks over an annoyed Kannan, who’s coming towards me.

Of late, he’s here everyday, praying for his son, who’s appearing for his school finals this year.

“Please God,” he prays, “Make Arun get high marks and manage an engineering seat.”

“You fool!” I admonish him. “Your son has no interest in engineering. You forced him to take math, a subject he hates. Have you seen his paintings? They’re brilliant. Why don’t you encourage him to take up a career in art?”

Stubbornly refusing to listen, he drones on his prayers to shut out my voice.

Fine. I’ll do my best.

These are problems of another kind. The ones some create for themselves. Oh, how they love to do that! Arun is a brilliant painter who happens to hate math. Then why force him to learn it and then come to me and ask for a miracle?

Anyway, like I said, I’ll do my best.

*********

A few days later, Preethi walks in. Do I see tears in her eyes?

“Child! What happened?” I ask.

“God! I have to leave you,” she wails. “My father’s transferred to Madurai.”

“Oh! Is that so?” I feign bewilderment. “Don’t worry, girl. You’ll find a new friend” I try to console her.

“But I’ll miss you,” she says.

She stays for a long time. I cheer her up with things she can look forward to.

New house. New school. New friends.

It works. Still sad, but visibly cheered, she says her goodbyes.

I promise never to forget her and help her in all her future troubles.

She leaves.

 

I chuckle to myself.

She doesn’t know.

In Madurai, I sit in a small shrine, right opposite her house. She can see me from her bedroom window.

 

I am omnipresent, remember?

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12 Comments

  1. Pearls said,

    May 29, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Very sweet story. made me smile.

    Ganesha is my favourite

    Thank you!!:) Wrote this years ago!

  2. Rekha said,

    May 30, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Haha.. Good one! I am going to sound like a pazham for saying this.. but.. even in my final year of college, I bribed the local Ganesha and said I woudl do 108 pradhakshanais if I got decent marks in particular papers. At the end of the exams, I would add up all the prayers together and end up doing 300 sometimes. Paavam avar!

    Hehe… I’ve done that so many times in the temple right next to school!! I think I still owe a few pradakshinams!!!

  3. Gradwolf said,

    May 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Feel good 🙂

    Thanx!

  4. oorja said,

    May 31, 2009 at 11:23 am

    how true we never listen to what he says.. just keep asking./repeating what we want…

    loved the end..

    🙂 Thanx!

  5. buddy said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    smiling wide 🙂
    the last part was nice(est)

    Thank you!! 🙂

  6. Pushpa said,

    June 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Really nice story (reality)!

    thank u pushpa!!!

  7. kusublakki said,

    June 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Nice nice…can we have more?? 🙂

    Thank you!!! 🙂

  8. Sangeetha said,

    June 7, 2009 at 11:20 am

    That was a nice story!
    🙂

  9. maami said,

    June 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Erm, I am a needy creature- *moves lips in prayers fervently*

  10. anush. said,

    July 16, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Simple thoughts but deep rooted. Don’t know why the story reminds me of the opening scene of one of the Baghyaraj movies. Can’t remember which one. Keep at it.

  11. Harish Ramaswamy said,

    September 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Really nice post! 🙂
    But mostly, prayer/talking to God is just another way in which people vent out negative thoughts or feelings. just a form of expression!

  12. kadhambari sridhar said,

    November 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    A very beautiful story!! and very inspiring. May I take an adaptation of your story to write my own? I am working on a story telling presentation, I will send you mine when it is done.

    Thanx! ya, sure u can!


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