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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1017015-Day-Eight-A-BIRTHDAY-OF-HISTORICAL-PROPORTIONS
Rated: 13+ · Book · Community · #2257034
For: Birthday Bash Blog Relay. Excited to win Second Place! Now Media Prompt entries, too.
#1017015 added September 11, 2021 at 1:45pm
Restrictions: None
Day Eight: A BIRTHDAY OF HISTORICAL PROPORTIONS
All Words: 652


A BIRTHDAY OF HISTORICAL PROPORTIONS

(A fictional account of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.)

Dawn, October 2, 1946.
Bapu-Gandhi was at his spinning wheel as usual. "I was born to work," he told his disciples. "So to stop working on my birthday would be rather ironical, wouldn't it?"

His disciples grinned. They knew it would be of no use to coax Bapu (meaning 'Father') to take a day off. Once Bapu got something in to his head, it was impossible to dislodge it. If he wanted to work, he'd work. That was that.

They gathered round him, wearing the chaste white clothes they had made themselves, and sang his favourite hymn: Vaishanva Janato. Bapu listened, tears welling up in his eyes. What lovely people his disciples were.

"There are people to greet you, Bapu," Mira called out. "Women, and men, and children."

"Let them in, let them in," he said jovially.

The visitors didn't show their excitement. They calmly formed a queue outside the little room, and, at their turn, removed their footwear and entered. Once inside, each one touched Bapu's feet and made an offering. A basket of mangoes, maybe. Or a flower garland. Some of the children gave him toys or sweets. Bapu blessed each one in turn, and thanked them.

Last in queue was a young man in a bright red turban and blue dhoti. His torso was bare. He looked strong, his muscles gleamed. He didn't touch Bapu's feet. He merely handed him an envelope.

"Thank you, my son," Bapu said.

"I am not your son," the young man replied through gritted teeth.

"I am sorry," Bapu apologised. "Thank you, young man."

"Read it now."

Bapu opened the envelope. It was a two-page letter, with both sides of each page filled in with small handwriting. He read every word.

The letter criticised his appearance, his speeches, his strategy — it even ridiculed the title 'Bapu' for someone it said was so unworthy to be a father.

He read it through with no change in his expression. The young man watched him. Three disciples stood at the open doorway, watching too.

When he had finished reading, Bapu heaved a huge sigh. He then looked at the young man, gazing straight in to his face. "Thank you, young man, for you, too, have given me a gift."

So saying, he undid the little pin that held the two pages of the letter together and placed it neatly in a little box he had next to him. He then called to his disciples, "Will you take these bits of paper and use them as fuel? Everything must be used."

The young man looked like he was about to speak. Then he thought the better of it. He simply turned and left.

Bapu had a simple lunch of vegetables, rice and curd with a few of his disciples. On their insistence, he ate some sweets as well.

He then lay on his mat for a nap.

"Bapu, wake up, Bapu!" Mira's voice came urgently ten minutes later. Bapu sat up.

"What is it, Mira, what is it?"

"It's Lord Mountbatten to see you, Bapu!"

Bapu washed his face, and the visitor was let in.

"Happy Birthday, Bapu," Lord Mountbatten said.

"Thank you indeed," Bapu replied. "But have you brought me no gift?" His eyes twinkled.

"I have indeed brought you a gift, Bapu."

"Where is it? You seem to be carrying nothing."

"It is in the news I have to give you."

"What news?"

"Bapu — you have got the gift you have been fighting for. We are going to Quit India. You are now free."

Bapu took minutes to react. Then, his eyes streamed with tears. "Mira! Everyone! Come!"

The news spread through the 'ashram'. "We are free, we are free!"

Joyously, they burst in to the hymn, Vaishnava Janato.




Here's my Dad, about Mahatma Gandhi:
 Memories of Gandhiji  [ASR]
My Dad, on a personal meeting with Mahatma Gandhi, and on a prayer meet for Gandhiji
by Trickful Sonali Hey Halloween!


If you'd like to hear Bapu's favourite hymn:



On WDC's 21st Birthday, Kiya gave Sonali the BEST gift EVER!
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