Spinner of Yarns
The grandpa was adept at spinning a yarn. The moment he entered his bed we would promptly surround him; one of us would start rubbing his feet, other two would massage his arms and hands. He would, sometimes, make one of us walk lightly on his back before he would start telling a story.
‘Grandpa, now tell us what happened when you went with your English boss on his yacht. Yesterday you said that it was an exciting adventure. ’
‘My boss was as big as a yeti….’
‘What’s a yeti?’ My brother was always asking stupid question.
‘Yeti is a snowman, big and powerful. When I went to Tibet in …….’
‘Grandpa, tell us about your trip on the yacht,’ my sister disliked digressions.
‘Yes, our yacht was moving at a leisurely pace; we our enjoying our trip. Out of nowhere a small ship came rushing towards us. A man, who looked like a Yehudi*, was standing on the deck of that ship. He was yelling loudly, “Please help me, the ghosts have taken over my ship”.
‘Suddenly someone appeared behind the Yehudi and yanked him below the deck. I quickly looked through my binoculars; I saw the ghost and what a scary ghost it was.’
‘What did he look like?’ it was the brother with his next question.
‘He had very large red eyes on a queer yellow face. He was very tall and very thin.’
‘How can a ghost….’
‘Stop yapping and let us hear the story,’ I shouted at my brother.
‘Bad manners; let him ask as many questions he wants to ask. He is still a little kid,’ grandpa admonished me and yet he went on with his story.
‘The English man was big and powerful but he was a coward. In fact he was a sad, unhappy man; the poor fellow had been yearning to go back to England but the company would not let him go. He was a great engineer. That year we were completing a project in Dunga river valley.……’
‘What happened on the ship?’ my sister intervened, a bit rudely. Grandpa never felt offended at her rudeness. But we boys could never dare to talk to him like that.
‘Yes, yes, we had no weapons with us. I looked around and found a yardstick. I thought I could use it like a sword. As a young boy I had fought and won many battles with tough boys using just my foot ruler.
‘The ship was almost touching our yacht. In those day I was a reckless man. Like a fool I jumped on that ship. I shouted and waved the yardstick as if it was a sword. But the ghost on the deck did not get scared. Soon other ghosts appeared on the deck and they all surrounded me.
‘There were five or six ghosts. Every one of them was ready to pounce on me; but the next moment they were all on their knees, begging for mercy.’
‘How did it happen? How did you frighten them?’ my brother asked.
‘I had acted bravely; I had threatened them; I had waved the yardstick at them. But I will admit I was very scared. I knew that I was in a horrifying situation. I knew that only my Guruº could save me. I silently prayed to my Guru…..’
‘You have a Guru?’ I asked incredulously.
‘Did I never tell you about my Guru? The year your father was born I had gone to Himalayas with a friend and there I met a great yogiª. He………...’
‘Grandpa, why did ghosts beg for mercy?’ sister asked sharply.
‘My boy, we will talk about the Himalayan yogi some other day. Now when I prayed to my Guru, he immediately appeared on the ship. I did not see him but the ghosts had seen him and they were all terrified of his yogic powers. Soon, I too felt my Guru’s presence and I knew that I had nothing to fear; I shouted at the ghosts, “Go back from where you came, you scoundrels.” And in a jiffy they all vanished.’
‘Why were they terrified of your Guru?’ asked my sister.
‘That’s a secret I can’t tell; my Guru’s order. But my boss, the Englishman, he was very happy….he had not seen my Guru.…. he thought that it was me…...who had scared away the ghosts………..….….he was impressed by my bravery and…………and recommended my name for…….for…….’
‘For what?’ we all spoke in one voice.
In reply we only heard grandpa’s loud snore.
*Yehudi - Jew
ª Yogi- one who has mastered yoga
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