In Favour of the Mobile Phones
‘Don’t receive a call to your mobile if it’s from a 12-digit number; it’ll detonate and blast your instrument. You may even die.’
‘Believe me, I’ve seen a victim in hospital. Please don’t use mobile at all.’
Thus warned our well-wishers and stopped we using the ubiquitous wonderful instrument of communication, the mobile phones. But then the rumour was very quick to die, almost as quick as it took its sensational birth and grew in strength and ferocity raising the fear of death, the thanatophobia.
Well, you do not always need a mobile phone to invent a rumour. I am reminded of something that happened in 1994—or maybe in 1995—much before we actually heard a thing about the cute instrument. One day I was travelling from Hazaribag to Ranchi and, when I was passing by the outskirt of my destination town, I saw a crowd building up on the road. My driver was an experienced fellow and he knew exactly what to do: he just sped the car. In a matter of 20 minutes or so—or maybe half an hour—I was home. There I was greeted by a group, hotly discussing something animated. A flurry of activities had already seized them, the ladies full of imagination and willingness to enjoy varieties in life and living. This time I did not avoid the crowd, rather I felt the urge to go nearer. As I approached them, I was invited animatedly to witness the action, participate in the deliberation, to marvel at things unfolding and perhaps not to question anything…
‘Strange! You don’t know it---lord Ganesh is drinking milk?’
‘Where and how?’
‘At Delhi, at Mumbai…and at Ranchi even. We’re also trying but Lord is not taking it from our hand.’
‘So what can be done? And why is Lord not taking milk from you…if he is taking from others?’
‘Because we’re giving milk not to the real Lord Ganesh, but to his photograph, a glass-framed calendar Ganesh…maybe our milk is not pure but pasteurised, homogenised…maybe Lord Ganesh loves milk from cow, only cow’s milk…’
Finally came the last word, the word of wisdom.
‘Lord will take milk from persons who are pious. Others may try, but then it depends…if you’re pious.’
True, Lord takes the offering from the pious, like Lord Jagannath took the coconut from Dāsiā, the Bāuri(the backward caste). (Someday I’ll tell the legend for the benefit of my non-Oriya readers.) Not that the Lord only takes the offerings from the pious; he/she also reciprocates by giving something, physically and sincerely, like the Goddess Ganga gave the gold bangle to saint Raidās, the cobbler.
Then the question is who on earth is not a pious fellow? Now, everybody agreed Lord Ganesh drank (sipped?) milk from him/her. Like everybody saw the kings magic cloth. It only took a child’s courage to blurt out: ‘the king is without a cloth even.’
And all these things happened in India when mobile phones were not in fashion, not even heard of.
The moral is here to read and reflect:
The mobile phones are just so much innocent!
[[Glossory: Lord Ganesh=the presiding diety of knowledge and wisdom and success;
Goddess Ganga=the river Ganges considered holy with an important place in Hindu pantheon;
Saint Raidās=The Middle Age devotional saint, reformer, poet;
Dāsiā, the Bāuri=One of the great devotee of Lord Jagannath. The lord took his coconut offering personally and physically whereas he did not even shake from His seat when the priest offered the same to Him withholding the name of the giver, Dāsiā, the Bāuri.]]
A Story by
A. N. Nanda