By Aparna Jacob September 2005 In our lonely journey through life we are watched over and assisted in innumerable ways by spirit guides and celestial beings. So take comfort. We are never alone. When she was a baby, a group of angels came to visit Chitra Uttamsingh. ‘My mother left me playing on the bed while she went to check on something in the kitchen. Suddenly there were four little girls in the room. I remember wondering, ‘where did they come from?’ ‘ ‘We’ve come to play with you,’ they smiled. The child immediately felt warm, sheltered and at pea ce. They were dressed in frocks and seemed like ordinary children, except, says Chitra, ‘not quite flesh and bone. And they vanished when my mother returned.’ ‘I was three,’ Chitra explains, ‘I didn’t question it. Mother was convinced I was making it all up or that I’d been dreaming. But looking back now, I’m certain it wasn’t a dream. It really did happen.’ Angels EverywhereDo you believe this? It doesn’t matter who believes it or doesn’t. Those touched by an angel would testify that their lives have never been the same since. Chitra today works for the Central Bank of India and cheerfully admits: ‘I’ve had a problem-free life. My father always said to me – if you have any questions ask the voice inside you for directions. And all my life there has been this voice steering me in the right direction.’ Sometimes an angel’s mission is to offer simple reassurance. At others, it is to gently open our eyes to the infinite possibilities that lie before us, the ones our careless eyes gloss over. They come when we lose all sight of how life is brimming with hope and promise. They bring us new perspective on situations. Why do we need angels? My friend Dipika Aranha, addicted to the television series Touched By an Angel, was a great admirer of Della Reese who played the angel Tess in the show. She tells me there’s an entire cult around the ‘Tess theory’ which believes angels are sent by God to herald the truth, especially the big truths, to specific people in critical situations. Angels are not there to be meddling fix-its, but to be our helpers in responding to the truth. We can just blow them off, but people usually find themselves responding instantly with some amount of trust, comfort, or awe. To know an angel, Joan Wester Anderson in her book Where Angels Walk says, calls for a willingness to suspend judgment, to open ourselves to possibilities we’ve only dreamed of. It is, like all things faith-related, to be understood not from the mind, but from the heart. Most people confess to meeting angels in human form. Angels have typically appeared in whatever form the visited person was most willing to accept, says Wester. A winged young version for children, perhaps, or a benign grandfatherly type for a woman in distress. They seldom appear in dazzling spectacular form so as not to scare people. Or sometimes they do to get one to pay heed. Survivors of near death experiences, however, cite ‘bright beings of light’ that they met along the way. Often angels look the way we assume them to look: with wings, in flowing white robes. But most often they manifest as ordinary folk dressed like you and me. ‘There’s a diversity of angel forms to be celebrated, and there is an element of surprise to be realized,’ writes G. Don Gilmore in Angels, Angels Everywhere, ‘but unless people revive their childlike wonder and imagination, they may never experience such things.’ Lead me HomeWhen my mother was 22, she was required to journey alone from Bombay to Rajasthan to attend the wedding of her favorite sister Eku. She was carrying with her the wedding sarees and the mangalsutra and it was imperative that she made it on time to Dungarpur, an obscure little town near Udaipur. Eku had instructed her to take a train for Delhi. ‘Don’t talk to strangers, and please dress simply to attract minimum attention,’ she’d written. At 4:30 a.m., my mother boarded the Delhi train at Ahmedabad. When the TC made his rounds my mother handed him her ticket. ‘I’m sorry but you are on the wrong train,’ he said to her horror. ‘Please get off at Himmatnagar and board the train to Udaipur.’ Two hours later, her confidence and composure shaken, my mother found herself in Himmatnagar. To her dismay she was told that the train to Udaipur had left and she’d have to wait until the next day to board another. The stationmaster suggested she could take a bus to Udaipur and even sent a coolie along to accompany her. The bus stand was utter pandemonium. Name boards in Gujarati, people everywhere speaking a language she couldn’t understand and so many buses. ‘Are you sure this is the right bus?’ she asked the coolie again from the crowded bus but he barely heard her as he hurried back. An hour later she found herself in another dusty town, boarding yet another ramshackle bus. My mother realized she was hopelessly lost. ‘God please help me,’ she whispered and tried hard not to cry. ‘Daughter, where are you going?’ My mother swung towards the comforting voice to see an old man in a white dhoti kurta and a worn turban approaching her. ‘I felt such immense relief just then,’ my mother recalls ‘that I wanted to sob for joy.’ ‘Dungarpur,’ she whispered, feeling strangely serene. ‘That’s where I’m going as well. Come with me,’ he said. It was pitch dark when the bus pulled into Dungarpur. Pinpoints of lights flickered in the distance. The old man helped her get off the bus and they began walking towards the big building that was the general hospital where Eku worked. ‘I’ll be fine now,’ my mother said to the old man and tried to offer him 10 rupees. He shook his head. His lined face was firm when he said: ‘I must see you home.’ After obtaining Eku’s address, they walked about 20 minutes and reached the cluster of homes that was the nurses’ quarters. Eku met them at the gate and the two sisters fell into each other’s arms crying in relief. My mother turned to introduce her benefactor to Eku. He was gone. She ran to the gate and scanned the empty stretch of road outside. The old man had vanished. Loud and ClearMelissa Ferguson’s incredible story appeared in the Miami News Reader in 1997. One day in April that year, her four-year-old son Bradley was being his usual mischievous self and getting in her way as she worked in the kitchen. Melissa handed him a cinnamon roll and told him to sit on the back steps to eat it while she did the dishes. The Fergusons had an above ground pool out back with a safety gate built around it, usually kept locked. So, Melissa wasn’t especially worried for Bradley’s safety. She finished the dishes and savored the few precious moments of quiet that had come her way. She opened a can of Coke and crashed on the couch. As she rested, a voice calmly said, ‘Bradley is in the pool’. Melissa jumped up and began to head for the window. But, how silly, she said to herself and began to return to the couch when the voice shouted: ‘BRADLEY IS IN THE POOL!’ Melissa walked out of the door, strangely composed. The sight of their cat wet and clinging to the side of the pool greeted her. She saw her son floating face down in the pool. ‘It felt like I floated over as I walked, strangely not feeling anything yet. I grabbed Bradley by the overalls and pulled him out, somehow knowing he had been in there since he first went out. I found no pulse, and yet I was still calm…’ Melissa distinctly remembers feeling her actions were not her own: ‘Something guided me through the house and out the front door and there sat a power line truck. I screamed for them to help me and the men rushed to the house, then took turns doing CPR until the ambulance arrived. Bradley came around by then.’ The doctors are still amazed when they recall Bradley’s instant recovery. They said his blood vessels showed he had been under around fifteen minutes – which very rarely allows a successful resuscitation. Also, Melissa later was told that the power line workers had just taken CPR classes only the month before. Was this mere coincidence? Scruffy MessengerOften these blessed beings are sympathetic lookers-on and simply watch – seeing, knowing and appreciating our thoughts and feelings and acts. Adhiti Gaur, CEO of Zurich Publishing, remembers one rainy afternoon when she met a being she was convinced was an angel. Every Tuesday, Adhiti goes to St Andrew’s church in Bandra to pray and light a novena candle. One such Tuesday she found herself alone in the church. The rain had discouraged even the regulars that day. In the small grotto as Adhiti approached the Mother Mary statue, she felt the familiar calm stealing up on her. Adhiti held her candle between her fingers and struck a match. It fizzled out quickly. She struck another, but it went out just as quickly. ‘How odd,’ she mused and tried again. The candle was fine, the matchsticks weren’t damp. But now, she was half way through her book of matchsticks, yet her candle remained unlit. ‘You don’t need to light it, you know. Just leave it there.’ Adhiti started at the unexpected sound. Turning around, she saw a scruffy old man who looked like he could use a wash. He was grinning from ear to ear. ‘Who are you?’ said Adhiti still thinking about his sudden appearance. ‘Well, I’m in charge of cleaning the wax here. Just leave the candle, no need to light it.’ ‘Oh, but I must. I always do,&rsquo
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