Divinity in love

Our profession brought us together in the mid 50s. Iyer and I had joined the same steel plant and shared a room in the then Soviet Union as trainees, during which we found each other quite congenial. Later on we worked in the same zone for several years till he left our plant to head a different organisation at Bombay.

Life moved on for Iyers as per their chalked out blue print till their son, their only offspring, fell in love with a girl of a different caste and same gotra and married her as per civil law. Though their daughter-in-law (orphaned at a young age and totally self-made) was highly qualified, professionally well placed besides being endowed with an extremely sweet and amicable temperament, Iyers could not reconcile to this unexpected development. As their closest friend I nearly succeeded in convincing them that they have nothing to regret and have every reason to feel happy and proud.

Before the turbulence of the event settled down, cruel fate struck, completely destroying the fabric of goodwill the joint family was trying to build up. My friend’s wife got killed in a freak accident. To my horror, Iyer was somehow convinced by an inexplicable logic that his daughter-in-law’s stars were responsible for this calamity. Dejected, he detached himself from his son’s family, left his lucrative job and settled down alone taking a small house in a temple town down south. No amount of entreaties from the youngsters could change his mind and he withdrew from them cocooning himself in his warped convictions.
Years rolled by and despite my incessant efforts there appeared to be no change of heart in him. Strained and drained physically and mentally the old man fell ill and was bed-ridden, deserted by the so-called well-wishers who had actively incited his prejudice. On coming to know of this, the daughter-in-law took leave from her job, rushed to his place, took charge of the situation and nursed Iyer with filial love till he completely recovered!

A couple of months later I was pleasantly surprised by Iyer’s unexpected visit to me. He appeared to be a totally changed man. “What a blunder I have committed all these years!” he lamented with choked voice, tears flowing in profusion. “Who was I to question the act of God? What a fool I must have been to expect the mighty river of love to flow the way I desire? Look at my daughter-in-law and her divine magnanimity despite my hurting her! She has more God in her than I have in me! I have decided to join them!”
The fragile man-made barrier, which had separated them, had been shattered by the power of realisation that values of life and ultimate truth have nothing to do with caste, creed or gothras!

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