Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Story of Birth

It was a hot day in May. The sun shone fiercely, blinding the Pearly Gates and all the inhabitants within with its dazzling brilliance. The angels and archangels and all the other sundry heavenly messengers flapped themselves with their wings to cool themselves. God was bored. He had answered all the prayers, performed all the necessary miracles, saved all the lost souls and was looking for ways to beat the heat. He looked down at the world, scanned it west to east, and found nothing peculiarly interesting or extraordinarily unordinary. Suddenly His attention was caught by a small family of four. The father was posted in a remote village and had taken his wife and two children with him. The wife was young and homesick, having travelled so far away from her mother and siblings, whose welfare she constantly worried about. The children, aged four and two, were too young and too preoccupied with making friends and discovering the place to worry about anything else. Looking at the mother, God understood her loneliness and the empty days she tried to fill with housework and other trivial stuff. He decided to give her another child."This is the perfect way to spend the summer, a project I always enjoy."

To the archangel Michael He said: You are my most trusted deputy, so you will protect this baby and see to it that no harm comes to it or its mother. You will bestow upon it all the powers that it can possibly possess, be it mental or physical or emotional powers.

To Gabriel He said: You will give this baby the ability to love, teach it tolerance and gratitude.

To Jophiel He said: Illuminate this little one with wisdom and perception.

To Raphael He said: Teach this child how to heal itself, how to be truthful, devoted to the right things and most importantly, how to be peaceful.

Everyone had questions.
Michael: Lord, is it going to be a boy or a girl?
Gabriel: Will it be special, gifted, or just a normal child?
Jophiel: Will it be beautiful, ugly, or ordinary?
Raphael: Will it be loved?

But it is the Lord's prerogative not to let anyone know His plans, so all these questions were answered with: You will know when it is time to know.

May went by in a steamrolling wave of heat and humidity. June was dry and never ending, although by the second half of the month the days had become a bit shorter.

The Lord summoned Michael and asked him, “Michael, how are we progressing with the baby project?”

Michael replied,” Lord, there is famine in Africa, tension between India and China, and America is as hopeless as ever. I just don’t have the time to think about a baby right now.”
So be it, said the Lord.

July heralded the monsoons in some part of the world, and summer had just begun in others, while for some it was the middle of winter. By the time August rolled around, flood and intense heat had already disrupted the normal flow of life. People were homeless, starving, and dying of unmentionable diseases. The angel Gabriel was too preoccupied he couldn’t find time for our family of four. He looked at them, saw that they were fed, clothed and sheltered, and then turned his attention to the less fortunate families.

The Lord was happy with his good work.

September found Jophiel visiting the North Pole to check on Santa Claus, handing him a long list of gifts for every child in the world. The factories had to be inspected, the working conditions of the elves, the quality of gifts manufactured, the health of the reindeers, the mechanics of the sleighs, and a thousand other little things kept Jophiel busy well into October.

It was winter, and our little family had just moved to the city, the father having been transferred there. They were lucky enough to find a house just adjacent to an aunt’s house. Things were fine.

When November announced its arrival with snow and biting cold, it also announced the beginning of the busiest time of the year at the heavenly abode. Raphael was extra busy that year. A huge percentage of the elves had suddenly quit the job and migrated to the South Pole without giving any notice. With Christmas looming near and the workload piling up, replacements had to be found quickly and without delay. The remaining elves had gone on strike, demanding less working hours with an increase in pay. On top of which Santa had decided to retire and a replacement had to be found who would be willing to join as soon as Christmas got over. There were interviews to be conducted, trainings to be arranged, meetings held with the Elves Union, and there was also the farewell party for Santa. Raphael barely got any sleep, having to work around the clock, rushing here and there, while the mail from children kept pouring in, asking for toys and gifts and other things.

By some miracle the angels were able to get through the Christmas season without any major mishaps, disasters or unfortunate incidents. When January made its appearance a huge sigh of relief came from the heavens. Things were back to normal, well, almost normal. The baby project was still pending.

The Lord summoned his four deputies.
“Angels,” He said, “It’s been seven months since we started the baby project, and we haven’t made much progress. In another two months from now it will be time for it to be delivered to its parents, who are eagerly waiting for its arrival. Don’t you think it’s about time we started tightening our wings and devote all our time and energy on making this baby the perfect baby it should be?"

So the angels got to work, with extreme dedication and concern. In a flash, January was over.

February of that year was uncharacteristically dry. There was water shortage everywhere, and our little family suffered greatly. Water had to be fetched from the well which was quite far, and it was only with the help of neighbours and relatives that our family was able to survive. They were grateful to the Lord for His help and support.

On the last week of February, the mother experienced some labour pains. A taxi was summoned, and a mad dash to the hospital was made. Once at the hospital, the pains stopped, the doctors pronounced it as a false alarm, and they were sent home.

The next week was spent in a state of edgy expectation and nervousness. Every upset stomach was examined and closely observed, every abnormal pain scrutinized lest it be another false alarm. On Saturday morning the mother was hit by a fresh wave of pain, and another dash to the hospital was duly executed. The doctor examined her and announced it was the real thing, that the baby was coming any minute. The minutes became hours, and the mother bravely endured every contraction, every jolt of pain, patiently waiting for her baby to arrive.

The next day, on a beautiful Sunday morning, the baby was born.The angels peered down from the heavens and looked at the proud mother with the baby.
Michael said: It’s a girl!!
Gabriel smiled and said: She’s special!!
Jophiel sang: And beautiful!!
Raphael was pleased: She will be greatly loved!!

And so I was born.

The angels crowded around the Lord, awestruck and fascinated, humbled by the knowledge that He works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.

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