By Nayanna Chakrbarty
It was a glorious day. Maneuvering the car every morning through the rush-hour traffic was a frustrating routine for many, but I enjoyed it. There were drivers who kept changing lanes and tried to nose in at the first gap between two cars. I gave way to such stressed commuters and used the time to eat muffins and catch up on the chart-topping music.
The morning sun glimmered, peeking through the lofty buildings. The rays danced on the reflective exterior of the large towers and bounced its radiance on my rear view mirror. Quickly, I adjusted the direction of the glare, and the light now added a sparkle to my gilded locket. It was a pendant of Lord Ganesh. He is the elephant-headed deity of the Hindus – the destroyer of obstacles and an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. I clasped the pendant in my fist and thought what had compelled me to wear it always.
A routine family vacation turned into a nightmare when our car collided head-on with a speeding truck. I regained my senses in a dingy room with the sound of moaning voices, further alarming my traumatic state of mind. The orange light from the twilight sky filtered through the cracks of broken window panes, and I recognized the voices of the victims – my family.
Millions of dreadful thoughts zoomed through my mind as I stood paralyzed, gazing at their limp bodies, drenched in blood.
“They will make it, don’t worry,” said a man, behind me.
“Where are we?”
“You’re 300 kilometers away from Mumbai (Bombay) city, in the outskirts of the district Ratnagiri. There are basic facilities here; you will have to call the city hospital.”
The sun slowly set, engulfing my cheerful, perfect world along with it. The ambulances from Mumbai would reach only in the morning. Trying hard to console my family, I managed to make small talk in an attempt to keep their spirits up. The feelings of despair and helplessness had almost crushed my desire to live on.
Finally, it was dawn. The sirens of the two ambulances broke the silence of the harrowing night.
“They have multiple fractures,” said a short, balding man who seemed to be in-charge.”
“Where is the other doctor who was here yesterday?” I asked.
“I’m the only doctor here.”
“Ah, there he is,” I said, pointing to the stranger as he walked in.
“He’s not a doctor. He and a few others brought you all here.”
The release papers were signed. My family was securely strapped in the ambulance, and we were ready to go.
“It’s a long way back to the city,” said the stranger, giving me cans of fruit juices. “You need to take care of yourself.”
“I…I cannot thank you enough.”
I was trying hard to hold back my tears.
“Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” He smiled.
As the ambulance doors were slowly closing, I asked between choked sobs, “May, I know your name please?”
Blaring horns jump started my reflexes, and I quickly gained speed to avoid further abuses from the impatient drivers. At work, after two meetings and a presentation, I finally made time to attend to my growling stomach. The cheery atmosphere of the cafeteria reminded me of my days back in college when I had enrolled to do my post graduation.
The volume of students was outnumbered by working professionals in the field of Advertising and only a handful was fresh out of college, including me. Their practical knowledge versus my notes from the lectures was no match. Burying myself in a pile of reference books daily, I had hoped to get my fundamentals straight. However, the subject was too vast, and I was running out of time. Feeling dejected, I sat staring blankly in space, at one corner of the library.
“You’re in advertising?” asked a young man, who sat at the next table.
In twenty minutes, he got me up to speed with the class and listed the books I needed to read. Life was never this exciting. Now my homework was graded the highest, and I became the most popular student.
One evening, as I was reading the notice boards, I saw the reflection of a familiar face on the glass panel. It was that helpful student whom I had met in the library.
“Hi!” I said, smiling. “Thanks for the pointers. You have no idea how much that helped me. I studied all the books you had marked.”
“I’m glad everything worked out,” he replied.
I was interested in continuing with the conversation when he looked at this watch.
“Excuse me, I have to attend a lecture.”
“Sure, hope to catch up with you soon. Could I know your name please?”
“I’m Ganesh,” he said, disappearing into a crowd of students.
My beeping cell phone brought me back to my nutritious lunch of steamed vegetables with tofu. I felt refreshed to tackle my workload again. A memo was forwarded that tomorrow there would be a group of new entrants whom I had to take around and handle their induction into the company.
It was not long ago that I had applied for my first job. Life in the corporate world seemed so rosy from the outside. Aesthetically designed work stations people dressed in immaculate attires and all functioning in team spirit. As a trainee, I enjoyed my induction process and was all set to implement my theoretical skills when the team leader gave me the job of photocopying, faxing documents and filing.
“This is how everyone learns,” she said.
Every morning, groomed in perfect, corporate apparel, carrying a briefcase, I marched to a closet called the filing room where I chatted with my new colleague – the fax machine – and shared coffee with the printer.
After a month, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“What did I do wrong? I have the perfect academic record, good references and I surely impressed the panel of interviewers, otherwise I wouldn’t have landed with a designation of Trainee – Public Relations. So why am I here?”
Frustrated and clueless, I succumbed to tears. Suddenly, I heard footsteps. Quickly, I punched the buttons of the fax machine, pretending to receive a message, and hid my face. I was sure that my tears had smudged the black eye liner, and the dripping mascara must have added an extra edge to create a gothic look against my fair complexion.
“Don’t worry, things will work out,” said a man, going through the cabinets behind before he left.
I managed to wipe my face and hurried to get a glimpse of the stranger.
“Jerry, who just left the room?” I asked a colleague seated at the nearby cubicle.
“Oh! That was G-man.”
“Yeah! Cool dude, huh? He is the art director here. You haven’t been introduced? Well, his name is Ganesh.”
Next morning, I was relocated to a cubicle and given to draft my first press release. G-man passed my work area, smiled, and I nodded in silent gratitude.
In times of crisis, a stranger always came along to guide and to lend his support, reassuring that the obstacles will pass. Each time, he called himself- Ganesh.
Could these be coincidences?
I have tried hard to analyze these occurrences, but have failed to derive a logical explanation. My instincts tell me that I am surrounded by Lord Ganesh’s divine powers. With that strong belief, I have been wearing this pendant for the last twenty-five years. It serves as a reminder that I am never alone and always watched diligently by a higher force.
Nayanna Chakrbarty Bio:
Nayanna Chakrbarty is an international creative writer, a Himalayan trekker, a mountain biker, a river rafting enthusiast and a world traveler. Her experience in all forms of writing has succeeded in capturing the hearts and minds of readers through her worldwide publications. Original writer, www.original-writer.com , a well-crafted website truly reflects her experience and creative nuances.
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