It was a chilly morning, the winter sunshine locked in battle with threatening clouds that were adamant on making the sky overcast. So apart from being chilly, it was also dull and grey.
When Ram Lakhan Singh came out of his tiny city apartment in Lucknow to wash his scooter, he glanced up at the sky but his mind was on other things. The children had to be dropped to school, but after hearing yesterday’s loudspeakers blaring near the city centre as he returned home, Ram felt uneasy. Would sending the children to school that day be safe? He decided against it. These were crazy times. Those people at the city centre had been in a frenzy, shouting for blood. But Ram was perplexed and confused ? Why would they want blood to build a glorious temple for Lord Ram at Ayodhya ?

These thoughts in mind, Ram set off to work, full in belly and having bid good bye to Girija his wife and the children. But all the time as he drove his scooter, his thoughts were on those crazed men on the loudspeakers of the evening before and his sense of unease grew. What were they trying to achieve, talking of blood, revenge and the Lord in the same breath?

Rounding a bend, Ram , lot in these uneasy thoughts was knocked off the scooter by a jeep coming from the opposite direction and lay sprawling across the road in blinding pain until he was rushed to hospital by people standing by. Drifting between the conscious and wakeful state, he saw the faces of his anxious children and dear wife who looked ashen and pale. Reassuring them with a faint smile, he was keen that they all stay close to him.

The next two days were painful for Ram. He could see the grief and fear in the faces of his loved ones who were praying for his recovery. But somehow he knew that life was slipping, that he would not live. Gathering his children to his chest, he experienced a sharp twinge of unease. And loneliness. What do I leave behind? What has life in store for them? Is there going to be as much turmoil and bloodshed?

Even at this moment when death seemed to be calling, his thoughts of the last few days refused to go away. His mind refused to give him freedom from them.
Two days later, when Ram died, he left behind a will. All his carefully accumulated worldly belongings he of course left to his wife and then children. But the will mentioned something else. Ram willed that both his kidneys should be donated. One each to a Muslim and Sikh.


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