Authors: Dr. Runjhun Saxena Subhanand
The Secret of the Chalisa (Fiction)
© 2016 Runjhun Saxena
All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author
First Edition (Aug 2016)
Published by-Literati books (a subsidiary of Sooraj Pocket Books), Thane, Maharashtra
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used ficitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
To my son,
To my mentor,
Dr. Daisaku Ikeda
This novel is about the greatness of a guru, and so I begin my acknowledgements with thanking my Gurus in life, my mentor, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda whose teachings have given me a new life. I would also like to thank Dr. Ramgiri Braun, whose amazing explanation of Hanuman Chalisa inspired me to write this novel.
They say that post delivery a woman gets a second life. The delivery of my son, gave me a second life too and a much beautiful one. Not only did he give me the chance of experiencing motherhood, but also rekindled the passion of writing in me. This novel was my maiden attempt at novel writing, my previous one being short stories. So, I submitted it to the most staunch and experienced critics and reviewers, my husband, Mr. Anadi Subhanand and my friend, Mrs. Arpita Sinha. With their deep insight they were able to mould this novel into a better version. I extend my heart filled thanks to them. Special thanks to my sister, Ms. Deepali Saxena for editing my novel. Thanks to my parents for their support and raising me as a capable woman.
Last but not the least; I would like to thank the Almighty, whose presence made this novel happen.
About the author
Dr. Runjhun Saxena Subhanand, is an M.D.S. in Oral Medicine and Radiology and works in the field of Pharmacovigilance. She is the author of short story, Ram, Where are you? published as an e-book. She has also won the Silver medal in the prestigious Shankar’s International Children’s Competition twice during her school days. She also has interest in reading, painting, art and craft works, photography and sitar. She has a blog, https://runjhunwordpresscom.wordpress.com/
The ICU was dimly lit with a soothing silence providing comfort to the patient who laid there. The beep of the heart beat ringing in the monitor filled the room with a rhythmic sound.
Dr. Anjana was a renowned researcher, an accomplished professor and an intellectual guide. As the head of the department of a famous Ayurveda college she had many original research papers to her credit. It was known in the department that she was working on a breakthrough research which would change the history of medicine.
But today the doctor lay on bed like a patient, helpless, who had barely survived a cardiac arrest.
“How are you feeling doctor?”
“So you came,” said Anjana in a feeble voice from behind the ventilator slowly opening her eyes. “I was expecting you”.
“You know you were given excess dose of celecoxib? I’m sure you must have guessed when you had your sudden heart attack”.
“Yes, I knew. The moment I had that cup of coffee I knew,” said Anjana with a deep sigh. “I also knew that you would come!” a faint smile emerged on her face. “But I’ve passed it and very soon it will be discovered.”
“Do you believe in it?”
“Yes, I do,” replied Anjana.
“Who will discover it?”
“The one who is destined for it. You’ve come. It will happen soon now,” answered Anjana. “All these years the answer was right in front of me. What the mind does not know, the eyes cannot see! I failed to notice it in the beginning. But soon everyone will come to know about it and see it with their eyes.”
Suddenly the room was lit with a radiant white light. A light which seemed to fill the entire room with hope and warmth. A light which pervades through the spirit and provides an eternal peace. It was so bright that every nook and corner of the ICU was filled with its glow. It was so radiant that nothing could be seen in its brightness. It encompassed in itself love which can melt any stone to bread, any ice to water and any human to its divine spirit.
From such radiance emerged the most divine face Anjana had ever seen. Fair, serene, calm adorned with a shining gold crown encircled with a golden aura. Broad forehead, big ears, soothing eyes, sharp nose and a primate like red mouth. He bore the most beautiful smile ever and held on his shoulder a huge golden mace adorned with precious gems.
“I knew you would come, Oh, You Omnipotent Lord Hanuman!” mumbled Anjana.
There was a sudden increase in the rhythmic heart beat which gradually became irregular.
And then there was a deep long, never ending beep which signified the end of a beating heart.
“Nurse, nurse!” shouted Dr. Vikram, a colleague of Dr. Anjana, as he emerged out in a panic from the ICU. A group of on duty nurse and doctors rushed to the ICU.
“I don’t know what happened. She, she just….. She just mumbled something and then…. Oh God!” cried Vikram almost catching his breath.
“Hurry, get me the defibrillator!” shouted one of the doctors.
“One, two, three, clear….” And he gave the first paddle followed by a second and then a third. But everyone knew it was late. Anjana had already left for her heavenly abode.
The doctors came out of the room. “We’re sorry. We couldn’t save her,” said one of the doctors to Anjana's family waiting outside. “What was she saying to you Dr Vikram?” he asked.
“Yes what were her last words? What did you speak to her that suddenly killed her,” asked the frantic Anjana's son, Suresh.
“I swear to God, I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t hear anything clearly. All I could make out was the verse from Hanuman Chalisa:
Anth kaal Raghuvir pur jayee
Jahan janam Hari-Bakht Kahayee.”
If at the time of death one enters the Divine Abode of Shri Ram, thereafter in all
future births he is born as the Lord's devotee
Shri Guru Charan Saroj Raj Nij mane mukure sudhar
Varnao Raghuvar Vimal Jasu Jo dayaku phal char
After cleansing the mirror of my mind with the pollen dust of holy Guru's Lotus feet. I Profess the pure, untainted glory of Shri Raghuvar which bestows the four-fold fruits of life.(Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha).
“Get up you sleepyhead,” screamed Ravi shaking his roommate Sanjeev early in the morning. “Get up fast.”
“What happened? Whole night I was working on my thesis and you want me to get up early. Have some pity on me,” replied Sanjeev rubbing his eyes.
“It’s not the time to sleep. When you’ll hear this news your sleep will be lost forever,” cried Ravi.
“Now what? Another of your David and Goliath story?” said Sanjeev.
“You dumb head, your guide expired. She had a massive heart attack yesterday. Last night she was declared dead,” said Ravi.
The moment the truth struck Sanjeev, his mind went numb. “Oh My God!” he replied aghast and shocked with the news. “Are you serious?” he inquired trying to grasp his shattering world.
“Yes, everyone from your department is going to her house. They are going to cremate her in sometime,” replied Ravi.“I got a call from the Editor-in-Chief of my newspaper. He wants me to cover the story.”
“Oh crap! I’ll have to run to her house,” Sanjeev replied gathering his clothes and shoes.
Dr. Sanjeev Tripathi was five feet eleven inches tall slender young man, with a square-shaped face matching his physique. His broad forehead and deep set eyes, gave him an intellectual look and the unkept beard and moustache showed how engrossed he was in his final thesis preparation.
Seeing Sanjeev panic, Ravi decided he would not leave him alone then. Ten years long friendship had made them brothers more than friends.
After school when Sanjeev decided to pursue his graduation in Ayurveda medicine, Ravi decided to continue his career in Bachelor of Arts and become a journalist one day. They both have been through thick and thin of their lives with each other. Though Ravi was the exact opposite of Sanjeev in both looks and intelligence, they still gelled together well. Ravi was short in stature as compared to Sanjeev and had a tendency of putting on weight. He had a round face with curly hair falling across his forehead. He was mischievous in nature but when it came to snooping around to gather information, no one could beat him. It was this interest of his, which provoked him to become a journalist.
When they decided to go for further education after elementary school, they had to leave their small hometown of Paudi and come to Dehradun. They had rented a small room which they shared together. Being from an average class family, they worked part-time to support their studies. They had been through hardships of life together, so when today Sanjeev was panic-stricken, Ravi could not leave him alone.
“I’ll come with you don’t worry,” said Ravi and got ready
Sanjeev and Ravi left for Anjana’s house in the cold winter morning of Dehradun. The beautiful hills and the cold weather were normally a tourist destination for many people, but today the coldness was bleak and gloomy. Sanjeev drove his bike as fast as he could on the hilly roads. The sun was unable to shed its light and the chilly wind and fog was making driving difficult. Sanjeev's mind was clouded. He could still not come to terms with news about his guide. Not only did he feel sorry for the loss of such a great person, but also he was scared about his incomplete thesis. His PhD had already extended to five years due to intensive research. This was the last thing he expected. Will his thesis remain incomplete? Will he be able to complete his PhD? What if he had to redo the entire thesis? Despite the warm clothing he wore, he felt a chill wave running through his spine and he shuddered at the thought.
He knew his guide was unwell, but that was common with increasing age. She had those usual old age lifestyle diseases which she was taking care of. However, he never thought that something serious like a cardiac arrest could happen and that too so unexpectedly. The day before she was an eminent speaker at the national conference where she had presented her latest research work. Both Sanjeev and Anjana had been working on that medicinal component since five years which was showing immense promise. That was Sanjeev's doctoral work and Anjana’s yet another scientific breakthrough.
However, Anjana’s death had turned the situation upside down. Not only was the thesis incomplete, but also scientific research halted midway. Five years of hard work and toil was going down the drain. However, Sanjeev was concerned about his doctoral degree and how he would complete it.
Immersed in his thoughts Sanjeev reached Anjana’s house. The house was an old bungalow situated on the slope with a huge garden on the hilly road. The garden was covered with green grass coated with dew drops. The stony parking way led to the main door of the house. The bungalow on one side was covered with low and high creepers hanging from the roof. The front of the bungalow was painted in red and white just as the British had left it. The huge wooden doors and windows added to the uniqueness of the place.
“I’ll wait for you outside,” Ravi said as he disembarked from the bike outside the house.
This house today was a gathering of Anjana’s wellwishers, acquaintances and family members. Dressed in white, there was an unusual silence which blended with the cold weather of the place. Sanjeev steeped into the house where Anjana laid on the ground in divine silence. Covered in all white she had a peaceful smile on her face as if she lay in the arms of her Creator. She was surrounded by her family members who were sobbing at the loss of a humble soul.
Sanjeev's eyes were also filled with tears; after all he had lost his beloved guide and teacher. Seeing her lying on ground he forgot all about his thesis. He reached close to her and bent down to touch her feet. Her feet white like the pure white lotus lay lifeless today. As he touched her feet a deep sorrow of loss of a great teacher and a kind person filled his heart with agony. A tear from the side of his eyes fell on her feet. Sanjeev wiped his eyes and went and sat with the others.
When he lifted his head and saw an adult man in his early forties seated close to Anjana. He had sadness in his eyes but his face reflected gratification as if he was content that Anjana had taken aboard her peaceful flight to heaven. Next to him was seated a man in his mid-thirties. He was crying with red eyes and his face was filled with anger. In between he was speaking his voice cracking with emotion.
“I’m not going to leave that Dr Vikram,” he said choking.
“Calm down Suresh! This is not the time,” the man sitting next to him said.
“Pawan bhaiya, he’s hiding something,” replied Suresh.
Pawan held his arms around Suresh and tugged him close to him. “Ma is in peace now, let her rest. She’s worked enough in her life.”
In front of them was seated and elderly man with a young girl next to him. Though
he appeared sad, his face was grim and rigid. The young girl was sobbing as she said, “I’ll miss Bua, Papa. She was such a nice lady.”
The lady next to her was sobbing slowly and she took the young girl in her embrace. “Didi was a very strong lady, Bhumija. She was so fond of you; if you cry like this her soul will be at unrest.”
“Mummy, I miss her. It seems I’ve lost a mentor for life,” she said wiping her tears and controlling the overflow of emotions which took over her.
“Lakshman is at home, I think you should go. He’s your responsibility now,” the lady said as she urged Bhumija to leave. Staying there would have strongly affected her emotions.
Meanwhile Ravi was waiting outside the house near a tea stall. He could hear people around him whispering all kinds of talks. There was a group of people who were talking about Anjana’s mysterious death.
“I heard someone drugged her in the conference. They were saying someone mixed some medicine in her coffee,” someone remarked.
“You know I heard that she was possessed with an evil spirit. People heard her mumbling something in the ICU,” a man commented.
“It could be possible. You know she was doctorate in
. People say that she was about to discover something. Who knows, maybe some
,” replied another.
“I heard that there was some property dispute. They say that the house of her elder son which she used as her laboratory was owned by her brother. Who knows if they had some disagreement?” said someone.
“She was a greater researcher. There was news in the college that she was on her way to a breakthrough. I feel some rival killed her,” remarked someone else.
“Whom are you talking about,” Ravi asked the man seated next to him out of curiosity.
“Dr Anjana, the owner of that bungalow,” he said pointing towards the house.
“Do you all feel it’s an unnatural death?” asked Ravi.
“Who knows the truth Sir, we were just discussing about the rumors around.”
Sanjeev left the gathering and came out of the house searching for Ravi. While he was still looking for him here and there he heard a voice.
“Wait!” someone called from behind as Sanjeev walked out of the house. “You are Sanjeev right? Ma's student,” he said.
Sanjeev turned around and saw an adult man in his forties calling him. His face resembled that of Anjana’s and was filled with deep sorrow. But there was something ethereal about him. There was an unsaid calmness and serenity surrounding him. He looked younger than his age and was well built. Tall and strong, it seemed as if he was a wrestler.
“Yes,” Sanjeev replied. “Sorry but I don’t know you.”
“I’m Dr Anjana’s elder son, Pawan. You must be Sanjeev. I saw the way you touched Ma's feet. Only a student can give such a reverence to his Guru. Ma left something for you. I discovered it yesterday in my house,” he said to Sanjeev.
Sanjeev’s heart was pounding. He was thinking, “What could it be?”
“This is my address. Come to my house after two days and pick it up. I’m sure it will be of great help to you,” said Pawan and handed Sanjeev a piece of paper with his address. He returned to the house for the funeral ceremony leaving Sanjeev with his thoughts.
“Something important for me! What could it be? What if she has signed my thesis? I can submit it and my doctoral will be complete. Oh! Can it really happen?”
Ravi saw Sanjeev standing lost in his thoughts. He broke him from his thoughts and urged him to leave. They left the premises but Sanjeev’s mind was filled with questions. “What could it be?