There are moments in one’s life when one feels connected to the cosmos. In the mountains, by the sea, in the face of a smiling child, in the eyes of a dog – innumerable, aren’t they? Agree with me or not, you cannot deny that it is happiness that we seek; some through amassing wealth, some by denying wealth; some by possessing, some by dispossessing ; some at the sight of gold, some, by the feel of a bird’s feather. One of my sources of happiness is a particular book, a book that I read and have with me since 1967.
Sometime ago, I wrote a post on this book – ‘What then, Raman?’ by Shirley L Arora. http://mytravelsmylife.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-then-raman.html Months passed; occasionally I see someone googling for this book and getting connected to my post. Last week I got an e-mail from Roy in Canada. He said he had read this book as a little boy 45 years ago. He still remembers it so well. He requested me information about it and asked me if I could send him a copy. I said the original English version is available with Amazon; he replied that he had already ordered one, but being a Malayalee and having read the Malayalam translation as a boy, he would dearly love to read it again. He said he is willing to pay any reasonable expenses. Fortunately, his parents are in Trivandrum; so I told him I will leave a photocopy of the book with them.
Today morning, I am woken up by a phone call. It is one Mr. Nandakumar from Kochi; he is the DGM of a well-known public limited company. He said- ‘I am 52 years old. When I was a small boy, my father had bought me a copy of this book. I remember it so vividly. I lost the book long ago, but it left a huge impact on me. When I told the story to my son who was 10 years old, he kept on asking me, Acha, did Raman finally buy the Ramayana?’ Mr. Nandakumar apologetically asks me if I can give him a copy. He hurriedly adds that he will pay its cost. We talk about the book at length, about the similar background of our boyhood (we are almost of the same age), about our love for books, about how What then, Raman has instilled certain values in our minds. To my envy, he had succeeded in contacting the author, who is an ailing old American, a professor of Spanish language and folklore. She had replied to him and even sent him an autographed copy of the English book.
How can I thank Nandakumar for such happiness in a morning? How can I thank Shirley Arora for having been the source of light in all my life since I was 8 years? I tell Nandakumar that my moth-eaten copy of the book is the most prized in my library. I tell him he doesn’t have to send me money for the photocopying. How can the few rupees equal the happiness that he has given me?
Happiness, my friends, is like watching a drop of morning dew on the tip of a leaf. Happiness is sharing simple pleasures and joys – with others; not only humans but with every little fleck of dust that sweeps by you, because you and that fleck of dust are the same.
************ Balachandran V, Trivandrum , 09-01-2011