Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Here is a collection of most of my poems and stories.
Hope you like em.
Criticism is welcome :)



I was floating around in the forest of dreams,
in the citadel of joy and the ocean of gleams;
it was so beautiful it was so ideal,
I knew it was just a dream it wasn't real;

Lo and behold!! I could feel a force,
"come with me.. follow my course
do as I tell you, and you will see
everything will look the way you wanted it to be"

I did as I was told,
cause I knew it was for me,
at the end,I was so happy
so confident,so glee.

I could have all I wanted
and this was reality,
I achieved it all,
except immortality.

Though it's not a forest of dreams,
it is still a garden of success;
though its not a citadel of joy,
it is still a mansion of happiness.

And though its not the ocean of gleams,
it is still an oasis of lights;
now,I am almost done with my life,
I have won all my fights,

But in the end
I have to say,
The force that did this all
was something that's inside of us, every single day.


Six years have passed but nothing has changed,
My love for her is still maintained.
I tried to forget her but all in vain,
She is still in me somewhere and causing great pain.

In my peaceful little life,she came like a wave,
And brought with her happiness and sorrow grave.
She changed my life she changed my way
And all of a sudden,she walked away.

Where and why I do not know,
And the memories she left by just won't let go.
Its all like a dream that I need to wake from,
but the harder I try,the deeper I drown.

When I close my eyes I see her there,
I feel her presence in the air.
Every heartbeat of mine follows her tune,
My life has as though,become her rune.

I now live my life with one little hope
That someday she will return,and then we'll elope
Away from this place,away from this world,
To a haven where our love will be unfurled.

Till eternity I will wait for her,
She must be somewhere,I just wish she were. .
I might perish but my love will never.
She'll be in my heart,for now and forever.


They say the times were peaceful and kind
And all was going well with mankind,
They say that the winds were purer then
They say that the songs were sweeter then.
But for all I care, why should I cry,
Cause you have lived, and so have I.

They say that the Gods were more forgiving,
And Mother Nature was happily living
They say that the flowers were brighter then
They say that the waters were bluer then.
But for all I care, why should I cry,
Cause you have lived, and so have I.

They say that the times are now watching with silence
And people are busy with crap and violence,
They say that the trees are shadier now
They say that the sands are cooler now.
It may be true or it may be a lie,
But you are living and so am I.

They say that the Gods are now indifferent and vague,
And Mother Nature is trying to stop the plague
They say that the grass is drier now
They say that the skies are greyer now.
It may be true or it may be a lie,
But you are living and so am I.

They say that the times will be harsh and untamed
And everyone will realize that all are to be blamed,
They say that the pyres will extinguish by then
They say that the leaves will die by then
And then again, even we may die,
But atleast in stories or in poems, you will live and so will I.

They say that the Gods will show their wrath,
And Mother Nature will be lost in her path
They say that you will freeze by then
They say that I will burn by then.
But atleast in dreams or up in the sky
You will live and so will I.


Ask your dreams, isn't it true
That I was the one made for you

Ask the angels in the sky
If my love for you could ever die

Ask the soul that lies within you
Is it not the same that's in me too

Ask the future that lies ahead
Won't we be one before we are dead

Ask the sun that shines above
Can he not feel the warmth of our love

Ask yourself and you will see
That you are the one made for me.


The world is full of sorrow and pain
Everyone looks for their own gain
Everywhere you look, there's darkness and despair
No one even bothers to say a little prayer.

Life has lost the value it once had
Everything looks so shady, so sad.
You want to run and hide in fear,
You feel as though the end is near.

But hang on now, don't lose hope
Don't give up your faith, you can still cope.
You will have to wait, it is still dawn
And happen what may, life goes on.

The wrongs that have happened can not be undone
Every battle that you face, can not be won.
But the future is yours and yours alone,
Everything may change, who knows the unknown.

The long night has passed, let it go
The time has come for the sun to show.
The fog is lifting and you can now see
The light up ahead is waiting for you with glee.

Change is inevitable, it had to come
It gives a lot, but takes away some.
Good times have come and the bad ones have withdrawn
And as ever, life goes on.

Life will go on and a time will come
When you will be rewarded for all that you have become
You will look back then and say to yourself.
"I fought my way through it, I did it myself"

Sorrow and joy will come and go, but we must continue to walk our way,
Life is just too very precious to be thrown away.
How can we give up when there is so much at stake,
It is He who gives life and He alone should take.

There are many things that are worth living for,
But life is so beautiful, that it is worth dying for.
Everything that comes, will one day be gone.
But amidst all this, life goes on.


From the day that I saw you
You have been in my heart.
You may not be with me
But I can never be apart.

You have no idea
How important you are to me.
But I could never confess,
Cause losing you was something I couldn't see.

I thought I would never be able to say
Those three eternal words to you.
But if I don't say this now
I might never be able to get them through.

I didn't even know a few years back
Why this day was celebrated,
But now I feel that this is the day
For which I had waited.

I want to give you enough happiness
To fill your entire life.
If you just tell me once,
I'll even go through a knife.

For now and forever,
I want to make you mine.
Oh my sweet love,
Will you be my valentine ??


- Life is too precious a gift given to us. Its full worth cannot be realized in one lifetime alone. Let's all atleast appreciate the ensemble of life as we sway through it.

I stir in the merry cradle of life
To a dreamy paradise that enraptures me.
I look at the illimitable paths that lie,
Each like a drop of the elixirial sea.

Each so alike, its hard to choose
I have done it so often, but still feels new.
A few random thoughts and I am on my way
Hoping that I will make it through.

The warmth of the sunshine with me
And the cool fresh breeze walking along.
It feels like this was the destined path,
And will take me to where I belong.

Endless joys along the way,
New relations at every turn.
So much beauty all around,
More than I can put in my urn.

A few pits and falls in my way,
Question me on the choice that I made.
But every path would have its roughs,
And either way, I would have to wade.

My memories and my urn are still with me,
And merrier times are waiting ahead.
Why should I list my woes and sorrows,
When I can count my blessings instead.

I have been gifted the boon of life,
The halo that will always be with me.
I have been gifted the nimbus of life,
Something that connects us all with Thee.

I continue to walk on the path I chose,
Ignorant of what will come my way.
Enjoy every second of this walk,
Who knows what comes after today.

My urn will always starve for more,
And there will always be paths that I will pave.
The aisle, the runway, the red carpet and then the Bridge,
That will finally take me to my grave.

But then again He will come,
And give me a new urn to fill,
To take all those I couldn't collect
And those dreams that had to spill.

He will lift me in His tender arms
And put me in a new cradle of life.
New paths, new pits and new turns,
But still will remain The Nimbus Of Life.

- With every pain, comes a joy. Let's all be thankful for what we have. It's the least we can do.



This is the story of Mischa Volsky, a young girl who was born and brought up in a small province of Russia. The story has been presented in a fragmented fashion through the recollections of her friends and close ones along with her own thoughts.

Mischa : I was finally reunited with my mother on the 27th of May in the year 1987. It was supposed to happen exactly two years before that day, but He(God) had some other plans of his own. What He gave me in those two years was supposed to be a dream,but as it turned out, it was my worst nightmare. I still don't know why He did that. All I asked Him on the 27th of May 1985 was to show me what happiness meant before I set out to meet my mother. He granted me that wish, but. . . . it didn't stop there. Maybe that was His way of things, the way of all things - with every happiness, comes an inherent saddness.

Sergei : Everything was so perfect. We were doing so well together.I found in her a friend I was looking for all along. But then, I had to move. I chose my career over her. I am sure she understands. Infact, she would always have wanted the best for me. I know that. I still remember the day we met at high school. It was the first day of school and I had just broken up with Elena. I was feeling so awful when all of a sudden I saw Mischa. She was looking even more awful than me. That's when I introduced myself to her. From then on, it had been a steady ride. But when I got my chance to move to Moscow for higher studies, I knew the ride was going to come to an end. I just didn't have the courage to say it to her. I know that she would have adviced me to go ahead and complete my studies, but I also knew that I would not have been able to stop her from crying, and I just can't see her sad. I am happy that Elena helped me out by consoling Mischa. If it wasn't for her, I don't know how I would have been able to tell all this to Mischa. Elena was the only one besides Nastya who knew about Misha and me. Maybe I will still meet Mischa some day. Maybe we can ride together again. Maybe.

Mischa : When Elena told me that evening, that she had something to say, I knew from her face that she had some bad news. But I never thought it would be that bad. Sergei was my only hope. I found in him a companion who would walk by me in the best and worst of times. But, all of a sudden, he changed his path. I had a fear that one day this might happen, but I just wasn't prepared for it. Maybe I never could have been.

Natsya : No one knew Mischa as well as I did. I am her cousin. After her mother left, I searched all over the village for her, but I couldn't find her. I cried all day. Maybe He was listening to my prayers. I found her the other day near the Eternal Heights, the only place in our village that's worth seeing. It was called so because of its deep fall over the edge of the mountain. Mischa always went there in the evenings and stared into the clear waters. I don't know what she looked for in it. She always told me that someday she would merge with the Eternal Heights. I never understood it back then. But on May 27th 1987, I understood everything when I saw her footsteps leading towards the Eternal Heights. There were no footsteps coming out of them. She had finally merged with the Eternal Heights.

Mischa : When people told me, on the 25th of May 1985 that my mother had gone away for a few days and would return soon, I knew they were lying. I knew she had been suffering from a fatal disease and that she would never return. The next day, Natsya found me at the Eternal Heights and took me back to her place. She also made me join high school the other day. That's where I met Sergei. I was always a reserved person and I wasn't feeling very well that day. But, he was so friendly and looked so caring, we instantly connected. That very morning, on the 27th of May 1985, before going to high school, I decided to end my life at the Eternal Heights to go and meet mother. I knew I would find her easily. She told me that she would always wait for me. But, I felt as though He didn't want me to meet her so soon. He had some plans of his own. When I met Sergei, I thanked Him(God) for giving me a new hope. But then, it didn't last long.

Elena : You must all be thinking that the story is done. But I have a confession to make. When Sergei and I broke up on the morning of 27th May 1985, he told me that somehow things weren't going very well between us and I agreed. We didn't feel for each other that way anymore. We decided we could still be great friends and he did. Only, I never could. I couldn't forget my love for him. Though things had changed, I somehow didnýt want to let go. I just couldn't. You know, when we broke up and whenever I looked at Sergei, I felt that destiny had been rather harsh with me. I had to see Sergei everyday and I knew that he was still the same nice guy. If only I had felt some anger for him, if only it would have been his fault, I could have blamed him and not destiny. That way, I would never see him again and I would have easily gotten over him. It still pains me to think of him. And when Sergei told me about his plans to move to Moscow, I promised myself that I would do everything in my control to avoid Mischa from suffering from the same pain that I still bear today. That's when I decided to help Sergei out by telling Mischa about his decision. But I never told her the truth. I didn't want her to feel the same pain. Instead, I told her that he was moving to Moscow because he was fed up with her childish manners and that he had decided to take up further studies to leave the past behind him. I could see the agony in her face. I told her to forget him and that he wasn't capable of her love. Later, Natsya told me that Mischa left the village to look for her mother. I think she must have been separated from her mother during the Civil War. I am sure she must have found her in the neighbouring towns somewhere. I am just happy that she didn't have to face what all I faced. But I never told anyone about Sergei's reality. I wanted everyone to despise Sergei, something which I could never do, and maybe will never be able to do.

Mischa : I never thought that Sergei was so bad. I thought he loved me truly. But when Elena told me everything, I couldnýt digest it. I knew that it felt like a fairy tale all along but, I just wasnýt prepared for all this. That's when I decided to do what I had set out to do two years back. After all, what did I have back there to live for. Nothing. Atleast I could hope to find my mother here, and I did. I met my mother up here, waiting for me. I never looked back at anyone after that. I just didn't have the courage. Mother tells me that someday her turn might come, or maybe my turn would come and He(God) would send us back to earth in a new form. I just hope I don't remember all this. Mother says know one will remember anything. But I just can't believe anyone anymore. Is it my fault ? . . maybe it is. Maybe.


I am Jamie Cambell, 24 years old, but you don’t have to bother about me. This ain’t my story. This is the story of two men – Jerry Perito and Joe Hatcher, and their magical relationship, unlike anything I have seen or heard before.
It happened this summer, when I happened to enroll myself as a volunteer at the Boston Memorial Hospital, where I was supposed to spend 3 hours, twice a week.
My work was to tend to the patients in the ward that I was assigned. Every ward has about 15 patients at one time. It was just something I had to do to get into med school. I never thought much of the job except that it was a formality. But all that was about to be changed.
I can never forget those two people. Their story will be with me for as long as I live. It was just something about that whole summer that I can’t dare to forget. It changed me. And it would change you too had you been in my place.

People say miracles do happen. You know what, its true. Miracles do happen. But they need not always be events, you know !! They could be in human form too. That’s what I have seen with my own two eyes. We used to call him The Miracle Man. This was Joe Hatcher, but he always told us to refer to him as Uncle Joe. He was too sweet a man to be denied such a small request. You know he was one of those tall, dark and saintly person who you would actually look up to when you had some trouble. A kind of peacemaker maybe. I am sure he must have been one of those church people, who take every man as he comes and treat everyone alike. He was like a grandfather, any day. He had this white beard all over his face. Not very thick though, just enough to say, hey, I am still here. I ain’t leaving your face. There was just something about him that commanded . . love.

Mr. Perito on the other hand wasn’t that sweet when he came. God, he was a nuisance. He was a miserable man. He never listened to anyone, not even his doctor. Dr. Wallace was assigned to him. Now this man, Dr. Wallace, was as young as they get. He was more of a child prodigy. He was just 26 and he was great. He was my idol at one time. Heck, half my class aspired to become like him one day. There was just one problem. When he heard that his patient Mr. Perito was a former mob guy, he got very nervous. Well, most of us were, but Dr.Wallace was getting very scared. You should have seen the look on his face when the nurses wheeled Mr. Perito in. He tried to keep his composure and tried his best to keep a good smile on. As they wheeled Mr. Perito by him, Mr. Perito raised his left hand so as to signal the nurses to stop. He then spoke, without looking at Dr. Wallace “They tell me you are a good doctor. I really hope you are son. Otherwise, take my word, you will never grow up to be one ”. Wallace couldn’t open his mouth. The fear on his face was evident. He just stood there even after Perito was taken into his room.

Mr. Perito was a short and stout guy, with very small eyes. He had a rather round face, that went well with his round figure. He had very few hair on him, both on the head and on his face. But he had wrinkles all over. They kinda hid his face from the world. And when he frowned, you could hardly see his eyes among those wrinkles and lines.
He was no beauty to look at, this I can tell.
You see, as a volunteer, I had to help out all the patients in the ward. I couldn’t tend to anyone in particular. But I did stay mostly with Mr. Perito and Uncle Joe. They always had stuff to talk about that I loved to hear. I would sit next to Uncle Joe, opposite to Mr. Perito. I actually feared Mr. Perito myself back then. They wouldn’t bother much about me while they spoke. I was just like a spectator. Their talks were always laced with emotion. It was mostly about Mr. Perito. Uncle Joe was more of a listener. Like I said, he was saintly.

It was around four months back that Mr. Perito was to be bought into The Boston Memorial Hospital. But it took a whole day for the medical team to bring him down.
“Damn you people !! You think you know who I am. I am not going to see any doctor and that’s that !! I hate these white coat people. Who do they think they are. Gods. They can’t do anything. They never could. They are only good at consoling people !! ”.
There was a reason why he said such things. He had just one bad story in his life. Just one. Otherwise, he was an ace at his work, though it wasn’t work. He had fooled the cops on numerous occasions but finally, his job got the better of him up. It was all over the papers. It was in the winter of 1991. Perito was well known to the cops for his numerous illegal dealings and proceedings but they could never get a clean warrant on him. His lawyers were too good. And he paid them well too. But on that particular day, no one could help him.
The cops say that they were his own clients. He had fooled them in a stock transfer. The only mistake he made was that he didn’t find out who they were. One of the guys was the nephew of Carlos Muero, the Mafia head in the Boston region. That was it right there. Had he known about it, I am sure he would have kissed the guy’s boots and would have left the business forever. But as I said, it was the only mistake he ever made. He didn’t need to make another mistake again.
The Mafia put an X on him (targeted him for murder) and sent a hitman after him. This hitman, The Animal, was a real pro. He never left any deal unfinished. He would always get his man, however long it would take. But Perito was the only exception.
The hitman got hold of Perito’s car’s number plate and planted a bomb under it.
It was a Sunday. Perito, his wife and his son were in the car, taking a trip to the restaurant. He took the car out of the garage and went into the house to get his wallet, which he had forgotten in the hurry. That was it. Just as he emerged from the house with his wallet and as he moved towards the car, Boom !! His world collapsed, right there. In one moment, all that he had in his life was gone. The medics came over and moved them to the hospital. He knew it. There would be no tomorrow for them.

Nurse Marie was there when they were brought into the hospital. She told me about it , “They were in a bloody mess. Most of us knew that it was over for Mrs. Perito. But we thought we could save his son. The docs came out and told Mr. Perito that they couldn’t save his wife, but they were sure they could save his son. I still remember the look on his face. His mouth was wide open. His hands on his head. He just fell near the wall and clutched his heart, waiting. We tried to help him but he didn’t even want to move. He just pushed us away. It took two hours. Then the docs came out. Dr. White knelt on one knee beside him, put a hand on his shoulder and said “I am sorry Mr. Perito. We tried our best.” . He just got up and ran like hell. The cops traced his down eventually and bought him in for some questioning after that. That’s all I know ”.
He was charged with multiple accounts of fraud and looting. He could have stayed quiet and let his lawyers handle the stuff again. But, somehow, he confessed. And because of that, his sentence was reduced. He still had to do 12 years in prison. That was his term.
I think he did much more than that. They say even in the prison he used to stay quiet and shout at anyone who would try to come close to him. God knows how he spent 12 years there.

Before writing all this down, I tried to get as much details as I could on Mr. Perito’s life, especially his life after the incident. The jail guards told me that he was always involved in fights, and he would get very violent whenever anyone tried to talk with him, especially about his job. They thought he would get better, but it only got worse. He would stick to his schedule – breakfast, clearing the corridors, lunch, work in the open wastelands and then some time sitting alone in his cell, and eventually he would doze off. One peculiar thing about him was that he wouldn’t eat his dinner. He would doze off before that. The other inmates say they sometimes saw him lying down while others were dining.
I asked the guard to help me further on the situation, and this guard, Dan, was one nice person. He infact took me to the cell where Mr. Perito stayed his entire term. It was empty now. They didn’t have to fill it up.
You all must be thinking as to why I took all these pains, but once you go through the entire story, you’ll blame me for not trying further. I’ll keep trying for some more time though, atleast until the inspiration stays with me.
So, I was allowed by Dan to talk to one of the more gentle inmates of the jail. Jacker, he was called. He looked small, bent and kinda had this look of a caged animal, those really harmless ones. But once Dan left us, he was very good to talk to, though he did kinda sporadically look around as though someone was spying on him. I first thought that he was afraid of Dan, but then I got to know that he was afraid of someone who he thought would come someday to kill him. I didn’t bother much about it. Dan had already told me about this behaviour of his. Scary Jacker, that’s what Dan called him.

“He was a very quiet guy.Yes siree, very quiet. I ‘ave been here for a lotta time now you know, but I ain’t ever seen myself a sinner as quiet as him. Some people say that he used to sleep a lot. He he . . , they never knew him, that’s what they did !!. ”, said Jacker, rather excitedly.
“What do you mean ? ”, I responded.
He put a finger on his lips so as to signal me to keep quiet. “Hush, hush”. He then peeped out of his cell, turned left, then right and came back.
“They can keep trying to get to me but I tell ya, you’ll never get Jacker you . . ”, and then he kind of regained himself.
“You see young man, he would lie down and face away from the cell bars, so as to look away from others. But no, he never slept more than others. ”
“How do you know that ?”
“I could hear him crying. . , for hours sometimes. He used to whisper to himself. Atleast that’s what I could hear from here, from across his cell. He used to cry and then sometimes, he would sleep off with tears still rolling outta his small eyes. I pitied him, yes siree, that’s what I did. I pitied him !!”.
I just sat there, staring at the empty cell infront of me.
“What you seeing at young fella”.
“The cell, so very empty. ”
“He he. . , you know what. It seemed a whole lot emptier while he was in it. An empty man in an empty cell. That’s what he was. I sure do pity him. ”
I couldn’t take it anymore. The whole place started to look depressing. I just got up and left, even without thanking Jacker. I did remember to thank Dan on my way out though, but not before asking him a few more questions about Mr. Perito. Nothing significant.
“He never broke the rules, except for fights. ”, added Dan.

Mr. Perito was quite a big gun amongst the Mafia guys, but he never killed people. That wasn’t part of his job. Deception and fraud, now that was his game.
I don’t know much about these people but I do know this. The only three things they cae about is their family, their money and the organisation. Surprisingly, they have a very stong brotherhood amongst them and they will almost never give up on their close people. Sure there is a lot of deception and all but its only between those that have never been on terms with each other.
Mr. Perito talked a lot about his gang. There was always some pride in his voice. He would always look out the window and recollect his old days and say “You know kiddo, back in those days . . ”. He never told me that he was happy about what he did, but he never expressed hatred either. It was almost like he was talking about some other guy. Someone he just knew, nothing more than that.

After his term in jail, Mr. Perito moved into an old part of he city and worked in some crates industry. The people there tell me that though he was old, he was strong enough to work and would generally do odd jobs to earn his bread. “He never complained. He actually never talked much. Only when he didn’t understand the job. There was always some sadness in his eyes. When I found out about his old life, I panicked. But then, he did his term. He had a right to earn his bread by working for us. I didn’t fire him. He was a very good man as long as I knew him. Sometimes, I pitied his condidtion. ” said the supervisor of the industry.
I went down to that place a few days back. It’s a huge place, but very empty. Just the odd crates here and there. I met up with a guy who remembered Perito.
“Sometimes, he would sleep here itself. He never had any excitement in him. It was as though someone had taken the life out of him. This is actually a pretty decent place. They pay you well. The only other place I know he went to was the cemetary. ”

Mr. Perito had a strange disorder. It’s a mental condition. Its when your anger and restlessness takes over your appetite. You become weak and you refuse to recover. It’s a kind of depression. Common among the elder people. Its totally curable though.
The problem comes when someone does not want to recover. It’s a problem in all forms of depression. And Mr. Perito had the same problem. He didn’t want to recover. He just didn’t listen to anyone, anyone. . except Uncle Joe.
Mr. Perito, after arriving at the hospital, started to get even more restless. The one consequence of his restlessness was that he used to shout a lot. It was actually good. He atleast communicated. But when he was with Uncle Joe, he was almost always calm. There was just something about Uncle Joe that could calm anyone down.
I don’t know why I exactly Uncle Joe was in the hospital, but they said it was nothing much. Just old age.
They always told me that he would be out soon. He was a very careful man, and very patient and co-operative. Nurse Marie dealt with him. You know what, he would give her a rose every week. God knows where he got those from. He said it was from his garden. Nurse Marie never believed him. But she always took the rose. She was fond of flowers, and actually she was fond of Mr. Hatcher too. Don’t get me wrong here, but he was such a gentle person. Always caring and so very sweet. You would feel like you have known him for years.
Uncle Joe came to the hospital a week after Mr. Perito and he was in the same ward as Perito. Nurse Marie told me that he wanted to be in the same ward as “that grumpy stout person”. When Nurse Marie asked him whether he knew Mr. Perito, Uncle Joe responded “I saw him a few times at the crates shop”.

One thing about Mr. Perito was that he never spoke except when he had to shout or scream at someone. In the first week, he was getting very restless. I was to help him and take care of him, but I would always stay away from him. Whatever you did, he would find a fault with it. Just like some old people do sometimes. He would even threaten you sometimes, in that old mob fashion. He would just stare at you with his cold brown eyes. That was enough for me. I would just run out and act like nothing had happened.
But then, when Mr. Hatcher came, everything changed. Uncle Joe was always more involved with how others were doing. And he took a special intrest in Mr. Perito.
The first thing he asked me was “What’s this guy here for. Is he crazy ?? ”.
I just grinned and told him “No Mr. Hatcher, he has a kind of depression. Irregular eating habits. Its an aggravated mental condition. ”
“Will he be fine ?? ”
“That depends Mr. Hatcher. The way he co-operates, I don’t think he will be out soon. He needs to be patient and cool. Only he can help himself out of it. But he doesn’t want to.”
“Can I do something ?” said Mr. Hatcher.
“I doubt it sir, I doubt it. ”
“Thank you son, oh and one more thing. Please call me Uncle Joe from next time. ”
He had this huge smile on him. It was contagious. It spread to everyone.
Everyone except Mr. Perito. He was happy to be with Uncle Joe, but he never smiled. I never saw him smile the entire time he was at the hospital.

The first time Mr. Perito and Uncle Joe met was a great moment.
“ They tell me you are crazy and that you are gonna die soon ”, said Uncle Joe.
“ What !! No one talks to me like that. Who the hell are you ??”
“ Your friend. If you accept my friendship that is. ”
“ Hmmf. Friendship. You talk as though you are a small kid. ”
“ Can I help it. I am a kid inside. Well, everyone is. So are you. Don’t you feel that sometimes ? ”, remarked Uncle Joe.
“Ahh, someone take this man away. He will kill me before my time !! ”

“Uncle Joe, I am surprised. How did Mr. Perito talk to you. He generally doesn’t talk much”, I said.
“You see, I slipped in some wine in his medicine. Oh, don’t wory. I asked Dr. Wallace and he said it was alright”, grinned Uncle Joe.
“Well, you better be careful Uncle Joe, when he finds out, he is gonna be mad as hell”.

“How dare you !! Who the hell are you to intoxicate me !! Do you know who I am. Ahh, you won’t be able to stand it !! ”, shouted Mr. Perito.
“You know what, I really am sorry. I just thought you needed some action in your dull life. Well, here’s a rose for you, as an apology if you wish. I will take it back from you the day you forgive me”.
“That’s gonna be far away. You remember that old man, very far away. ”, snarled Mr. Perito.
But slowly, they got very close. Actually, somehow Mr. Perito opened up to Uncle Joe. We never thought he would talk to someone for so long a time as he did with Uncle Joe.

“Peri, I think there is something that’s holding you back. What is it. You can tell me now. I am a good person you know, maybe I can help you”.
“No Joe, its nothing. Its just that . . ahh, forget it. ”
“You can do better than that Peri. Cmon, do this old man a favour. ”
“You know Joe, back in those days, I was a bad man. A real mean, selfish person. But I never gave up on Kelly and Sam. They were everything to me. I would come home everyday to her sweet smile. Sam was mostly asleep by then, but it was so wonderful just to sit by him. I wanted to give him a different life. I didn’t want him to become anything like me. Never. Infact, he was good at school too. We used to go out and play baseball every Sunday. Even if I had work, I would give that up on Sunday. I don’t know what went wrong. It was all going so well. Sam would be in high school soon. By this time, he would have been all grown up, and maybe married too. Kelly would be so happy. If only. . ”. He broke down right there.
“There there Peri. It’s ok. That’s the way things are sometimes. You can’t give up now. You can still live and give some meaning to your life. They are watching you from up there you know”, responded Uncle Joe.

They both used to talk for hours at length. I could see that Mr. Perito was getting better. The thing was, he had this thing buried inside of him – the guilt. It was killing him. He didn’t want to live. He just wanted to let it go.

“What can I do Joe. What can I do. Its all over. There is no use. I tried to kill myself in prison. But I wasn’t brave enough. And I knew I had to do my term. That was my punishment for all I had done. I couldn’t go without completing my term. After prison, I tried again, but I was just too scared. Too scared. I don’t know of what, but. . I was too scared. Maybe I wasn’t ready to face Kelly and Sam yet. What would I say to them. I was the reason for everything. I am not yet ready. Maybe. . , I never will be. How will I face them Joe, how will I face them ?? ”
“Peri, you must live. You must live to do all you can to help others and maybe wash off a few of your sins. This is your chance Peri. Don’t lose it. Look at me. I was a spoilt guy once. Never a care in this world. I lived like a King. But then, I realized I was all empty. I had done nothing in my life. That’s when I thought I should help others. I put all my money into helping others and I joined the Humanitarians. You should do so too. Its good you know, helping others. It helps you too. Maybe you should try Peri ”
“Maybe I will. Maybe I will Joe”

In the days that followed, Uncle Joe extracted all the past from Mr. Perito. He removed all the sorrow from his heart. I remember seeing Mr. Perito cry throughout the night. But that was the only way he would improve. He had to accept the facts. That’s how it works sometimes.
To break this man was no small work. It would have taken a team of psychiatrists a month to improve his condition. But this man, Uncle Joe, took just a week. The thing was, he always made Mr. Perito see the facts. He helped him back to reality.

“Why did it happen to me Joe, Why ?? ”
“Peri, don’t say that. You should be happy that Kelly and Sam had a good life while they were here, with you. You cared for them and you always put them before yourself. And that is a big thing Peri, believe me. I know its unfair, but life is like that Peri. Its not always fair. Who said it would be ? You still have time Peri, you can fair things out. Improve life for others Peri. It will all be fair at the end, you will see. You have done your term. Maybe you can start a new leaf. ”

In someway or the other, he infused in Mr. Perito a reason to live on. A reason to fight. That’s exactly what he needed.
The next week, on a Tuesday, it was the day of the year when the incident had taken place.
“Will you come with me to the cemetary Joe ? ”
“I can’t Peri. I am not feeling too well. But do this. Take these roses. Put them for me ”
I went up to Uncle Joe after Mr. Perito had left, “Uncle Joe, are you feeling alright ? ”
“I won’t hide it from you Jamie. I try to be strong infront of Peri, but I am only human. I try not to break infront of him, but I don’t know if I would have been able to do so today”, and then he turned his face away from me. “You know son, I never had any family. So I don’t know how it is to lose someone very close to yourself. But when I look at Peri, I feel it was good that I never had any family. I don’t know if I would have been alive today had I been in Peri’s place. I would have killed myself long back,. . I know that”.

That’s the first time I realized that this man wasn’t as strong as he portrayed himself to be
. It kinda came as a big shock for me. Sure he was only human but, I never thought of that. He always seemed so. . higher up than others around.
Whenever I used to listen to their conversation, I would mostly end up in tears. That’s the way things were. It was too shady a picture. But Uncle Joe, he never cracked. He always held himself and made sure that Mr. Perito felt a little lighter after talking to him.
It was because of Uncle Joe that Mr. Perito’s condition improved. Within one week of Uncle Joe’s arrival, Dr. Wallace confirmed that within two or three days, Mr. Perito would be discharged.

“You hear that Peri, you hear that !! Dr. Wallace says you will be out of this place in a couple of days. I always told you you would do just fine”
“But, what will I do Joe. What will I do ? ”
“Aww Peri. Don’t say that. They are watching you from up there. Live for them Peri. Do something good. Lots of people could use your help Peri”
“You are right Joe. You are right. But, when will you be out. Dr. Scott. . ”
“Well, actually Mr. Hatcher here, sorry, Uncle Joe is quite alright. But he insisted that he wanted to see you out of this place before he moved on. So, I guess you will both be off together”, responded Dr. Wallace.
“Oh Joe. You never told me. I won’t even ask. Thank you so much. You know what, maybe we can work together. What say you ? ”
“Umm, yeah, yeah. . why not. Sure. We could do that. Sure, sure”.

The next day, Uncle Joe was taken in for some tests.
“Hey, where are you taking Joe, Dr. Scott ? ”
“Oh don’t worry Mr. Perito. Mr. Hatcher said he was feeling a bit restless, so we just thought we will check him out a bit. Just to make sure everything is alright. ”
“Ok Dr. Scott, but do get him back soon. We still need to decide where we are gonna stay. ”

It was just old age getting to him. Uncle Joe was a weak man. He looked ok but he tired too easily. The day after, Mr. Perito was discharged from the hospital. Uncle Joe was still there. Dr. Scott said he wanted to make sure that Uncle Joe was alright and wanted to keep him under observation for a few days.
“I will be waiting for you Joe. We will work together. ”
“Ah, wish I could come right now. But Dr. Scott here says he won’t let me go till another few days. Says he wants to make sure. Well, I can’t argue with him, can I ? ”.
“I will see you soon Joe. I will try and see if I can find some place where they need a person like me”.
“There are lots of people who could use a man like you Peri. Go on, you will find your place”

Mr. Perito found an orphanage where he decided to live for the remainder of his life and help the kids with whatever he could.
After three days, he came back to the hospital.

“Hey kiddo, where’s Joe ? ”
“He. . he ain’t here Mr. Perito. ”, I responded.
“Where did he go. I even told the people at the orphanage that I will be bringing up my friend to help them out soon. Did he tell you where he was going kiddo ? ”
“Mr. Perito, . . ”. I just stood there, helpless. I felt a certain helplessness all around.
“What,. . what happened ? What is it ?. ”
“He died the day you left, Mr. Perito”, said Nurse Marie.
“What !! No. . . . , no. How could this happen. He was going to be discharged soon. What happened”

Dr. Wallace always used to say to Mr. Perito that depression can be easily cured. All you need is a cool head. Uncle Joe proved him wrong. After Mr. Perito was discharged, Uncle Joe went into a comma. Dr. Scott never understood what happened. The next day, the reports showed signs of depression and mental anguish. Dr. Scott never could understand how Uncle Joe ended up like that. It was all so . . surprising.

“I feel as though he took my death away from me. He took it onto himself. It is because of him that I am alive today, but. . he is not here anymore. Strange are the ways of the Lord. Jamie, . . could you take me to his grave ? ”
“I haven’t been there, but I know the place.Some of his friends came the other day to take care of him. They said they would bury the body. I will take you there Mr. Perito”.

It was half a mile from the hospital. It was cold. Though it was summer, the day was quite cold. There was a strange silence all around.
We moved towards his grave. I remember it all too well.
Mr. Perito bent down close to the grave. “May you rest in peace my friend”.
I closed my eyes in prayer.
I then heard him shout “Ahhhhh. . . . ”.
I was frightened. “What happened Mr. Perito ?? ”.
He had a white face, full of fear. He was breathing very heavily.
“What happened Mr. Perito. Are you all right ? ”
His one hand was at his chest, the other, he tremblingly pointed towards the epitaph.
I looked at it. On it was inscribed – “Joe ‘THE ANIMAL’ Hatcher”.
I froze right there. It all came back. All those memories of the two talking in the hospital, laughing together, sharing the moments, sharing the sorrows, sharing every bit of their lives, sharing the joys, . .
Mr. Perito just sat down there, his head in his hands.
He then did something that I will never forget. He reached into his pocket and took out a rose. I identified it immediately.
“I forgive you my friend, I forgive you”. He put the rose on his grave, looked towards the sky, gave a smile (now that means a lot) and, still with tears in his eyes, he said “Who am I to judge you Joe. If this is how the Lord intended it, this is how I will take it”. He then got up, and ran.
I just stood there. Still trying to take in all that had happened right in those few moments.
It never sank. I still can’t digest it.

I went down to the orphange to meet Mr. Perito one day.
He was doing pretty well at the orphanage, helping out the kids there.
“Its not my job to decide whose fault it was Jamie. When I look back at all this, all I can say is that strange are the ways of the Lord”
Before I left, he told me, “You know Jamie, from that day onwards, I have always felt as though I wasn’t working alone here. Its like, there’s someone else with me, right with me”.

Uncle Joe could never forgive himself after the incident with Mr. Perito. The guard told me that every year, some old guy used to come down to the prison to see Mr. Perito. But he would only take a few steps and then return. It happened every year while Mr. Perito was there. The Miracle Man, that’s who he was.
Uncle Joe not only lied to Mr. Perito, he also lied to me. He told me he didn’t have a family. The truth was, he had a wife, but no kids. But after the incident, he never returned to her. I am just coming from his house. Mrs. Hatcher said she knew that he was into something bad, but she never questioned him.
“But, when he left that afternoon, I didn’t know that he would never return. I just wished that wherever he was, he was doing well. But. . ”. She couldn’t stop herself. I tried to console her, but with what ? There was nothing I could do.
The people who came to collect his body were his friends from the old days. They were in the same business of killing people. That’s how they knew him, The Animal.
I won’t call him a coward. He did the bravest thing of all by helping out Mr. Perito at the hospital.
I know that Uncle Joe never served his punishment but can you imagine what he went through everyday of those twelve years that Mr. Perito was in prison. He did more than twelve years in those twelve years. He even used to go down to enquire about Mr. Perito at the crates industry. And he still lived to do one last thing. He saved Mr. Perito. Maybe Mr. Perito could have survived without Uncle Joe’s help. But he would never have been able to live the life that he is living right now.
Miracles do happen. They always do, believe me.