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Archive for October 10th, 2018

Chapter-1

A Happy Family

A happy family is like a watch. You look at a watch and what does it tell you? It tells time of course. Similarly look at a happy family. Does it not tell you something?
This is the story of such a happy family.
You see that huge figure in working clothes walking in easy stride? There he turns to walk through the path shaded by trees. The figure is none other than Father Adonai.
All that land you see out there belongs to him. There are orchards for fruit trees, acres and acres of land for different sort of crops and fields for grazing. He owns forestlands and lakes filled with fishes that swim therein. He is keeping them safe so one day he may give it all to his children.
He is the head of a happy family.
As a father to his children, so are his field hands to him. See how field hands salute him with easy familiarity? He is happy with them. There are thousands of them working at any part of this land. From one end to the other his land sweeps your eye to the horizon. You can walk for miles and see the horizon still stays somewhere in middle of his demesne. And didn’t you notice how green are his fields? A sea of emerald green swaying in wind does need constant care. He knows his field hands work hard and he is happy with them.

He as the landlord sets an example. He takes no chance with his land. He is out there in all kinds of weather to see his land yield its best. In order to achieve this he knows how important are those who work there. He daily keeps himself out in the open and puts himself in their midst. He takes care of all that happens in his land. It is as vast as its yield is awesome. Its wealth in a way shows he has set a good example.
His wealth has been created because of his care for his land and people.
See now how cheerful he is?
The master is cheerful since he has done with his task for the morning. As he walks under the shade he is happy because he knows he has a home to go to. No sooner than he has done the morning’s work he turns towards his home.
Come rain or sunshine he goes home around noon. Like the minute hand of a watch he walks in one direction along the shaded path. It leads him to his home. His home is where he has reared his two sons. He smiles at the thought. Only as happy and a proud father can.
He cheerfully waves to some tenants who wait at a distance. They are smallholders. They work on some parcel of land belonging to him. Each year the Lord of Sans-Souci sets how much each tenant should give him. It is his land and whatever he says they are willing to abide by. So Father Adonai can always speak easily with them. But that noon he smiles but waves them away indicating that he has no time at that moment.
Everyone in Sans-Souci knows the rule. The Lord is not to be troubled while he has lunch with his children. Lunch is always a family occasion. It is the only time when he sat down with his dear sons and heard them talk. During lunch they may talk over anything. Anything under the sun they shall speak warmed by the warmth of their father. The field hands know that for sure. So do the smallholders who are sorry they didn’t come to meet him when he had time for them.
Father Adonai cannot wait to go in and he turns the corner where that plane tree stands. See how he freezes? There he sees something that makes him feel hot and cold by turns. And doesn’t that face take on some frightful aspect? Come closer and I shall let you into a secret.
Every happy family has it. The secret is what makes a family special, and it must be treated as such by all members of the family. Whatever is their secret causes him double as if in pain; and anger such as only a father can feel.
Don’t expect me to reveal all. (No one can feel interest in all the twists and turns of a family secret as the members themselves.) I shall therefore have to use my utmost discretion. On that condition follow me; we are intruding into a family drama.
There the Lord of Sans-Souci strides into his mansion.
Isn’t it strange to see a man who is one moment so light hearted and on the next thrown into a black mood? Yes. There must be a mystery, you will agree. In order to clear the air I must tell you what went before.
2.
Yes, the only thing Adonai loved above his land was his family. Having lost his wife so early he had none to love but his two sons. Nimrud was the older boy and Josh the younger. Their education was in the hands of a clutch of tutors who taught things dear to the heart of the master and lord of Sans-Souci. As a result the sons knew the world outside was of no consequence for their wellbeing.
In addition to their tutors Father Adonai also taught them many things himself. These practical lessons were taught whenever he took them for rides. More often as they grew older. How lovingly he told them of what he intended to give them! Whatever they looked at belonged to them. Who would not be impressed? He stopped every now and then, to show different soils that underpinned the wealth of Sans-Souci. He would explain how each helped to cultivate a certain crop better than the other. “The trick is in understanding the soil and making it yield a bumper crop.” Such visits helped them learn of the secret of their enormous wealth.
Another time the father took them through the fields and showed the channels he had cut extensively so every part of his ground could benefit. His irrigation systems worked well, he said. He then took them where he had built large reservoirs to hold water from a distant river. “ So the river flows straight into our tanks?” Josh was beginning to understand a little more clearly. Another time passing along a chain of hills he wanted to know if the hills also belonged to them. Father Adonai shook himself with laughter, ”Of course we own them.” Master Josh was only twelve and he was beginning to ask questions. It pleased him greatly. He showed promise.
Next day during the lunch he asked his father, ”Papa did we plant the hills?” ”No silly!” retorted Nimrud and explained, ”Papa got them along with the land. Am I not correct Papa?” Father Adonai nodded and asked them to eat what was set on their plates.” You ought to thank you get a full plate anytime.” The children bowed their heads in reverence to him. ”Yes Papa. There is no denying.” He said kindly that they should enjoy all the bounty that was given without let-up. Nimrud nudged his younger brother to tell him,” your secret is safe with me. Only that you should not disappoint our dear father.” Their father raised his eyebrows to holler, ”Secret eh?” He asked with his forefinger wagging, ”Come, there is a dear son and between us no secrets!” Nimrud nudged his sibling to come clean and he said, ”Papa I called on Ole’ Lazarus, this morning.”
“That lazy goose,” cried the father, ”you see how wretched his condition is? Only he is to blame for his misery!” Josh fell silent and Nimrud looked at his father helplessly, ”Josh can be sometimes a bit annoying. Father just give him time.” Father softly urged his younger son to perk up and finish his plate. Josh said he couldn’t eat thinking there were such misery around. “Between him and you. Why such a difference, I wonder?”
Father Adonai was about to speak. Nimrud was sure it served him right. “To go gallivanting around places that one was sure to get lost.”
”I only wandered within the walls of Sans-Souci!” he defended himself. “ I am surprised, Josh!” Nimrud perorated with gestures suitable to the high-mindedness he always displayed. Even Father Adonai thought it was uncalled for. “Nimrud, interrupting me before I am finished is rude.” He heard them and nodded his head as though they might make up their differences and both did.
Quickly they were chattering away as though nothing had happened. ‘Children are so resilient,’ he mused happily.
They often argued between themselves. They also made up as often.
Father Adonai was also used to their curiosity. Often they peppered him with questions and it did not make him feel irritated. Instead he felt buoyant. He had two children who used their heads. He was certain of one thing. They were completely different- as opposite as black was from white.
Nimrud when he became fourteen knew how he wanted to please his father. On that day after opening the presents he got from all he hugged his father and said, ”Your work takes too much effort from you. Oh father I intend to make it all ‘very scientific.”
“Being very scientific and all that is fine.” Adonai wanted to know how it helped him. Nimrud answered,” I shall make every field hand work double time. Twice as much yield it will give you. I assure you it would be scientific.” “Good.” Father Adonai laughed heartily and he felt happy.
Days passed.
One noon while the father came for lunch Nimrud came running to him to whisper, ”Tomorrow is Josh’s birthday. You haven’t forgotten it. Have you, Papa?” Hugging him he shook his head. “We will surprise him tomorrow,” he whispered into his son’s ears. Joshua his younger son meanwhile came into the house leading a friend of his. Nimrud could see it from where he was. Hurriedly he left his father.
Josh did not know what was the matter. His brother stood there red all over. Oh boy was he angry! Nimrud having come in a fluster roughly pulled him aside and said how cross he was with him. He then blurted out, ”You are a silly brat. Don’t you know how papa is particular about lunch?” Knowing they were alone he explained it was the only time the three had an intimate moment to chat and catch up with family matters. He also said he had no business to bring Gabby to lunch. ‘You could be thoughtless,- so stupid to deserve a knock on the head.”
Josh answered it was all right but he didn’t understand why Gabriel could not be with him. “He is my best friend. And Papa wouldn’t mind. I am sure.” He was ready to vouch for his good behaviour. Having failed to smoothen his brother’s temper Josh took the matter directly with his father who assured him that he didn’t mind it all.
In fact he was happy that Josh had his heart in the right place. Gabby wasn’t one whom Nimrud would have ever kept as a companion. He was the son of a tenant farmer. Nimrud especially disliked him because his father did not do as he was told. Whoever upset his father was no friend of his. Nimrud thought his father was entirely in the right to send off one who failed to pay his dues often. Nimrud didn’t think much of his son.
Father Adonai saw his older son was particular of whom he chose as friends. ‘Only those who were in similar circumstances as he’ as he once explained to his father, ’so I bring reverence to your name and position.’ But Joshua was so different in his outlook. He looked at Gabriel and cared for him not because of his father. He let his father to deal with his own. His friend treated him like a friend and nothing more he needed to know. And as for title and honor, he treated them as trifles. Lord Adonai couldn’t understand why. But he had a tender and warm heart that satisfied his father. “Let him,” muttered the Lord of Sans-Souci,” and learn from experience.”

(To be Cont’d)

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