STONEHENGE MAGIC AND TWO JAGJITs
I attribute many coincidental things that happened to me to the magic of Stonehenge.(See the previous post : http://bigbangyoga.org/my-return-to-stone-age/) Foreseeing that I was coming it took over the control of nearly all my intentions before I even stepped on the Stonehenge Island. What I tell you is my after-thought; I could not have known this earlier when the feel of autumn made me ponder that I might fall like the leaf from the oak tree in my garden and might not see many close ones for whom Geneva is off the track. First the spirit of Stonehenge did everything to isolate me. Two days before our flight, the spirit sent the person who was so keen to accompany me, to Oslo to see her terminally sick aunt. It entered the head of my dear sister-in-law and diverted her to the Gatwick’s South Terminal even though she knew that she should meet me at the North Terminal. I took the bus and then walked some two kilometres to her welcoming house.
The magic accelerated when I took the off-peak train from Crawley to Hounslow to visit my aunt and sick uncle. Walking out of the station I asked a young man the way to the High Street. He tried to reply in English then asked me to say it in Punjabi. He was returning from a construction site and, like me going in the direction of West Hounslow.
“The road in front is a short-cut; we can walk together.”
Manpreet has been in England for twelve years and happily settled. The usual conversations started.
“Where do you come from?”
“I’m from Ludhiana.”
“So am I; which village?”
“Shpar where the annual spring festival is held”.
“That’s near my village Tajpur. I have been to this festival when I was very young”.
We talked about many things including changes in the Punjabi rural society and life in Hounslow”.
“On this road is the Sikh Temple. I would like to stop there briefly to bow before the Guru Granth”.
“I’ll join you. It might do me good as well.”
“It’s mid-day; I would like to eat from the sacred communal kitchen. It’s open the whole day. You can have a cup of tea.” I agreed.
He was finishing his lunch when I told him that I will wait him near the shoe rack. On the way I recalled that my very close friend Jagjit Sihra, an untapped intellectual, was on the management of that temple. In Kenya we graduated as teachers together. At the time of moving to Switzerland we were neighbours in Kisumu on Lake Victoria. I did not fail to see him every time I went to Hounslow. But this time he had escaped my mind. I asked a priest, “Is Jagjit Sihra here today?”
“He is having his lunch there. I’ll take you to him. Look there is Jagjit.”
“That is not him; he is very tall.”
“Oh, that Jagjit is in the office upstairs.”
I knocked and opened the door. There he was. I greeted him animatedly to surprise him. But he did not react; just looked at my face.
“I’m Naginder. If you do not know me I am closing the door,” I moved to walk out. Suddenly his eyes lit up. As required in any Sikh temple I had covered my head with scarf. Trying to place me in his memory he first thought I was from Leads to reserve a date for the marriage. We embraced joyously. I knew he suffered from dementia that seems to have increased with age. His telephone rang. As soon as he finished it rang again and again. He could not free himself to be with me. Then the other Jagjit who shares the office walked in. Sihra asked me to talk with him. We shook hands and I looked at the second Jagjit.
“I know you,” I exclaimed. “Did you do your teachers’ training in Nairobi in 1956-57?”
You had freshly come from India?”
“You’re Grewal. I was in the second year. We were together for one year”.
“Oh! You’re Naginder; I recognize you from your voice.”
This reunion could not be a coincidence; surely it’s the Stonehenge effect. At one o’clock Sihra switched off the phone. We talked and embraced. I phoned my aunt that she shouldn’t wait for me for lunch.
Jagjit Sihra, Naginder , Jagjit Grewal
I was very impressed with their voluntary work and devotion. Both handle all official administrative procedures requiring well-educated persons like the two Jagjits concerning numerous marriages consecrated in this temple.
“To tell you the truth this is my daily past-time”, said Sihra. “I enjoy doing it.”
After lunching together, Jagjit Sihra walked with me to West Hounslow. What wonderful Stonehenge surprise gift!