Yesterday, October 2nd, was Mahathma Gandhi’s birthday. It is commemorated each year in many different ways all over the world. I had the opportunity to participate in CORD 5K walk/run, a charity event organized by the volunteers from the Chinmaya Mission, Boston Chapter. Largely motivated by the e-mails from one of my good friends, I dragged myself to the Carlise State Park, MA., first thing in the morning. After a really heavy rainy day, the morning was perfect in every way, best described as the best of NE fall season. There I was, confronted by the nature trail, with soggy spots, and a generally uneven surface all along the run. There is always a strength and motivation inside of you that shows up, when you participate in such events with a bunch of other runners, more precisely joggers and wannabe runners! Otherwise I am not sure I would have completed the course in less than 30 minutes. I finished the 3.1 Mile course in record time, if each person is permitted to recognize his personal best as a record! The reward at the end of the run was a warm samosa, hot cup of Chai and a nice and shiny New England apple. All this, in addition to the new T-Shirt given to each of us, at the beginning of the walk/run. After some small talk with the many friends over there, I started my drive back home, to take on the next challenge of the day.
Carlise is a typical NE small town, with access only by a couple of small roads that criss cross the town. I was headed east on Rte. 225, towards Lexington. Suddenly I came upon the sight of a collection of hardy mums laid out on the side-walk, with a sign: $5 each. Despite my close attention to the winding road, my mind could not escape the fact that it was a good deal! Like any good American consumer, I could not easily pass up such a good deal! My thoughts translated into action: a quick step on the break, a fast U-turn and I was back at the house with the mums on the side-walk. There was no place to park, so I pulled into the driveway and found a place to park at the back of the house. An elderly lady with perfect silvery hair walked up to me and said in the most pleasant voice, “hello and welcome to our house”! Soon she was joined by her husband who greeted me with equal warmth. I, a perfect stranger had arrived to enjoy the hospitality of David and Joan, at the home of a truly lovely couple, in this quaint NE town.
After a few pleasant exchanges, David asked, pointing to my new T-Shirt, “what is this CORD about”? Very quickly his eyes glanced on the picture of Mahathma Gandhi on my T-shirt. So, even before I could answer his question, David exclaimed: “Isn’t that the picture of Mr. Gandhi? You know, there is a large statue of Gandhi at Sherborn MA. that looks exactly like this picture!” “Really?”, I asked unable to control my excitement in this curious turn in our conversation. “Yes, indeed. The statue is in front of the Peace Abby at Sherborn. We have been there many times. In fact, one of our friends Louise Coleman was given an award at the Peace Abby, for her efforts to rescue and shelter greyhounds, which are abused at the race tracks. Louise is a great person. Now, she has this organization to save the grey hound in many countries” continued Joan.
No longer was I a mere consumer driven by a good deal, but much more of a citizen of the world sharing and learning views on peace and the efforts by many for such goal in their own quiet purposeful ways! Then I asked, “Joan, what do you do?”. She replied, “I used to be a school teacher. Now I am retired. We grow plants and sell some fruits, vegetables and seedlings in the summer. These are mums given to us by a friend to see if we can get some sales for him”. “What about David?” I asked. “David is also retired. But he has done many things. He was a school teacher. He also built windows and sold them. He used to design custom kitchens. At one time, he used to distribute Federal funds for education in the Appalachian region schools”, explained Joan. I was thinking to my self: What is all the talk on the modern day need for many careers in one life time, being forced upon us?
On return home, I searched the web and found the following details: Peace Abby: http://www.peaceabbey.org/index.html . There is a link in this website for a nice six part video series in the Youtube on Gandhi and his life. One of the names on the Pacifist Memorial at the Peace Abbey is that of a great Jain leader, called the Mahavira, who lived 500 years before the birth of Jesus. His quote says, “Whom thou intendest to strike, or to govern, or to torture, or to enslave, or to kill, is, in truth, none other than thyself.” http://www.peaceabbey.org/memorial/memorial_2.htm
Louise Coleman, Friend to the Greyhounds : The decision to give Louise Coleman this award for her work on behalf of greyhounds was made because the Peace Abbey staff has grown more inclined to recognize animal welfare work. They became more interested in animal welfare when they took in Emily the Cow. Emily had jumped the slaughter house fence in Hopkinton, and wandered like Christ in the Wilderness for forty days and forty nights, and was found by the Peace Abbey staff and brought to safety in the Abbey on Christmas Eve. Emily now has a poster of Gandhi in her cozy cow house.
Greyhound Friends, Inc. is a non-profit organization located in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, dedicated to saving racetrack greyhounds and placing them in responsible, loving homes. We invite you to learn more about us by reading our website and visiting our kennel. Since its inception in 1983, Greyhound Friends has found homes for more than 9000 dogs! We maintain a kennel for twenty greyhounds and as soon as a dog is adopted another one comes in from a racing kennel. Dogs who come to us are groomed, treated medically, fed and cared for as time permits. http://www.greyhound.org/
Oh yes, I did buy four beautiful bushes of mums. Before I left, Joan reminded me, “These are hardy mums. But, you know, the sooner you put them on the ground, greater is their chance of taking root and hence making it to the next season”! Wise advice. Isn’t that true for any effort focused on growth?
Yes, the Peace Abbey is a nice place to visit. I’ve been there a few times these many years. They used to have a community dinner there on 2nd October. Inside the Abbey, there are several ‘corners’ for different religions with the symbols and books of the religion. A couple of years ago, they were in financial trouble and were to shut down. Looks like they survived!
It simply goes to show that we are all human beings inter twined with each other through our experiences and contacts which we discover like you did under unusual circumstances and locations like you did.
Nice to read your write up. Motivating. Looking forward to more from you…
Very realistic and everyday occurance. If only we can take time to smile and talk to people who cross our path life gets enriched. Thank you for sharing such a nice daily life occurance. We are such social beings collectively we can bring about peace on earth.
Links have a way of taking one on a wild ride….Lots of very passionate forum posters claim that the Gandhi-Nehru influence on the country resulted in lakhs of displaced/dead as well as more than 40 years of socialist experiments and still more lakhs of dead from famines that resulted from such experiments. Narashimha Rao as the PM released the nation’s economy in the early 90’s and quite a lot of small boats also went up in the tide of economic development since that time. I wonder if anyone remembers the birthday of Narashimha Rao or his finance minister Manmohan Singh ? I dont !!