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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ever Lasting Joy!

Today is Nelson Mandela International Day. Every year on July 18, the day Nelson Mandela was born, the UN observes the day in recognition of Nelson Mandela's values and his dedication to the service of humanity. Even if you have made a difference in one person's life, you truly have followed the following quote from Nelson Mandela:
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”
You have practiced in life what Audrey Hepburn said on growing older:
“As you grow older you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, other for helping others.”
Your one inspiring act sets an example for others. You cannot imagine how grateful this person must be for getting your timely help. And how equally happy you must have been to have helped him. Even one good deed done by us gives us so much joy. We have experienced such a joy with just one small help my wife gave to a little girl:

As Principal of a government school, my wife Inderjeet had been allotted official accommodation to which we had shifted recently. She observed that every day when she returned from work in the afternoon, a small girl started to cry from her window next door. She would wave to her smilingly to make her happy, but that did not help. When she saw that it had become a daily routine, she became curious and could not resist knocking at the neighbor's door. An elderly lady opened the door. She was the grandma of the girl, who would tie her leg to the bed so that the girl did not bother her while she was cooking. The girl's mother was a working woman who returned from work in the evening. Inderjeet offered to take her to our place and keep her there till the grandma was free from her kitchen work. The grandma was only too happy to accept the offer. Since that day, Sapna, the little girl, was our daily guest. Inderjeet would pick her up on her way back from work and keep her till her mother came back from work. It continued for days, months and years when Sapna had long passed the age when she needed to be tied to bed by her grandma. Inderjeet helped her get admission in the best school in the area, and she would still spend most of her after school time at our place. Now seven years old, Sapna had become an inseparable part of our family, till fate separated her and pulled her back to the period when as a cute toddler she would cry for Inderjeet's help to attain her freedom.

The year was 1984. Prime Minister Indra Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards belonging to the Sikh community. Fanatics amongst her followers avenged the assassination by killing thousands of Sikhs on the streets of Delhi. It was the most horrible happening in the history of Delhi. Life in Delhi limped back to normalcy in a couple of weeks, but deteriorated for our little guest from the next door. Sapna's parents stopped her from coming to our house because of Inderjeet's Sikh connection. They were scared that the Sikhs would now take revenge by killing the Hindus, and since Inderjeet was from a Sikh family, it was risky to leave Sapna with her when she was alone as she might also avenge the killings of her community by harming her. They also tried to brainwash their daughter into believing that it was no longer safe to go to our house or even meet or greet Inderjeet. The innocent seven year old girl did not get even a bit of what all they were talking about. This made Sapna sick, sick of her parents for preventing her to go to her dearest aunty's house, and physically sick too. Her condition kept on worsening and the doctor was worried and puzzled as no pills or injections were working on Sapna. We came to know about it from the doctor who lived in our neighborhood and knew about the bond Sapna had developed with Inderjeet during the last few years. On her advice, Inderjeet immediately went to see Sapna, in spite of her parents' strong objections. On hearing her voice, Sapna opened her eyes and greeted her with a broad smile. It was like a miracle. Her speedy recovery thereafter surprised the doctor. Her parents apologized and sought our forgiveness for the sake of Sapna's health.
Our little guest was once again a regular feature in our family – the source of everlasting joy in our life.


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