I have always been a bibliophile and have a big cupboard full of books collected over many years to show for it. I really don’t have the heart to dispose them or to give them away to some kindred soul.
Now as we are in the middle of the Corona epidemic with a massive lock down all over, I took to my books for relief and entertainment. Like a ravenous person eating with great relish any food that was accessible to him, I delved into my old collection of books savoring their musty smell, yellowing pages and dog eared corners.
As I kept flipping through the pages of my old paper backs and hardcovers, I got a treasure. A cherished book mark fell out of the pages of a book called Breaking Out by Padma Desai, almost as it was trying to break out of its confines of these long years.
It was a personalized book mark, made by my neighbour and friend, to honour her father after he died. She had given all of us this memento after his memorial service shortly after his death.It still looked good as new despite the intervening years.
The book mark had her father’s photograph, his date of birth and the day he died. On the other side were some profound lines from a hymn.
I was happy to have found the keep sake that reminded me of my friend’s father whom I used call ‘uncle’ with respect and love. I took a photograph of the book mark and sent it as a whats-app message to my friend, who lives in USA, with a cryptic message.
“Look, what I found!”
I knew she would be happy and surprised.
But her reaction was over whelming.
For the past few days she had been trying to recollect her dad’s favourite hymn. As it sometimes happens, the words were right there on the tip of her tongue but refused to come out. The tune kept reverberating in her mind and she had gone, la la la, the whole day long. Yet she could not hit on that song, evading her memory.
Even her sister could not recollect it. Neither could her husband.
When she had all but given up hope of remembering the hymn, it pops up on her phone as a message from me. It was an uncanny coincidence to be sure.
Now I read the words on the flip side of the book-mark with genuine interest.
It read, “God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…Courage to change the things I can…And Wisdom to know the difference.”
Thank you uncle, for reaching out to us.
From the beyond.
Image courtesy of Stuart Mile @FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net