=== Jai Shri Ram (Short Story) ===
Krishnayya welcomed Ramayya, and served him the readily prepared the hot Mint Pakora and Ginger Chai..
"No onion or masala.. also green chai is very light.. Please take it"
"You mean - Ram Mandir?"
"Yes - it is your dream. You sold all property for it.. You are living there all the time watching the construction.. You wished to complete it by Telugu new year.."
"I came to invite you personally for the Kumbabishekam.."
"Ramayya.. my dear Ramayya... I do Purushartha.. Human effort.. Work is my God.."
"Who are we without God? Don't have this ego.. It will destroy you!"
"Ramayya.. So late in the night.. Why we argue over a temple? I wish you all the best.. it is your dream!
You have nearly completed it.. Why force me to attend the inauguration? Did you build it for me?"
"I built Ram temple to serve the whole humanity.. All are welcome!"
"Wrong.. believers are welcome.. Read your Hinduism 101.."
"What is this Hinduism 101 business?"
"It means a primer course... As per Hinduism, only devout Hindus are permitted inside the sannadhi"
"Krishnayya.. I have gone through a lot in my life.. I gave up my business.."
"Ramayya.. I know the tragedy in our family.. You were so successful in business. Then you were not doing this religious work.. After you lost... " Krishnayya stopped.. "Sorry, I don't want to remind you.."
Ramayya shed tears and he was sobbing..
Krishnayya apologied.. "Ramayya, my brother, I am so sorry.." He brought water..
Ramayya took the water slowly, and he was reflecting.. After the ship tragedy, he quit all his business, donated all his savings for the temple funds, and his only dream in life was to build the Ram temple and spend time in religion as per his kids & wife's wish... They were not with him now...
Ramayya enquired, "Your sons and daughters in USA.. Did you invite them about the Kumbabishekam?"
"I informed them about the Kumbabishekam.. Let them decide.. It is a free world.. I don't stop them going to temples.. In fact, they are regular visitors to Dallas Hanuman Temple.."
"How sweet of them!! Let me call Lakshmi, Shyam and also your wife, Dharma.."
"Oh - don't bother.. Dharmavathi is likely to come.. Not sure if Lakshmi and Shyam will come.."
"Hey Thammudu.. You have named kids after God's names only.. So much about your atheism"
"Anna garu.. I am not an atheist at all.. I just don't go to temples"
"Do you follow Buddhism?"
"I believe in Truth.. that's all.. I don't wish to go by any tag.."
"I shall be glad if you attend the Kumbabishekam.. It is my last wish. I don't know how long I will live.."
Krishnayya got stumbled.. He did not know what to say.. To go with his free will or to respect his brother's wish.. His family would insist he accompanies them.. But it is against his free will not to go blindly by what others say or instruct..
Ramayya smiled.. "I know you would come.. Please discuss with your family.. I respect you also.. I won't force you.. Come on your free will.."
Seconds passed into minutes.. Minutes passed into hours.. Hours passed into days..Days passed into weeks.. Finally, the day of Kumbabishekam came at Nellore village.. Ramayya was so excited.. He had a group of youngsters helping him for all week along..
राम रामेति रामेति रमे रामे मनोरमे ।
सहस्रनाम तत्तुल्यं रामनाम वरानने ॥
"Will he come or not?" He did not wish to call him.. Krishnayya's family from Dallas, USA came several days ago, but they politely said they had not heard plans of Krishnayya and they did not dare to ask him about it as well.
Subha Muhurtha time came.. Krishnayya entered the temple in traditional dress.. White dhoti, white shirt and when vibhuti, sandal and kumkum was offered to him, he accepted them as well.. Ramayya got tears in his eyes, and thanked Lord Ram for the same..
Kumbabishekam got over very well, and Ramayya was mentally dancing in ecstasy.. It was as if all pain in his life was over and the mission of his life got over as well.. He was chanting, "Ram, Ram, Jai Shri Ram.." with great devotion and speed.
Krishnayya who was standing at a very tall position to watch the Kumbabishekam slipped.. Suddenly out of nowhere, one tall security saved him by holding him strongly.. Ramayya prayed to Ram again and signed to check if Krishnayya was safe. Security who was wearing a big tilak on his head assured him Krishnayya was OK and that he would hold his hand as well.
Finally they all climbed down and accepted the prasad.. The time came for Krishnayya's family to depart from the Ram temple.. Nobody asked Krishnayya why he changed his position and whether he came by his free will.. Ramayya did not press on it as well.. he noticed also for the first time in his life Krishnayya showing some "devotion" by his actions, and not by external signs like vibhuti. The near-death accident brought a change to Krishnayya and no idea to village people who was that security and why he disappeared after Kumbabishekam. People remembered him as a very tall and well-built person, that's all.
Krishnayya said "Good bye" to his brother, Ramayya.. Krishnayya's family invited Ramayya to visit their family in USA.. Ramayya smiled and blessed them.. Krishnayya was about to leave the Ram temple, but turned.. He said, "I shall be back!"
[A story by Bhava..]