Page 1

THE STORY OF A GOAN FAMILY BY ROMMEL FERNANDES INTRODUCTION I wrote these scripts two years ago. I feel sad when I see families having problems that don’t need to be there. A husband who claims to be a Christian hits his wife or abuses his kids. This may be because he had a bad childhood himself during which he was abused by his father or saw his father hitting his mother. Things can change if we keep God at the centre of our lives by obeying His commands about giving respect to all human beings. Whatever our past may have been, we can have a good future / give a good future to our spouses and kids. There are four chapters in all.

One chapter is devoted to my hero – Zac Poonen (a writer known in Christian circles). I hope you enjoy reading the story about this normal family. Rommel Jan, 2011

DEDICATION To My lovely grandma Florina for teaching me what love is


CHAPTER 1 SAMUEL’S MOTHER-IN-LAW COMES FOR A MEMORABLE VISIT CHARACTERS: Samuel: Sandra’s 44 years old husband Sandra: Samuel’s 39 years old wife Rachel: Their 10 years old daughter Ruth: Her twin sister

Paul: Their 7 years old son Joanne: Sandra’s 65 years old mom Victor: Sandra’s 72 years old dad It’s 9AM. Samuel and Ruth are at the bus stand, waiting for the bus carrying their mother-inlaw / grandma from Goa to arrive. Samuel has not had breakfast as he knows that his adorable mother-in-law is going to get him a lot of goodies to stuff his tummy with. After what seems like ages they see the familiar red, blue and white colored Paulo bus with the word ‘Jesus’ on the front windshield coming. Ruth sees her grandma at a window and waves to her. Her grandma blows her a kiss. Joanne gets off holding a large bag and what looks like a container. Joanne: (To Ruth) Come here my baby! Ruth goes running towards her and puts her arms round her back, hugging her tightly. Joanne kisses both her cheeks. Samuel: (Gives her a hug) Hi mum! Joanne: Hi son Joanne: (To Ruth) Baby, can you hold this? Ruth holds the container. Joanne: Careful baby, there are eggs inside. Ruth: Grandma, you’ve brought eggs all the way from Goa? Joanne: Yea, because I know how much my son-in-law loves them. Samuel: (Pleased) Thanks, mum. Let me help you with the bag. He lifts the bag and his shoulders go down with the weight. He thinks, “Man, this weighs a ton. What has mother-in-law brought this time?” Samuel: (To Joanne) Shall we go? Joanne: Wait, Samuel, there’s more stuff in the dickey. She tells the cleaner to remove a large looking sack. By the bulge at different places, Samuel knows that there are tender coconuts inside. Samuel: I think we’ll need two rickshaws. The cleaner puts the heavy sack in a rickshaw and wipes the sweat on his brow. She tips him. Ruth and her grandma go in one rickshaw and Samuel in another. *Ding dong* Sandra: Hey Mom, so nice to see you again. Joanne: Nice to see you too. Rachel and Samuel: Grandmaaaa! They go running toward her. She hugs them. After climbing 4 storeys with the large sack of tender coconuts on his shoulders, Samuel is panting like a dog. Sandra: What’s the matter with you, honey? Samuel points to the large sack in front of their door. Sandra: Oh! You poor boy! Sit on the bed and take rest. Let me get you something to drink. He gulps down some orange juice.

Sandra: Are you okay now? Samuel: I am. (Smiling) Your mom is responsible for taking my breath away. Sandra: Mom, you didn’t have to get tender coconuts all the way from Goa. Joanne: Baby, our own stuff tastes different from what we buy outside. Samuel: You’re right, mum. You must be tired so take some rest. I’ll see you later. Have got household chores to take care of. Sandra: And what chores might they be, hubby? Samuel: Am going to pay the electricity and internet bills. Sandra: Okay. Get some pastries on your way back. Joanne: Don’t get anything. I’ve got a lot of Goan sweets to eat. She opens the bag and gives the gifts that she has brought for her grandchildren. Their two cats come and brush their bodies against her legs. She lifts them up one by one and strokes their backs. Joanne: (To the cats) I haven’t forgotten you guys. She puts pieces of dry fish in their food bowls. The cats: Meeooow (Meaning you’re so sweet, grandma. Keep coming regularly.) It’s a school holiday for the kids. Ruth goes for football practice and Rachel for her organ class. Ruth and Rachel: See you later, grandma. Paul is playing with the toy truck his grandma has brought for him. Sandra: What can I get for you? Joanne: Get me some juice, if there is. She sits on the rocking chair and her eyes spot the dirty curtains on the windows. Joanne: Sandraaa Sandra: (From the kitchen) Coming, mom. She comes with the juice. Joanne: What is that? Those curtains haven’t been washed for ages! Sandra: Mom, don’t start lecturing me, please. Joanne: Daughter, cleanliness, is next to godliness. God took great pains to dictate the book of Leviticus to Moses because He wanted His people to live in hygienic conditions. He didn’t want them to fall sick. And I don’t want my babies to fall sick. Joanne may not have led a Bible study in her church back home but she knows the Bible very well - like the back of her hand. She spends time with her grandchildren, in their free time, teaching them Biblical values. Samuel is indebted to her because of this. Sandra: Fine. We’ll go and buy curtains tomorrow. It’s 6PM Sandra: (To Samuel) So are we going out to eat tomorrow? Samuel: We are since it’s mum’s birthday. Sandra: I’m impressed that you remember. My guy is always thinking ahead. And where are we going? Samuel: That’s a surprise. Sandra: Please don’t do this to me, honey. You know how I hate surprises. Samuel: Well, if you can be a mystery woman I can be a mystery man too. Sandra: Hope we aren’t going to MacDonald’s. Please tell me.

She kisses him. Samuel: Well, my darling Delilah, that kiss is not going to help you extract anything from your Samson. It will be a nice place. I promise! He gets distracted by the smell from the kitchen. Joanne is busy cooking. Samuel: Something delicious is getting cooked. Smells nice. Sandra: Please, Samuel, tell me where we are going. Samuel: Okay, on one condition. Sandra: What’s that? Samuel: That you won’t have any more week long surprises for me. They annoy me a lot. Sandra: I promise. Samuel: No, we aren’t going to a fast food joint. Don’t underestimate your hubby. He may be thrifty but not on special occasions. Sandra: I know. Was just pulling your leg. Samuel: I was thinking about taking mum to Shahi, the best restaurant in town since their food is awesome. Sandra: Well, I agree that the food there is good but it’s not a nice place for a birthday party. Why don’t we go somewhere where they play nice romantic music? Samuel: You know of any such place? Sandra: I know a nice place where they serve good Chinese food. It’s called Chinatown. Samuel: Chinese food, eh? Am not very good with chopsticks. Sandra: You are not going out to impress your mother-in-law by using chopsticks. You can use a fork and spoon. Samuel: Where is it? Sandra: Near the station. But it’s a posh place and very expensive. The last time our ladies group went there, the person who had taken us out almost got a heart attack after seeing the bill. I can’t risk having my hubby getting a cardiac stroke. Samuel: So what do we do? Take mum to Kamat’s? Look, we need to make this birthday party a memorable one for her. If Chinatown is as you say the best restaurant around we’re taking mum there and I don’t care what the bill comes to. People we love should always come before money! Sandra: Okay. Let me get you their number. You’ll have to call and make reservations. The place overflows on the weekends. Samuel: (On the phone) Hi, I would like to make a reservation for seven please. For tomorrow evening. Reservation-in-charge: At what time, Sir? Samuel: At 9PM. Thank you. Sandra: We are six. Who’s the seventh person? Samuel: That’s a surprise. You will have to wait till tomorrow to find out. He heads towards the kitchen. Sandra: Hey, hey, hey! wait! come back! Samuel: (Looking back) What is it? Sandra: I am asking you nicely to tell me. Why can’t you? Samuel: Because you need to learn to be patient. Ruth and Rachel have gone for a friend’s birthday party.

Samuel walks into the kitchen and smells the aroma of the food that has just been cooked. Samuel: Dinner smells great, mum. What’s the specialty today? Joanne: Beef steak, squid curry and croquettes. Samuel: You made squid curry? I love squid. Joanne: I know Samuel: How do you know? Joanne: I asked your mom, Joyce and she told me. Samuel: (Touched) Thanks for going the extra mile, mum. He thinks, “Mum, you must really like me a lot to do all this. One day I’ll make up for this.” Joanne: Anything for my loving son. Hope it is as good as the way your mom makes it. Samuel: I’m sure it is. After some time… Joanne: Okay, my babies, dinner is ready. Samuel, Sandra and Samuel sit on the floor to eat. Joanne is still standing with an apron on her. Samuel: Mum, you’re not eating? Joanne: Give me a chance to serve you. Samuel says grace. He thanks the Lord for bringing his mother-in-law safe and sound and prays that God may bless her hands. They get busy eating. Because Samuel enjoys the tasty food, his plate is soon empty. Joanne starts to fill it up again. She dumps some more stuff on it. Joanne: There you go. One more juicy steak for you! Sandra: Mum, you’re putting too much on his plate. Samuel thinks, “Am I sensing jealousy here?” Samuel: I see that someone’s jealousy is showing. Sandra’s face darkens. Sandra: What’s there to be jealous about? I don’t want my husband to look like an over-fed swine! Joanne: Sandra, can you mind your words? Samuel: Your daughter is amazing. She wants me to starve when there’s delicious food cooked by someone who loves me. Sandra thinks, “It’s your big mouth that’s amazing!” Samuel: (To Paul) Could you pass me the plate of croquettes please? Paul passes the plate. He takes 2 more pieces and then looking at Sandra, says teasingly… Samuel: Honey, you want some? Sandra: I’m doing fine, thank you. She gives him a sour look which means, “Have you ever seen me having beef?” Joanne: How’s the curry, son? Samuel: Delicious. Can’t think of a better word. Joanne: I’m glad you liked it. Samuel: Mum, you are such a nice cook. He thinks, “Can you pass on some non veg cooking secrets to your daughter too?” Joanne: Thank you. Would you like some salad?

Sandra: Yea, have the salad. Samuel: (To Sandra) Do I look like an ox to you? Greens are for herbivores. Joanne smiles listening to their childish arguments. She suddenly remembers the fish pickle she has brought. Joanne: There’s something else that I got for you, son. I want you to try it. She goes to the kitchen, opens a container, fries the stuff in mins and gets it. Samuel: (To Paul) Your grandma is such a nice lady. She took the pains to find out what my favorite dish is! Sandra: Someone is suffering from amnesia. He seems to have forgotten about all the ‘favorite’ stuff that he has gobbled over the years, cooked for him by his wife or should I say his unpaid servant? Joanne comes back from the kitchen. Samuel: Oh, boy here it comes. Looks like we are having a feast today! Joanne: Here it is. She puts a piece onto his plate. He tastes it. Samuel: It’s tasty. What’s it called? Joanne: Soliye (A Konkani word which means fish pickle) Samuel: So this is soliye? How come no one served this to me before? Oh, I forgot, I’m living with a vegetarian cook. Sandra gives him an acidic look. Joanne: There is bebinca for dessert (Bebinca is a Goan sweet). Samuel: I’m so full. I think I won’t need to eat anything for a week. Joanne: Oh no, son, you are going to eat everyday for as long as I’m here. Samuel: Thanks, mum. Joanne goes back to the kitchen to get them water to drink. Samuel looks at Sandra, and to tease her says… Samuel: I haven’t been pampered like this in years. Sandra: Do you think what you’re saying is funny? Samuel: (Ignoring her question, he continues teasing her) Nor have I ever eaten this well in my life! Sandra: Are you finished with your non sensical teasing? You are crazier than I thought! She thinks, “In about a week’s time, you’ll look like a pig! Joanne gets three glasses of water. She then takes a handkerchief and cleans up Paul’s face. Joanne: (To Paul) Would you like one more piece of bebinca, son? Paul: No grandma, I’m full. She runs her hand through his hair. It’s 8PM Ruth and Rachel come back. They all have a time of family prayer. Sandra: It’s time for bed. Joanne: Did you kids take your vitamins today? Rachel and Ruth: Yes, grandma. The kids sleep on the bed with their grandma in between. Samuel and Sandra sleep on a mattress on the floor.

Ruth and Rachel have told their dad to wake them up at 11PM so they can decorate their apt to give a surprise for their grandma. When the clock strikes 12, she will be 65 years old. Samuel’s phone begins to vibrate at 11PM. It’s the alarm that has gone off. He turns the 0 watt bulb on and goes to Ruth and Rachel and pats them. Samuel: Time to wake up girls. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Rachel: What time is it, dad? Samuel: 11PM They get busy decorating the walls of the front room. Samuel is blowing balloons in the kitchen. He blows too much air into one and it bursts making a loud noise. Ruth: (Tiptoes into the kitchen) Dad, softly! Grandma will wake up before we’re finished. They are finally done. Rachel goes to wake her mom and Paul. Paul’s eyes are closed. He is sound asleep. Sandra is sleeping like a log too, hugging a pillow thinking it’s her husband’s tummy. Rachel: Mom, wake up, it’s time. Rachel plugs the organ wire into a socket and starts playing happy b’day. Ruth strums her guitar. Joanne gets up, sits on the bed and rubs her eyes. She sees a large colorful banner which reads “Happy 65th Birthday, Grandma. We love you – Paul, Ruth, Rachel, Sandra and Samuel.” She looks at the banner with joy. They all sing. She is warmed by the words of the song. Touched, she takes a tissue and wipes her eyes. The kids give her presents. She opens them up and thanks them. Samuel: Here’s something from me too. It’s nothing big. She unwraps the beautifully wrapped present and pulls out a nice looking freshwater pearl necklace. Joanne is speechless. She thinks, “This must have cost a fortune.” Samuel: Do you like it? Joanne: This is so exquisite. It’s beauuutifull. Thank you, son. She gives him a peck on his cheek. She thinks, “My son-in-law is so thoughtful. I’ll bake him one of my special chocolate cakes one of these days.” They all go to sleep. It’s 6AM. Joanne is up already and is in the kitchen frying the eggs that she has brought. Samuel goes to the kitchen. Samuel: Morning, mum. Joanne: Good morning, son Samuel: Did you sleep well? Joanne: Like an angel. They have family devotion and then have breakfast. It’s a beautiful day. Joanne feeds rice grains to sparrows sitting on their window.

The day keeps getting better and better for her. A lot of people call her up to wish her. Among them are her two other daughters, their husbands and their children. Their message is the same, “We miss you, mom. Wish you were here.” It’s 8:20PM Samuel: We’ve got about half an hour to get ready to go out and have dinner. Joanne is standing in front of a mirror wearing a beautiful dress. She takes the necklace gifted by her son-in-law the previous night. She struggles to put it on so Rachel helps her. Rachel: Grandma, you look stunning. Joanne: Thanks, Rachel. Rachel: I wish grandpa was here. Joanne: He would have been if it was not the final of the National Football League today. Rachel: How sad! Sandra chooses a beautiful black saree with a low cut blouse. She put on matching earrings gifted by her sweetheart. At 8:55PM, all of them are at the front door, except Sandra. Samuel: Honeeey Sandra: Yes, yes, I’m coming. I can’t find one of my shoes. Samuel: Not again. Why don’t you keep your shoes in one place? Finally she spots it. She says to the shoe, “Oh, there you are.” Sandra: Hubby, can you come here for a minute? Samuel: What is it now? Sandra: I wanted to ask you something. (She looks at his bowtie and reaches up to straighten it). She thinks, “Don’t you look at yourself in a mirror before going out?” She admires him for a minute. Samuel: What is it you wanted to ask? We’re getting late. Sandra: I must say, I love how you look in a shirt rather than a t-shirt. She thinks, “Sometimes my hubby has no sense of style whatsoever.” Samuel: Is that why you called me here? To tell me that? Okay. Thank you. Sandra: Hubby, can you tell me now? Samuel: Tell you what? Sandra: Who is it? Samuel: What are you talking about? Sandra: Who’s the special guest? Samuel: You’ll know in an hour’s time. Sandra: What’s the big deal? Why can’t you tell me now? Samuel: Because I want it to be a pleasant surprise for you. Sandra: Forget about it! Sandra drives them. The car continues to circle the parking lot. Samuel points to an empty spot. She parks it. In the restaurant. Samuel: I made a reservation for seven for 9PM. Where is our table? Head waiter: You are just in time. Right this way, Sir.

They all take their seats at the table. The dinner table is covered with a red tablecloth and has candles on top of it. A live band is playing soft romantic music. Sandra: Can we order something to drink? Samuel: Sure They order drinks and starters and begin to talk. After some time… Rachel: Dad, I’m hungry. When are we going to order food? Samuel: Once our special guest arrives. Sandra looks at her mom. Her thoughts are elsewhere. She is starting to miss her husband. He hasn’t called her up to wish her yet. She checks her watch under the table. Suddenly, her cell phone rings. She takes it out of her handbag and looks at it. It’s Samuel’s mom Joyce calling to wish her. Joyce: Hi Joanne. How was your day? Joanne: Great. Guess where I am? Joyce: Where? Joanne: In Mumbai, sitting with Samuel and the kids in a nice restaurant. Joyce: Are you having fun? Joanne: Yea Joyce: Enjoy yourself. Give my regards to the kids. Joanne: I will. Joyce: Byeeee Joanne: Thanks for calling. Goodnight. Samuel’s phone vibrates. Samuel: Will you excuse me for a moment? I have to take this call. His father-in-law, the special guest he was talking about, has arrived and is waiting downstairs. Samuel comes back with someone who is wearing a Roger Moore mask and a Clint Eastwood hat. Samuel: Look mom, dad is coming in with James Bond! Ruth: Grandpaaa Sandra chuckles in amusement. Embarrassed, Joanne covers her face with the menu. Samuel leads him to their table. Samuel: Okay everyone, we’ve got a special guest tonight. I’ll call him Mr.Bond. Do you know why? Because he’s the one who is responsible for our strong family bond! If he hadn’t entrusted his daughter into my care 12 years ago, we wouldn’t have been sitting here. Victor takes his mask and hat off. He has shaved his moustache and has had a haircut. His dinner jacket makes him look younger than he is. Joanne’s face glows with joy when she sees him. Victor holds the woman he loves. Victor: How’s my princess? Joanne: Fine. You came? Victor: How could I miss my sweetheart’s birthday celebration?

Joanne: (She whispers in his ear) I like your haircut. It suits you so well. You look younger without that Charlie Chaplin moustache. Victor: Thanks. I wanted to impress you. Joanne: Today was the football final, wasn’t it? You missed it to be here? Victor: Yea. To me you are more important than all the football matches in the world. Touched, she looks into his eyes affectionately. Victor: You look so beautiful with that necklace. You look like a queen. She offers him an endearing smile. He stares at her mesmerized. Joanne: It was a gift from our son. Victor: Talking about our son, he’s the reason I could be on time today. He arranged for the flight ticket. Samuel: Dad, you don’t have to sing my praises from the roof top. Sandra looks at her sweetheart with admiration. Things that her hubby does for her parents mean a lot to her. Samuel orders a bottle of expensive vintage wine. The waiter gets one and pours the liquid into glasses for the adults. Sandra swirls it and lifts the glass to her nose. She thinks, “Hmm, nice wine.” Victor: (Raising his wine glass in the air) To my love’s happiness, health and long life. May she be the grandmother of two more grandchildren through my Samuel and Sandra. Samuel: Amen to that. Sandra: Oh, dad please Samuel: (Whispers in her ear) To my first and only love and the mother of my soon to be 5 kids. Sandra makes a face which means, “You brat! You’ll never give up, will you?” Sandra: (In his ear) To our love, may it last forever. They clink their glasses. Samuel: (To a waiter) Excuse me, would you mind taking a picture of us? Sandra: Dad, we want this to be a romantic evening for mum. Ruth: Yea, Grandpa. Rachel: So we want you to kiss grandma. Victor: I, I, you mean, right here? Rachel: Yea He gives her a nice passionate kiss. Joanne’s heart skips a beat Ruth and Rachel: Hooray Sandra’s hand slips under the table and reaches out for Samuel’s. Samuel: (In Sandra’s ear) Don’t they make a cute couple? They begin sipping their wine and having their meal. Samuel looks at his mother-in-law. Candle flames reflect in her sparkling eyes. After some time Joanne looks sad as the happy day is going to end. Samuel: Mum, we have one more gift for you. He hands her an envelope.

Joanne: It’s been raining gifts since last night. You didn’t have to give me one more. Thanks. She is about to put it in her handbag. Rachel: No, grandma, open it up, right here. She opens it and pulls out a piece of paper. Inside it are return flight tickets for two to the Maldives. She looks at the matter on the paper and recognizes her son-in-law’s handwriting. She reads the stuff loudly: Grandma/Mum, You have always been there for us when we needed you. Over the years you have showered us with love and affection. We thought of doing something small for you. We have decided to send you to a resort in the Maldives for 7 days of togetherness with grandpa/dad. We hope you enjoy it. We love you. Your loving and thankful kids and grandkids, Paul, Ruth, Rachel, Sandra and Samuel Joanne thinks, “Nobody’s ever done anything so moving like this for me before.” She fights back the urge to break into tears. Sandra was not aware of this surprise. Only the kids and Samuel knew about it. Since she handles the finances, she knows that her husband worked over time to make this trip for her parents possible. She is flabbergasted and an overwhelming sense of delight lights her face. She looks at her sweetie, Samuel with loving eyes. He returns the look with a, “I didn’t do anything big” smile. Rachel: Grandma, we really hope you have a good time. Joanne cannot contain her emotions anymore. Tears flow down her cheeks. Joanne: I’m sorry for becoming emotional. I couldn’t stop crying after reading this. She dries her eyes. Joanne: Thanks, my babies. She leans over the table and kisses her grandchildren, daughter and son. She thanks God… Joanne: Father in heaven, I thank you for this unforgettable evening. Thank you for giving me an understanding husband, three adorable grandchildren, a loving daughter and a large hearted son. Keep them happy. Always. Amen. Samuel pays the bill and leaves the waiter a generous tip. Samuel: (While walking towards the parking lot) So mum, did you enjoy the evening? Joanne: This was one of the happiest days of my life, son! Back in their apt, all have gone to sleep. Sandra and Samuel are in the kitchen. Sandra: (With a look of affection) Thank you dear. We owe this happy evening to you. Samuel: Your mom is so great. I owed it to her. Whenever she comes down, she spends hours cooking delicious meals for me. Sandra: You really outdid yourself once again with that holiday package for mom and dad. Samuel: My pleasure. I was always thinking of sending your parents for a vacation abroad since they’ve been so wonderful. Sandra: (Looking dreamy eyed) And when are we both going for a vacation?

Samuel: Soon, pretty soon. Sandra: How soon? Samuel: In three months time. Sandra: Threeee months? Samuel: Three months isn’t that long, honey. Sandra: Better late than never, I guess. Samuel: Can I ask you something? Sandra: Anything, my dear. Samuel: Do you have any idea how beautiful you look in a saree? Sandra: Thank you Samuel: And sexy too. Hearing that she digs her nails into his skin. Samuel: You’re making me purr, my cat. Samuel hugs her. Sandra: Honey, can you hug me tighter? Samuel: You want to get breathless, eh? Sandra: I just want to feel my sweetheart’s heartbeat. They look at each other intimately. Samuel’s hands slowly move up and down her back. Sandra rubs his chin. Samuel: Did you see the love your mom felt for your dad in her eyes today. Will you still have that same kind of love for me after 36 years of togetherness? Sandra: Depends. If you dress well and keep your hair long, yes. Samuel: Whaaat? (Sarcastically) That was very touching to hear. Sandra: Sorry, that was a silly answer. (She winks) I was teasing you. If you can tease me, can’t I? Samuel: Sure, you can Sandra: Honey, how much do you love me? Samuel: (Looking into her eyes) More than everybody else in this whole wide world. And I just want you to be happy. Always. Sandra: I am because of the wonderful sweetheart God has given to me. I have never seen a man like him in my life. *Smooch* she kisses Samuel’s cheek. He plants a kiss on her lips and pats her on her bottom. Arm in arm, they waltz in the kitchen with Samuel humming a love song. Sandra: Hmmm, Samuel, you’re so romantic. Samuel: Am I? Sandra: You are Samuel: That’s because you bring out the romance in me. She rubs her nose against his. Lights out

CHAPTER 2 THE BIBLE STUDY CHARACTERS: Samuel D’silva: Sandra’s husband Sandra: Samuel’s wife Rachel: Their 10 yrs old daughter Ruth: Her twin sister Paul: 7 yrs old son Arvind Patel: Samuel’s bosom friend Carol: Arvind’s wife Esther: Arvind’s 9 yrs old daughter Rajesh Pillai: Samuel’s close friend Vandana: Rajesh’s wife Zac Poonen: Bible teacher Vandana is Zac Poonen’s daughter in the Lord. Years before when she was a student, she had come to know the Lord by reading his book ‘Amazing facts.’ Rajesh and Vandana have invited him over to stay with them for few days. He has three days more before he leaves for Mosbach, Germany for a Bible teaching assignment at a Deeper Life Conference. It’s Tuesday Rajesh: Uncle, tomorrow we’ll be having a Bible Study. I was wondering if you could teach. Zac: Sure. How much time will I have? Rajesh: You can teach for as long as you want. But there’ll be only 3 families. Their church consists of just three families – his, Arvind’s and Samuel’s. Zac: Vandana has told me how many families your church is made up of. What do you mean by, “But there’ll be only 3 families?” Is God interested in numbers? The Bible says that where 2 or 3 are gathered, God is there in their midst. The Christian Fellowship Centre in Bangalore was started with just a handful of families. Rajesh: I’m sorry, Uncle. Zac thinks, “The Spirit of Babylon has contaminated every nook and corner of Christendom. People are only interested in quantity now a days! They care two hoots about the quality of disciples. The great harlot – The Roman Catholic church has a lot of members worldwide but God isn’t impressed.” Zac: That’s okay, son. Wednesday, 3:00 PM, in the D’silva apt Samuel is calling Vandana… Samuel: Hello, Vandana Vandana: Who’s calling? Samuel: It’s me, Samuel She thinks, “Why do you always speak so softly?” Vandana: I can’t hear you clearly. Hold on, let me go out to the balcony. Samuel: Can you hear me clearly now? Vandana: Yea, much better. Samuel: It’s about Uncle Zac. Does he eat everything?

Vandana: Yea, he is not the fussy type. Samuel: I am thinking of ordering Chicken Tikka Biryani. It’ll be a little spicy. Vandana: That’s fine. He loves spicy food. Samuel: Great. What about pastries? Vandana: No problem Samuel: See you at 7PM. Vandana: Okay Samuel: One more thing. When you reach our compound, can you honk thrice so we know you are down? Vandana: I’ll do that. Samuel: Thanks. Bye. Vandana: Byeee. Paul is still lying on the bed having his afternoon nap. Samuel: Paul, get your ass out of the bed. We’ve got an important guest coming. Ruth is on the computer, chatting with a friend. Sandra: Baby, could you turn that off? We’ve got things to do. Ruth: Sure, mom. Sandra: (To Samuel) Honey, what else do you think I need to prepare? Samuel: Just a small request. Don’t make any of your nutritious, half boiled vegetarian stuff today. Just make something tasty with chicken. Rachel has gone down to fetch a bouquet to welcome Uncle Zac with. Ruth is keeping all her father’s books and cds in place. She enjoys doing that. Sandra has finished frying chicken pakoras and is preparing ladoos. Samuel is cleaning the toilet. Rachel comes back with a bouquet and gets busy cleaning their apt with a broom. Paul is ready with a mop and a small bucket of water. Paul: Sis, you missed that area near the door. Ruth: Paul, stop being a dick. Don’t try to tell your elder sister what to do. When they are done with the cleaning… Samuel: Okay kids, can you come here for a minute? Ruth, Rachel and Paul: Yes, dad. What is it? Samuel: Let’s practice the welcoming ceremony for our guest. Where’s your mom? Rachel: Mom is making ladoos Samuel: Tell her to come here for a minute. Sandra: What’s it, honey? Samuel: We need to practice something. They are all assembled near the front door. Samuel: Okay, pretend that I am Zac Poonen and welcome me. Sandra, you pretend that you are me. Ruth hands over the bouquet to Samuel. The others clap softly. Samuel thinks, “My, what a reception. Did everyone skip lunch today?” Samuel: Come on, girls! That’s not a warm welcome! Make a little bit of noise.

They do that. Samuel: That’s much better. Samuel and Sandra shake hands. His handshake is a little limp. Sandra: Boy, put some life into your shake. Samuel: When I shake hands with girls, I don’t grab their hands. I always give them this kind of a handshake. Sandra is pleased with her faithful husband. She thinks, ‘But sweetheart, I am not any girl, I am your wife! You can grab my hand.” They all go in different directions to get ready. Sandra has finished cooking and is busy painting her face with lipstick and powder. Samuel looks at her and thinks, “Honey, at least today, could you tone down the make-up a little bit? There’s a man of God coming. Not a Femina beauty contest judge!” They are all dressed up. Samuel is sitting on the bed. He looks nervous. Sandra: What are you so nervous about? Samuel: A great man of God is coming to our house today. Sandra thinks, “So? You need to chill, hubby!” He looks at the walls of their living room cum bedroom and thinks, “This apt is badly in need of a paint job.” Ruth and Rachel are reading the Times of India and are sitting on the edge of the bed with their legs crossed. Samuel: Babies, when the man of God from Kerala comes, please don’t park your asses on the bed like that with your legs crossed, okay? In Kerala, it’s an offense to elders, when kids sit like that. Ruth and Rachel: Sure, dad Sandra: Honey, at what time are they going to get here? Should I make gazar ka halwa? Samuel: There’s no time for that. They should be here any minute now. I’ve told Vandana to honk thrice to let us know that they have reached. Sandra: Is there anything missing? Have we forgotten something? Samuel: Not anything that I know of. She looks at his collar. Sandra: There is something I’ve spotted. Samuel: What? She goes near him and fixes the collar of his green colored shirt and runs her fingers through his few hair. Sandra: Honey, why have you applied so much oil? She thinks, “You look like an Uncle!” Samuel: This is special ayurvedic hair growth oil given by a colleague. Don’t you want hair to sprout back on my scalp? A car horn sounds thrice. All of them go to the window. It is closed to keep the mosquitoes away but they can see through as it is transparent.

Paul presses his face against the glass to get a better look and sees that like his dad, Uncle Zac doesn’t have much hair on his head. Paul thinks, “From up here, our guest looks a lot like dad.” After few mins, there is a knock on their door. Sandra gets up and straightens her saree. Vandana: Hello, guys this is Uncle Zac. Ruth hands the flowers over to him. Zac pinches her cheek. Samuel: Hello Uncle, I am Samuel. Zac: Praise the Lord! Samuel: It’s a real pleasure to meet you! Sandra goes forward to shake his hand. Zac: You must be Sandra. Sandra: Yes, I am Zac: Vandana used to mention you in her letters. How nice to see you. Sandra, “This man, in his later 60s, just climbed 4 stories and isn’t even gasping for breath. How impressive! Must have been an athlete when he was young. I need to take Samuel regularly for early morning jogs. Don’t want him to stop for air at every storey by the time we lose our natural teeth.” They all get settled. Zac, Rajesh and Samuel sit on the bed. Sandra and Vandana sit on the floor (the way sadhus sit) near the kitchen entrance. Paul sits on an inexpensive Chinese carpet in between his sisters. After some time, Arvind comes with his wife Carol and daughter Esther. She is Rachel and Ruth’s best friend. She sits next to them. While people are talking to one another… Esther: (Whispers to Sandra) Hey, Auntie. What’s smelling so good in the kitchen? Sandra: (With a twinkle in her eyes) Chicken pakoras! Rajesh, Arvind and Samuel take turns in leading the Bible study meeting and teaching. It is Arvind’s turn to lead today. Arvind: (Looks to Rajesh and Samuel) Shall we start? Rajesh and Samuel: Yea Arvind: Rajesh, can you lead us in prayer, please? He prays. Arvind: Let’s sing, “When we walk with the Lord.” Song number 99 from Songs of Zion. They finish singing. Arvind: Any choice? Rachel: Yea. “Master, speak! They servant heareth.” Song number 96. Once they are done with singing that… Arvind: We are very happy to have a special guest in our midst who is going to share from God’s word. He needs no introduction. I remember when Samuel, Rajesh and I were working on a gospel team with a Christian organization many years ago, we used to carry his books in our suitcases. I think our suitcases had more of his books than clothes.

Sandra thinks, “Thank God, my hubby hasn’t changed one bit. If he had spent on clothes these days, I wouldn’t have been able to do shopping every month for myself.” Arvind: That’s the sort of influence this man of God had on us. And we got both rebuked and encouraged by his writings. Today, we are what we are because of his ministry. Bro.Zac, we want you to share what’s on your heart today. Zac thinks, “Young man, don’t put me on a pedestal. All that I wrote was given to me by God.” Zac: Thanks for that introduction. It encouraged me. It made me realize that I didn’t waste my life when I chose to obey God and become His servant when I was a young man. There are some things that I want to get off my chest today. If you get offended by my bluntness, I am sorry. I am not here to give you sugarcoated capsules. Does anyone have a copy of the old version of The Living Bible? Ruth: I have, Uncle. Zac: Great. Can you read Ephe.4:29 for me, please? She quickly flips through her Living Bible and reads it in a loud and clear voice. Ruth: Don’t use bad language. Say only what is good and helpful to those you are talking to, and what will give them a blessing. Zac: Thank you, baby. Young people, there are some words that we need to get rid of. One of them is the word used instead of the word donkey and the other one is what we do as soon as we get up by going to the toilet in the morning. You don’t need such words in your vocabulary! Samuel’s daughters think, “Ass and shit? Those words are the staple diet in our house. We get to hear them from dad’s mouth everyday!” Samuel thinks, “How does Uncle Zac know what happens in our apt? I hope this doesn’t have to do with Sandra leaking family secrets to Vandana.” Samuel looks in Sandra’s direction. She looks at him. They stare into each others eyes for a split second. By that look he knows that she is not the one who has exposed him cause if she were guilty, she wouldn’t have looked in his eyes. Zac: Some of us evangelicals have the worst tongues in the world. I am surprised that we are still having growth in some of our churches cause we surely aren’t attracting any members with our speech. If your church is not growing it may be because your foul tongue is keeping people way. Arvind, Rajesh and Samuel are examining themselves. When they left the gospel team to become tent makers they had a vision to start a church. But they haven’t seen any new person getting added. The Holy Spirit speaks to them powerfully through Zac and tells them that it is because of their foul tongues that none of their office colleagues in their locality are sitting for the Bible study that day. Samuel: On Sundays we may act like cherubs but how do we act on weekdays on the way to the office, in the office and when we get back home? We can’t hide anything from one another, the truth always come out. All the men sit in silence and try not to look into each other’s eyes. Samuel thinks, “This man is a prophet!” Sandra is thinking, “For a long time, I’ve been waiting for someone to come and preach this message to my husband. Thank God He has sent Uncle Zac today, the person whom my husband respects a lot.”

Zac: Take stock today and ask yourself – After I became a believer, what’s changed in my life? If you still use bad words, you’re still stuck in the past. If God is special to you, you are going to have to bridle your tongue. The men have turned beet red by now. Zac: The unfortunate thing is that we forget what was preached just minutes before. So at the end of a meeting, we are at the same place in our Christian life where we were when the meeting began. I’ve lost my voice preaching to such forgetful people in CFC, Bangalore. I’ve felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Sandra thinks, “Uncle Zac there is a brick wall sitting just besides you, in a green colored shirt!” Zac: You want to know what my biggest fear is? Seeing people who I have preached to getting roasted in hell! Something bad doesn’t have to happen to you before you start taking God’s word seriously. Suddenly two of the D’silva family’s cats who had been napping all this while wake up hearing Zac’s loud voice. They yawn, stretch their front legs and then go from the kitchen to the living room. One of them, goes and sits on Rachel and the other, to Samuel’s horror goes and sits on Zac Poonen’s lap. Zac: Looks like even cats want to sit for this Bible study. Samuel stares at his feet, embarrassed to even look around. He thinks, “How embarrassing this is. Sandra, why didn’t you give them a lot of fish this afternoon? If you had done that, they would still have been napping.” Zac: Cats are lovely creatures. I am a cat lover too. Sandra: (Gets up and goes to lift the cat) Uncle, let me take him back to the kitchen. Zac: No, let Tommyboy remain here. He’ll be in his own world. We can learn a lesson or two from cats. All they care about is eating and sleeping. If only we were focused like them on just one or two areas! And they give a lot of pleasure to their owners. Do we give pleasure to God? Samuel makes a fake cough sound to get Sandra’s attention but she doesn’t look at him. Zac: So where was I? Samuel thinks, “Errr… something about… you know… not using words like ‘ass’? Ruth: You were talking about not using bad language. Zac: Right. Why should we stop using foul language? Because we want to help the people God has placed us amongst! We want to give them a blessing. My throat is dry. Must be the change in the weather. Can I have a glass of water? Sandra: Uncle, warm or cold? Zac: Normal. I’ve got a cold. Sandra gets him a glass of water and a half empty bottle of Kingfisher mineral water. Zac: Thank you. He gulps a little water down and looks at the bottle thinking, “So the beer guys are in the water business nowadays?” Samuel thinks, “Uncle, can you preach for 2 mins on the dangers of drinking beer? My sweetheart needs such a sermon!” God grants his heart’s desire. Zac: You know looking at this bottle of Kingfisher, I remembered something. I was invited to a Christian wedding few years ago, and you know what was served there? Kingfisher beer! Now I

know that Christians serve beer in Germany. That’s fine. But we need to be culturally sensitive. Our culture is different. In India, drinking alcohol is considered a vice by the non Christians, so if you have beer or other alcoholic drinks, you automatically lose your influence amongst your non Christian friends. Hearing that, Samuel feels like clapping even though he is from a conservative Brethren background. He prays, “Heavenly Father, please speak to Sandra today so she will give up drinking for ever.” Zac: Have you ever wondered why people can’t tell the difference today between a Christian and a non Christian? It is because of our speech and behaviour! When you open your mouth, it stinks of beer! How long are you going to live like this? Your unsaved friends and relatives are on the way to ruin their lives. The question is, are you going to stop them or keep on filling your tummy with beer? Samuel thinks, “Sadly, my sweetheart never listened to me when I broached this subject. Hope she listens to Uncle Zac at least.” Zac: What is important to you? The souls of your unsaved friends or beer? The word of God pierces Sandra’s heart. She can hear her non Christian friends screaming in hell fire. They are saying, “Sandra, you knew the truth but you never told it to us. Instead you had Belo beer with us. Why, Sandra, why? Why did you do this to us?” She confesses her sins to God, “Father, forgive me. From today onwards I will never touch alcohol. Not even when I go to the weddings of my Roman Catholic relatives.” Zac: My topic today was the tongue. I don’t know why God made me talk about beer. He had a purpose I think. Going back to the tongue, this little member of your body may have been causing trouble to others for the last 15 years. You have got to let this thing be controlled. Suddenly the Devil speaks to Samuel, “So are you ready to get your ass kicked? That’s what will happen in the office if you remain mum! You aren’t going to take old Zac’s words seriously, are you?” Samuel tells him, “Get behind me Devil, I will obey God and I don’t care what happens to me as a result of that!” Devil, “Al right, my boy, you can kiss your Manager’s ass!” Samuel prays in his mind, “Father God, I’ve been an ass, a piece of shit, err, sorry, a bad person. Please forgive me. I don’t want to use bad words from now onwards. Give me another chance with my colleagues.” Zac: When you’re passionate about something, you find a way to do it regardless of the sacrifices you have to make. God has given us this thing called self control. He gulps some more water. Zac: To get control over your tongue, you don’t need my prayers. Nor do you have to go to a television evangelist. There is no need of jumping through hoops. You have to contact God directly, instead of another human being intervening. Sandra thinks, “Uncle Zac, don’t we need other people’s prayers?” Zac: Some of us evangelicals are still acting like Roman Catholics. We still haven’t given up the habit of going to God through a mediator! Samuel thinks, “That’s the message needed in this house, Uncle Zac. You’re really a prophet who knows what the need of the hour is! For years, whenever a problem arose, my Sandra has been running to her friends first for prayers and counseling. And most of those friends have been

boys! How that has hurt me. What am I here for then? How would she feel if I did the same thing and went to restaurants to pour out my heart to my Christian lady colleagues?” Zac: A lot of married women now a day immediately rush to their pastors or elderly married men instead of talking to God or their husbands first. They think that their husbands are not mature enough. The word of God is very clear on this evil. It says in the book of Corinthians that you need to ask any questions you have to your husbands. Even though the great apostle Paul had an answer to almost everything, he didn’t tell the sisters to come to him. Unlike the pastors of today, he was not a womanizer. No wonder God used him, till the last period of his life. Sandra thinks, “Oh God, what have I done? How insensitive I have been! I have ignored Samuel all this while. Please forgive me.” Zac: Do you know that prayer calls from America are outsourced to Indian call centres? This means that American evangelicals who call thinking that they are speaking to a mature Christian brother or sister are actually speaking to a non Christian who is sitting in India and pretending to be a Christian! Except Samuel and Sandra, all in the room are thinking, “What???” Zac sees the big question mark on their faces. Zac: If you don’t believe me, use Google to do a search. Isn’t it shocking? Samuel thinks, “I wish my mom heard you today, Uncle. She depends too much on such prayer lines.“ Zac: You will gain nothing by using such phone lines. Those call centre reps are just regurgitating canned words. They have little interest in actually resolving your problem. They are more interested in finishing the call quickly. Their fake sympathy is unnecessary and a wastage of time. Use the direct heavenly line. Sandra thinks, “Why did I not believe Samuel when he told me this? I need to listen to him before he stops revealing to me what God has taught him in his quiet time.” Zac: The tongue can’t be controlled through miracles. If it could be controlled that way, James would not have written a big chapter on bridling the tongue. Samuel thinks, “Some of the people who have the sharpest tongues are those who claim to be baptized with the spirit! Thank God my Sandra is not like that anymore.” Zac: The only way to get victory over your tongue and over all sin is by having self control. You can attend a lot of prayer meetings and tell a lot of people to pray for you, but if you are not going to have self control you will be a defeated Christian. You will have to fight your own battles with the help of the Holy Spirit. Sandra looks on attentively. Zac: How is the fruit of the Spirit formed? Magically, through prayer? Of course not! It is only formed by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life! He will take you through trying situations. You can’t be rude when someone is rude. You can’t be cranky. Samuel thinks, “Yea, working in the office will not be the same for me from now on.” Zac: That is how you will grow. Don’t worry if you are moving forward only at a snail’s pace. The good thing is that you are moving forward, closer to Jesus. Samuel thinks, “This means that if I want to grow by leaps and bounds I’ll need to put up with all the irritations in my office and at home! Oh, God help me, please.” Zac: You can make a promise to God today about being careful with your tongue and you can keep this promise only if you make it from your heart. Go ahead and try to do what I said. Paul, drowsy, struggles to keep his eyes open.

Zac: What do you want? Paul thinks, “I just want to sleep.” Zac: Do you want to spend the rest of your life on earth being of no use to God or men? Or do you want God to use you to do what He has sent you on earth for? All the adults in the room think, “The latter!” Zac: If you want to forget everything you have heard today, that’s your business. But one day you will have to give an answer to God. Saying that he wraps up the sermon. Zac: Any questions? Ruth: I have one, Uncle. Will the angels kick us out from heaven’s door if we use words like ‘dick’? I called my brother that today. Sandra stares daggers at her for using that word in front of Zac. Zac: I’m going to say this in a plain and simple manner so there is no misunderstanding. No foul mouthed person can enter heaven. The Bible is clear on that throughout. Ruth: Can you give a verse to prove that? Zac thinks, “So many questions! That kid is smart.” Samuel thinks, “My girl has got her reasoning ability from me. Keep asking questions, baby.” Zac: If you open the old version of The Living Bible to 1 Sam 20:30, you will read that King Saul called his son Jonathan a “son of a bitch!” When he said those words, he was in a very angry mood. Where is Saul today? Ruth: In hell? Zac: Exactly! So when you are angry watch out. We all make mistakes. I’ve made a lot of mistakes too. But if we repent, God will forgive us. We should learn from each other’s mistakes. The Bible is your rudder. It is the only thing that will keep you straight. Samuel thinks, “Uncle Zac sure does know his stuff!” Zac: By the way, that word which King Saul used is shortened and used by a lot of husbands when they get angry with their wives. I don’t know how they can address their wives in such a manner! Samuel thinks, “I think I have been a good husband to my wife. I have called her that word only once and that too only in my mind.” Arvind: Okay, if there are no more questions, let’s pray and close. I request Uncle Zac to pray and close this meeting. Zac does that. Samuel thinks, “That was such a simple prayer without any flowery language that pastors normally use to impress people!” They get up and shake hands with one another. Sandra: (To Zac) Uncle, tea, coffee or juice for you? Zac: I’d love a cup of black tea. She passes the snacks. Samuel call Shahi Restaurant and tells the order taker to hurry with the order. After some time… Samuel: Hey Rachel! Pass some more pakoras over to Uncle! Zac: No, I’ve had enough (He pats his tummy). (He then whispers to Samuel) I need to use the toilet urgently.

Samuel: (Thinking the pakoras have upset his stomach) Were the pakoras spicy? Zac: No, I need to piss. Samuel: (Relieved) Okay, the bathroom is that way. Let me show you. Please wear these slippers. When Zac is inside passing urine, Samuel hands over a copy of his favourite Zac Poonen book – ‘Knowing God’s Ways’ to Paul and tells him to get an autograph. Zac comes out. The toilet flushes in the background. Zac: I feel so relieved. I don’t want to get stones in my kidneys at this old age. Samuel thinks, “The Christians in Germany don’t have to worry about kidney stones. Beer flushes them out it seems.” Samuel: I see. Zac goes and sits where he was sitting before. Paul goes to him. Paul: Uncle, did you write this book? Zac: Yea Paul: Dad told me to get your autograph. Samuel, “Kid, why did you have to tell him ‘my’ name?” Zac: Sure. The ladies are talking between themselves in the kitchen. Sandra: (To Carol and Vandana) Do you like my new saree? Carol: It’s nice Sandra: A handpicked gift from my hubby. Vandana: Good choice as usual. Carol: There is a sale going on in Trendz showroom. They have ladies wear and kids wear. Can we go there tomorrow? Vandana: For how long will it be there? Carol: Till Sunday I think. Sandra: I’ll be having a lot on my plate till Saturday and can come only on Sunday. Carol: Fine, we can go there on Sunday in the evening. Vandana: That’s fine with me too. Paul is still talking to Zac Paul: We have a lot of your books in our house. Why haven’t you written any story books for children? Zac: Because I am not good at that. Samuel is overhearing the conversation from the kitchen and thinking, “Why are you asking so many questions? Do you know who he is?” Samuel: Paul!!!! Sandra hears Samuel calling Paul from the kitchen so she turns around and sees Samuel looking in the direction of their front room. Sandra: Honey, is everything okay? What are you doing here? Samuel turns around. Sandra: What’s that on your face? Samuel: Where?

Sandra removes it from below his lips. Sandra: It was the remnant of a chicken pakora you had in a hurry. Samuel thinks, “How long could it have been there? I hope Uncle Zac didn’t see it.” He looks back in the direction of the bedroom. Zac: What’s your name? Paul: Paul Zac: You have a nice biblical name. Paul: I know. Dad, told me that he wanted to name me Zechariah (Paul doesn’t know that Zac is a short form of Zechariah). But mom didn’t agree to it. I think that would have been a long and boring name. Did you hear someone calling my name from the kitchen just now? Zac: No Samuel thinks, “It’s time for me to head over there before this kid causes me further embarrassment.” He goes and sits near Zac. He is nervous. Samuel: Uncle, do you want to see pictures of my kids? Zac: Your kids? Samuel: Yea Zac: Sure He hands over an album to him. When Zac is going thought the album, God puts a word in his mouth about Samuel and Sandra’s future. Zac: I need to tell you something very important. Samuel: Speak Uncle, I am listening. Zac: Can you call your wife too? Samuel: Sure. Sandraaaa Sandra: What’s it, Samuel? Samuel: Uncle Zac wants to say something to us. Zac: God is going to use you both mightily in this country for the next 30 years. Only be faithful to Him as you are now. Samuel is humbled by those prophetic words and he tries to hold back his tears. He speaks to God in his mind, “Father God, are you going to use ‘me’? I am a nobody. I come from an insignificant village in Goa. When I was little no one had any respect for me. Unlike my multi-talented wife, I am not good at anything. I can only serve coffee to people at the end of a church service. I have failed you so many times. Are you going to use a person like me?” Zac: The Lord says, “You have been faithful with little things, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.” Let me pray for you. All in the apartment stretch their hands towards the couple as Zac prays. Their friends are happy for them. There is no jealousy in their church. They all love one another. Sandra wishes that Samuel get the gift of heavenly tongues during that prayer. At the end of the prayer when Samuel opens his mouth she learns that he still speaks only in English. After having the biryani and pastries, all the guests leave the aparment. Samuel closes the door. Samuel: Kids, you did a good job today. Keep it up. I am sorry for using bad words in this house all these years. Please forgive me. I promise that from today onwards I am not going to use such words. You can go to sleep now. Your mom and I need to talk some important stuff.

Ruth calls Paul and tells him. Ruth: Bro, I need to apologize to you Paul: For what? Ruth: Remember what happened today, when I was brooming? I had called you a bad name. Please forgive me. Paul: I don’t remember. Ruth: You are such a cutie. She hugs him tightly and kisses him on both his cheeks. Then the three change their clothes, turn the bedroom lights off and go to bed. Sandra is in the kitchen, looking into a mirror and admiring her face. She wants to prepare her face for a good night kiss from her husband so she wipes all the powder off her face. Samuel hates powder. Samuel sticks his head in the kitchen door. He looks at her and thinks, “What a beauty! I can’t believe I got to marry one of the most beautiful women on earth! And God just revealed to me that I am going to live with her for 30 more years. Halleluiah!” He thanks God, “Father, thank you for giving me a wife who has both a beautiful body and a beautiful heart.” He suddenly remembers what he had read on a book on marriage. It said, “Never let romance leave your life after your wedding ceremony.” He thinks, “I won’t let that happen!” Sandra sees him through the mirror. Sandra: Hey cutie! How long have you been looking? (Seductively) Don’t you want to come in here? Samuel: Yea Sandra: (Her eyelids flutter. She’s still talking to Samuel using the mirror) Come in, my love. He goes near her and touches the ends of her hair. She turns her pretty face and smiles at Samuel. Samuel: Honey, the pakoras were really tasty. Thank you for everything. Sandra: Boy, what kind of a thank you is that? He holds Sandra around the waist and pulls her closer. He playfully pinches her cheeks. Samuel: How about this? (He pulls his lips closer to hers and they kiss). Sandra: That was much better. Samuel: Honey, I have a confession to make tonight. Sandra: Sure, go ahead. Samuel: I am sorry for using dirty words for all these years. Please forgive me. Sandra: Thy sins are forgiven, son. There is a condition though. Samuel: (Smiles ) Thank you. What’s that? Sandra: You have to give a goodnight kiss to your wife all your life without her reminding you. Samuel: Sure Sandra (Her eyes are sparkling) thinks, “Let me widen that smile on his face by telling him about the decision that I made today.” Sandra: You know I too want to apologize for doing something that you didn’t like.

Samuel: What’s that? Sandra: Having beer. Please forgive me too. Samuel: No problem Sandra: Today I decided that I will not touch alcohol anymore. Samuel: (A huge smile on his face) You did what? Did I hear you correctly? So wise Uncle Zac killed two birds with one stone, eh? I’m so happy today. He lifts her up. Sandra: Samuel, stop! Samuel: (His romantic voice returns to normal) What’s the matter? I thought you liked that. Sandra: Yea, I do. But we are not in a resort on our mini honeymoon, right now. The kids will wake up. Samuel: So what now? Sandra: What do you mean “What now?” It’s time to go to sleep. Samuel: (Crestfallen) We’ve had a long day I guess. Goodnight then. Thanks anyways. Sandra: Hey, wait! You’re not going anywhere. I need you for something. Samuel: For what? Sandra: Guess? Samuel: I don’t know. Enlighten me. Sandra: My legs are aching after sitting down for so long for the Bible study. I need you to do some magic on them. Samuel thinks, “There is great opportunity here!” Sandra: Let me change into something more comfortable. She goes to the bathroom and removes her saree. Samuel has finished with flossing and brushing his teeth in the mean time. His babe comes out wearing a nightie and walking in a seductive manner like she is a model on a ramp. Samuel thinks, “The mother of my 3 kids is still such a hottie!” They sit on the kitchen floor. She pulls her nightie up till her thighs and Samuel begins to massage her legs. After few mins… Sandra: (Her eyes closed) Ummm, you’re so good, King Solomon. After some time... Samuel: I’m done, princess. Sandra: Can you do this one more time, please? He does that. Sandra: Now it’s my turn to give my hubby a nice sensual massage on his muscular shoulders. When she’s done she lies on his back. Sandra: Honey, I’m tired. I want you to lift me and carry me to the bed. You haven’t carried me for years! Samuel thinks, “That’s because you’ve become heavier after having the kids! I didn’t want to dislocate a disk round my spine!” He carries her to the bedroom. The kids are fast asleep. Samuel and Sandra are not done with talking yet.

They talk about Uncle Zac’s prophetic message for their lives. Then they thank the Lord for everything. They begin kissing again and the lights go off.

CHAPTER 3 THE FIGHT CHARACTERS: Samuel: Sandra’s husband Sandra: Samuel’s wife Rajesh: Samuel’s colleague and bosom friend Vandana: Rajesh’ wife and a close friend of Sandra Andrew: Samuel’s boss Samuel is back from his office and is standing at the door. He has had a bad day at work. Sandra is waiting for him to come home from work. *Ding dong* No response. Samuel wonders, “What’s taking my darling so long? Still watching TV, I guess.” *Ding dong* She is busy combing her hair. He thinks, “Her TV time is eating into our quality time. All she does is watch those silly comedy serials all day long and laugh her ass off. As if that is not enough she has to watch TV when I am about to come home and even after I am in the apartment! At least she can anticipate my coming. Okay, I am not Lord Jesus. Is this how Christian women are supposed to be redeeming

their time while waiting for the Rapture? What do they discuss at the weekly women’s Bible study?” Sandra: Hi sweety. How are you? Samuel: Hi baby Sandra: Where have you been? You are late. I was starting to get worried. He thinks, “If you were ‘really’ worried, why didn’t you try calling me up to inquire about my whereabouts, sweetheart? Or you bought a mobile set just for chatting with your friends?” Samuel: Had a lot of work to do. What took you so long? Sandra: I was getting ready to meet you. He thinks, “Oh, really? I am flattered, my dear wife. Is that why you kept your hubby waiting outside in the mosquito zone in front of our apt for so long?” Samuel: How nice. I’m touched. Sandra: Haven’t you forgotten something? Samuel: Have I? Sandra: Yea, as usual (She moves her lips forward). Samuel: Oh, yea *smooch* She thinks, “My hubby, is so forgetful! God in heaven, don’t let him forget the most important thing in life – that he has to keep me happy!” Sandra: Thank you. Darling, haven’t you noticed something different today? Samuel looks around in the apt. It still looks like a pigsty. Samuel: Everything appears to be as it was when I had left for the office in the morning. Sandra thinks, “Oh, hubby. Don’t look at the apt. Look at meee!” She turns her head. Samuel: Oh, yea, you’ve got a new hairdo. You look stunning! Sandra: Thank you. I got my nails done too. She puts her hands forward. Samuel: Beautiful (He kisses both the hands one after the other). Sandra: I got my toe nails done too. Samuel thinks, “Oh, you expect me to kiss your feet too, honey? Sorry, I’ve got a backache due to the financial burdens you place on me all the time.” Samuel: Excellent, my dear. He thinks, “Is she taking part in a beauty contest for the married ladies of our locality, later this week that I’m not aware of?” Sandra: I hope you bought dal on the way back. There is no dal in the house. Samuel: There isn’t? He thinks, “So what were you doing all day, my dear? Just sitting on the rocking chair, giggling? Couldn’t you have moved your ass a bit and gone to fetch it? Must I work my ass off in the office to earn money and then wear a skirt and apron in the house too? Am I a Superman? Created by God just to serve my Queen?” Sandra: Since I visited the beauty parlour today, I couldn’t go to the dirty market. On the way back, I also bought a pair of Nike jogging shoes. They are over there on the rack. Can you see them? Sandra thinks, “Oh hubby, I feel like a new woman.”

Samuel thinks, “The shine from your new hairdo has blinded my eyes. I can’t see clearly now. With this new addition to your massive collection, I bet by now you have more pairs of shoes than even the Queen of England!” He lifts a shoe in his hand and looks at it. Samuel: Yea, they’re nice Then his eyes see the price tag and he almost gets a heart attack. He thinks, “I am wondering where she got money for this purchase and for the beauty parlour trip from. Oh no! I hope she didn’t spend the money we were saving for our mini honeymoon next week!” As always, he is dead right with his assumption. Sandra: I used the money that we had set aside for our mini honeymoon. We can have it in our apt. To make it an unforgettable weekend for you, I also bought some sexy designer lingerie today. Samuel: Oh, God! You did what? He says to himself, “Oh, Jesus, give me patience with this woman. I don’t eat stuff outside in a restaurant, like my colleagues, so we can save and she blows it all up in one day!” Sandra: Sweetie, you need to say, “Oh, goodness!” and not “Oh, God!” Samuel: Why? Sandra: Because saying, “Oh, God!” is taking the name of the Lord in vain. Samuel: (Sarcastically) Thanks for reminding me of the third commandment, Rabbi. I had forgotten. He thinks, “Now you have the cheek to correct me! Ignoramus, saying, ‘Oh, God!’ is not cussing. Brother Lawrence in his book ‘Practicing the presence of God’ said that we must remember God all the time. How can I explain this to this dumbass? She never reads books nor does she ever agree with what I have to say!” Sandra: Whatever I did and bought today was for you. I always want to look beautiful and sexy to you. Samuel: Oh, how nice of you. He thinks, “Woman, you look beautiful just as you are, without using all that expensive make-up or wearing those ridiculously expensive tiny under garments that empty my bank balance.” Sandra: Sweety, you’ll need to prepare tea and dal for dinner. Samuel thinks, “Tea and dal? I’ve just lost my appetite!” Samuel: I’m a bit tired. I’ll have rice with your vegetable gravy today. Sandra: (Clapping) Oh, I’m so happy. Finally, my hubby is going to try having veggies… Thinks, “Now, why is she clapping like a monkey? Is that what Christians do, rejoice over other people’s misery?” Samuel: What’s that thing dangling over there? Are we having an exhibition in our apartment? Sandra: What exhibition? Samuel: That dirty t-shirt of yours hanging over there! Sandra: Oh I forgot to wash it. Can you put it in the washing machine, pleeaazze? Samuel thinks, “And who the heck do you think you are? Queen Victoria?” Samuel: Okay, your Majesty. Sandra: How sweet of you. Samuel: Any other chore left, my dear Queen, before I go to take a shower?

Sandra: No, hubby He goes to the kitchen. There’s no boiled water. Samuel: Didn’t you boil water today? Oh, I forgot you got your nails done today. He thinks, “Let me take a cold shower and catch a cold so I can sneeze and cough all night and irritate her.” He goes to the cupboard. Samuel: Where’s my green t-shirt? Sandra: A lizard dropped kaka on it (“kaka” in Konkani means shit) so I put it in water again. Samuel thinks, “So what am I to wear today? One of your pink tops? Couldn’t you have put it to dry on the terrace? Can’t you do anything right?” He goes to the bathroom and sits down, recollecting the bad incident that took place in his office. Sandra: Honeeey, what’s taking you so long? Samuel: Nothing. Be there in a minute. Since he is taking a long time, she finishes gobbling one fish from the plate. He comes out. Food has been served on a piece of old newspaper, on the floor of their front room (which is also their bedroom). Samuel: What’s that floating in the gravy? Sandra: Brinjal Samuel puts a spoonful onto his plate. He mixes it with rice. Then he lifts the plate close to his nose and sniffs it. He thinks, “ What is this? Dog food?” He tastes it and says to himself, “How awful! I can’t eat this. Am not a puppy!” Sandra: (Mumbling with a mouthful of food) Honey, I am tired of sitting on the floor and eating. Aren’t you? We need a dining table. When can we buy one? Samuel: (Sarcastically) Tomorrow. Your husband is an Arab sheikh with an oil fortune to spend. Sandra: Can’t you give a straight answer? How come your sarcasm never takes a holiday? He thinks, “Maybe because your regular shopping sprees never let me go on one!” Samuel: Money does not grow on trees. Sandra: I know that. I didn’t say that we need one tomorrow. Samuel: What’s wrong with sitting down and eating? Our neighbours don’t seem to be having a problem with it. Why can’t we be content? He thinks, “By the way, you weren’t born in a palace with a silver spoon on your lap. So why the fuss, princess?” Sandra: I feel ashamed when my parents come here. Samuel: Oh, I see. You are ashamed that your husband doesn’t earn enough money to be able to afford to buy even a small table! I think that you would have been better off, if you had married that Keralite boy who earned 1lakh a month. Your dad made a big mistake by rejecting that proposal. Sandra: Why are you talking that way? I didn’t say that. Where is this coming from all of a sudden? He thinks, “From the disturbed part of my brain, where else? If you continue like this, it won’t be long before I end up in an ICU due to a hemorrhage, with a long pipe sticking out of my mouth.” Samuel: We could have bought one, long ago, if we had been careful with out spending habits. Sandra: What do you mean by we? It is you who have not been careful! I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve lent money to your friends.

Samuel: Doesn’t the Bible tell us to help those in need? Sandra: The Bible says that we have to help the poor and not people who earn a lot. Your friends are needy because they want to raise their standard of living! She thinks, “You’re so gullible. No wonder people take advantage of you!” Samuel: I’ve not done anyone a favor. They will return the money that I have given to them. Sandra: When? After we get raptured? You were pointing to what I did today, weren’t you? Don’t I have the right to spend our own money on myself? Samuel: Yes, you can, my dear. But don’t spend money that we have set aside for a purpose without telling me. You could have told me that you wanted to spend it on something else. Have I ever said no to you? Sandra: Well, whatever I did today was just for you! I don’t want you to look at any other woman. (She winks) No more of that, “That chick is hot” look when you see a woman walking on the road in a sexy manner. You are going to look only at me. Samuel: (He hasn’t seen her winking) Are you accusing me of being unfaithful with my eyes? Sandra: (Continues teasing him) I am not accusing you. You know what the truth is. Samuel: What is the truth? Spell it out. Sandra: God knows it, and you know it. Samuel: Don’t dance around the issue. You’re starting to piss me off. Are you stupid? Sandra: Who are you calling stupid? Samuel: (Raising his voice) You. Because you are stupid. Sandra: I don’t know why you’re so mad at me. Samuel: (Yelling) Dammit, you know why. Because I hate false accusations! Looking and lusting are two different things! How can you be so naive? Sandra: Can you keep your voice down? You’re embarrassing us. People in our building know us as Christians. We have a reputation to keep up to. Cussing is bad. Samuel: (Raising his voice again) To hell with our reputation. I don’t care. Sandra: (Yelling at the top of her voice) I SAID NO CUSSING. Samuel: Now who’s keeping a testimony? You really are beginning to irritate me. He thinks, “Bitch. Who does she think she is, yelling at me like that?” Sandra: I don’t like your tone. I’ve done nothing to deserve this. Samuel: You’re so damn right. I am the devil and you are the angel. Sandra: I was just pulling your leg. Why are you so upset? What happened to your sense of humour? Samuel: You’re joking about my fidelity and expect me to be cool about it? Don’t you have anything else to joke about? Sandra: You always find an occasion to find fault with me. If I sit in the apartment and crack a joke you have a problem. If I go out and try being an amateur photographer, you have a problem. Samuel: For God’s sake stop using that idiotic Goan pronunciation! How many times must I tell you that you need to pronounce that word as “FOETHAWGRURFUR.” Sandra: What are you, an English professor? Samuel: No, I’m not. But I know the common mispronounced words. And I don’t want people to think that I got my wife straight from a village. Why don’t you take correction?

Sandra: Because all you do is judge people and make them feel worthless. If you make any more remarks like that, I’ll go to my dad’s place. He has never raised his voice at me or made me feel low. Samuel: That’s because you were his pet. All that pampering has made you a spoilt brat who is incapable of listening to correction and always wanting to have her own way. Sandra gives Samuel an acidic look. Smoke is coming out from her ears. Sandra: My goodness, please, just shut up. Don’t say anything against my father or else… Samuel: Or else what? Are you threatening me, lady? Sandra: Listen, I am not in… Samuel: No! You listen to me. Sandra: I think that you don’t need me here any more. You don’t love me anymore, do you? Samuel, “Yea, because I don’t love you, I slog my ass off all day to give you a decent living. That isn’t love, is it?” Samuel: I’m not going to answer that question right now. Just go to sleep. Sandra: How very diplomatic! Sandra lies on the bed with a sheet over her head facing a wall. Samuel takes the mattress off the bed (they have a double bed with two mattresses), puts it on the ground and turns all the lights off. After some time, when he is sure that Sandra has gone to sleep, he goes to the kitchen, turns the light on and sits there. In his hands he has a picture of his maternal grandma. He stares at it and finds himself getting lost in memories. His eyes are moist. He says, “Grandma, why did you leave me? I’m finding that every day on earth is a struggle for me. I just can’t keep going on anymore. No one understands me. Only you did, grandma. For the first 17 years of my life you cared for me like no other person. Only you, my darling grandma, really loved me with all your heart. How I miss you! Why, oh why, did you leave me?” He wipes his eyes, and goes to the bedroom. He keeps his grandma’s photo besides his pillow. Then He asks the Lord why he is being made to live such an unhappy life and goes to sleep. Soon, Sandra can hear him snoring. She is lying on the bed, unable to sleep. Just then the Devil’s voice comes loud and clear. Devil: Sandra, my dear, what do you see in that boy? He’s a loser. A pessimistic retard! You don’t have to put up with such a foul-mouthed, paranoid creature. You can put an end to your sufferings by doing something very simple. Filing for a divorce! You are a good-looking, talented and highly educated girl. Anybody will marry you. Sandra: (Cold as ice) Deceiver, I told you once, and I’ll say it for the last time, get away from me! I love my husband. I made a vow before God that I’ll stick with him through thick and thin and I intend to keep it till my last breath. He’s the most amazing guy a girl could ever have. You are going to eat your words because one day he is going to become someone in life. By the sheer force of his God-given personality! And I am going to give him all the moral support I can, so he can become what God wants him to be. It’s 10PM. Her phone begins to vibrate. It’s her best friend Vandana. She answers it. Vandana: How are you, my dear? Is everything alright? How is Samuel? Sandra: Everything isn’t alright. Samuel is a little mad at me. I’m such an idiot. I did a stupid thing.

Vandana: Oh, no! Rajesh told me that Samuel and his boss Andrew had a big argument today. It seems that Samuel cares for those under him and his boss only tries to please his superiors at their expense. Samuel got very upset with him because of this and called him a faggot and told him in front of everybody that he would personally kick his ass if he continued behaving like that. Andrew and his Manager were shocked with his choice of words. He’s been given a PIP (performance improvement plan) for no fault of his. Your husband has what many men don’t have. Sandra: What’s that? Vandana: He’s got balls! Hearing that, Sandra feels proud of her husband. Sandra: (Proud as a peacock, momentarily) Yea. (Gets depressed again) I wish I knew that he had a bad day at work. No wonder, he was so upset and I only added to his frustration. Vandana: Why do you sound so down? He has a big heart. He’ll just forget about it by tomorrow. Sandra: Yea Vandana: Rajesh, always talks highly of him. He told me once that Samuel is perhaps the only boy in their office who doesn’t pass dirty comments or stare at the rear end of the provocatively dressed girls and women there. Rajesh thinks that he is a godly boy who has a control over his hands unlike most of the men in his position who being womanizers are free with their hands. You should be thankful for giving you such a faithful husband. Sandra: I am Vandana: Rajesh, also told me how bad Samuel feels because he cannot give you the luxuries of life despite trying hard. Sandra: I don’t need them. His love is enough for me. Vandana: He always tells Rajesh how thankful to God he is for giving him a loving and talented wife like you. Sandra: I think that I’m lucky to have such a caring and understanding husband. Vandana: Don’t worry, everything will be alright by tomorrow. We’ll pray for you. Sandra: Thanks for calling. Good night. Sandra turns on the bedroom light to go to the loo. Samuel is fast asleep like a baby. She looks admiringly at him. His blanket has slipped so she pulls it over him. She says, “My sweet baby” and imagines herself kissing his closed eyes. Her conscience tells her that she accused him falsely. Her eyes suddenly go on the shoe rack. It is filled with her shoes. In a corner is Samuel’s sole pair of old non branded shoes. Her conscience speaks to her again. It tells her that she shouldn’t have bought new Nike shoes when she could have used the old Reebok ones for at least 6 more months. She now feels that instead of spending the money on herself, she should have bought a surprise gift for her hardworking husband – a pair of black formal shoes to replace the old ones. She asks the Lord for forgiveness and closes her eyes, trying to sleep. It’s 4AM. Samuel’s cellphone vibrates. It’s the alarm on the phone. He wakes up to have his quiet time with God. Sandra is awake too with the sheet still over her head. She hasn’t slept all night. She wants him to finish his quiet time so she can apologize to him.

He goes to the kitchen and sits against the wall. He opens the official Brethren ‘Songs of Zion’ hymn book and starts singing the hymn, “Give me a sight, O Saviour, Of Thy wondrous love to me.” The second stanza convicts him: Was it the nails, O Saviour, That bound Thee to the tree? Nay, ‘twas Thine everlasting love, Thy love me for, for me. Samuel: Oh, Lord, how much suffering you endured just so I could be happy! Thank you, Lord. And here I am cribbing about doing little things like household chores. Give me that same spirit so I can endure suffering to make others happy. The fourth stanza convicts him even more: Then melt my heart, O Saviour, Bend me, yes, break me down, Until I own Thee Conqueror, and Lord and Sovereign crown. Samuel: Forgive me, Lord. I have disobeyed your words, by shouting at my wife. He opens the Bible to his daily portion. It is Colossians Ch 3. His eyes go down to verse 19. It says, “You husbands must be loving and kind to your wives and not bitter against them, nor harsh.” He sees few more verses in the margin of his chain reference bible. One is Ephesians 5:25 – You husbands, show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the church when He died for her. Another one is Proverbs 31: 28, 29 – Her husband praises her with these words: There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all! One more verse is Song of Solomon 4:7 – You are so beautiful, my love, in every part of you. Then there is a long passage – Song of Solomon 7:1-8 Samuel: Father God, what are you trying to say to me through all these verses? God: Four things 1) Don’t be harsh with your wife. 2) Love her just as Christ loved the church by giving yourself up for her. 3) Praise her 4) Tell her how captivated you are with her body. Samuel: Whaaat? Did I hear you clearly, Father God? I can do the top three things, but the last thing? I get a bit embarrassed talking about such things with her. That passage is so explicit. God: You’re not living in the Victorian period, my son. Get out of that conservative Brethren mindset! She is your wife and you have to be open with her. Just read Song of Solomon 7:1-8 and see what it does to her. Samuel: Okay, Lord, if you say so. I am really sorry I hurt her so badly, yesterday. Please forgive me. God: Ask forgiveness from her as soon as she wakes up. The reason I don’t listen to the prayers of a lot of men these days is because they don’t treat their wives as they should be treated. They ignore the words that I had given through my servant Peter in 1Pet.3:7. Fools! It’s 5 AM now. Samuel decides that he’ll make breakfast today for his wife and himself. He tries to chop a carrot. Suddenly a mosquito bites his arm. His hand slips and he ends up cutting a finger on his left hand. He says, “Ouch” Sandra who is about to go to the toilet hears that. She goes running to the kitchen. Sandra: Honey, is everything, okay? Oh no, you’ve hurt yourself! She thinks, “Honey, the meat knife is not to be used for cutting vegetables. It’s very sharp.” She immediately puts Dettol and water into a bowl and wipes his finger with a cloth. Then she applies Band-aid to it.

Sandra: There you go. How does it feel now? Samuel: Nice. I’ve got something to say to you. Sandra: Me too Samuel: I am really really sorry for all that I said yesterday. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. Will you forgive me? Sandra: Of course! So you’re not mad at me anymore? Samuel: No. And you? You’re still pissed? Sandra: Nope. And I am sorry for cracking a bad joke and spending money set aside for a purpose without your permission. Can you forgive me too? Samuel: Sure. Your eyes are red. Were you awake all night? Sandra: I was Samuel: I’m so sorry. Sandra: That’s okay. Samuel: I give you my word today that I am not going to lend money to anyone anymore. Our kids will be coming out soon. We’ve got to save money for them. Sandra: And I promise that I am not going to spend money that we set aside for something, without telling you. Samuel: Deal? (Extends his hand) Sandra: Deal (Shakes his hand) Samuel: Thank God we could kiss and make up Sandra: (Smiles) We haven’t kissed yet. Samuel: Now it’s time for that. They both laugh Samuel: Babe, (that’s his favourite pet name for her) I’ve got something to read to you right now. It’s a poem. There is a big smile on her face. Sandra: You’ve written a poem for me? Samuel: No, not this time. Someone else wrote it, but it’s meaningful. That is why I want to read it for you. Let’s go to the bedroom. He sits on the bed. She sits on his lap in her nightie. He opens his Old Living Bible to the Song of Solomon and begins reading chapter 7 in his sweet, soothing voice. Sandra: Oh my gosh, this is so romantic. By the time it is over, her face is beet red and she’s got goose bumps all over. Sandra: I’ve got something to read out to you too. Samuel: Sure, go ahead She whispers vs. 10 in his ear in a sexy manner… Sandra: I am my beloved’s and I am the one he desires. He runs her hands through her hair and says Song of Solomon 4:7 from memory… Samuel: You are so beautiful, my love, in every part of you. She kisses him on the cheek to thank him. They look at each other intimately. Samuel: My heroine

Sandra: My hero He goes closer to her ear and whispers… Samuel: There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all! I love only you! She is touched by all these words and her body becomes warm. He kisses her neck. Sandra: Samuel, do you remember, the first time we sat and chatted long distance? Samuel: I’m afraid no. It was a long time ago. Sandra: Well, till today I remember something about that day. You gave me a hug that day. That hug meant everything to me. It was your first hug. Samuel: I remember now. You didn’t react. I thought you got offended. Sandra: I didn’t say anything because I was blushing. Samuel: Oh, really? I got worried and thought I’d lost you. Sandra: Oh, no. How could I walk off from the man who swept me off my feet? Samuel: Okay, that was then? What about now? Sandra: You’ve not lost that charm, even now. Every time you whisper sweet romantic things into my ear in that soft voice of yours, every time you touch me, I’m left totally breathless. Samuel: I see. Let us thank God for everything, shall we? Sandra: Sure They both bow their heads to pray. Samuel prays Samuel: God Almighty, we thank you for creating us for one another. Give us the strength to make it through today! Samuel and Sandra are still sitting on the bed, in each other’s arms and looking deeply into each other’s eyes. He hugs her tightly. Sandra: Release me, you big gorilla! He tickles her. Sandra: Boy, that tickles! Suddenly Samuel’s phone vibrates. It’s a sms from his boss Andrew. The message reads, “Samuel, I am really sorry for what happened yesterday. You were right. I am a faggot. I wish I was as bold as you. Sorry, for being such a coward and letting you down. I’ve requested the Manager to reverse your PIP. See you later in the afternoon. I love you. – Andrew” Sandra: Who is it from? You seem upset. Samuel: Andrew. He’s sorry about yesterday. I need to apologize to him. I made him look small in front of my colleagues and superiors. That was so bad of me. He loves me and I broke his heart by what I did. How could I be so mean? Why does everything I touch turn to shit? He stands there with a sad look on his face. Sandra reads the message Sandra: It’s okay, honey. He’s sorry about it. You can forgive him. And you’re sorry about it, so he can forgive you. Samuel: What time is it? Sandra: (Looks at the mobile) 11AM.

Samuel: Let me call him up. He takes a deep breath and uses the land line to dial Andrew’ number. Andrew: (Over the speakerphone) Hello… Samuel: Hey Andrew, this is Samuel. Sorry mate. I hurt you deeply. Can you forgive me? Andrew: It’s okay yaar. We are still friends. Samuel: Thanks, buddy. Andrew: See you later. Samuel: Honey, you need to go to sleep now and I need to go to work. Bye. Sandra: Have a nice day, honey.

CHAPTER 4 THE FAMILY PICNIC CHARACTERS: Rachel is a mixture of both Samuel and Sandra. She has got her intellect from her father and her reflexes from her mother. She is 10 years old and is studying in Std 4. She is the brightest girl in her class and is also a part of the State badminton junior girl’s team. She learnt to play badminton from her father. That is the only game he likes. Ruth is her twin sister. They are not identical though. She is a mixture of both her grandfathers. She is very pretty – the fairest among all the three and tall. She is an average student in school. Her only passion is football. Paul is 7 years old. He is their adopted son. He is in class 2 and is the family pet. He loves drawing, writing poems and reading story books with pictures. Both Rachel and Ruth love him a lot. He is the apple of their eyes. Raghu is the watchman of their building. The family is going out for an overnight picnic to a beach resort in Naigaon, on the outskirts of Mumbai. This is a special picnic. More than a picnic it is a celebration for different reasons: 1) Samuel has got a promotion at work 2) Rachel has won a scholarship in school for scoring the highest marks in all the subjects. 3) Ruth has been selected for the U-12 football team as the main striker for Salcette Football Club. 4) Paul’s poem “My loving parents” has got printed in the school magazine. 5) Sandra is pregnant again – a souvenir from their last mini honeymoon. Samuel is hoping that she’s carrying twins. Samuel’s family has a history of twins coming out. His siblings came out in pairs, his brother’s kids are twins and a lot of his cousins are too. The first rays of the morning sun pierce through the curtains of the D’Silva family’s 1RK apartment and warm Samuel’s face. He wakes up and wakes everybody up. Samuel: Goodmorning everybody, it’s time to wake up. They all wake up and have 15 mins of family devotion together. They packed their stuff on the previous day so there is nothing much left to do. They only need to prepare breakfast. Sandra gets busy preparing her husband’s favorite – croquettes and chappatis.

Rachel is popping slices of bread into the toaster. Ruth is applying chocolate spread to those that come out. Paul is holding a food basket, ready to put the finished stuff in. Samuel comes out after brushing his teeth and goes to the kitchen. Samuel: I see that you are busy, ladies? Can I help in any way? Rachel and Ruth: No dad He looks at Sandra and spots some white stuff on her behind. Samuel: Honey, where did you sit? There’s flour on your jeans just behind your bum. Sandra: Oh, is there? I don’t know how it got there. Samuel: No worries, let me dust it for you. Sandra: (Says softly) Oh, no Samuel, you can’t touch me there in front of the kids. They’re watching. Do you have any shame? She dusts the flour off her butt herself. The girls are done with the packing. Paul wants to lift a heavy bag filled with their clothes and carry it to the car. He can’t lift it. Paul: (Tells Ruth) Sis, can you help me lift this? We need to carry it to the car. Ruth: I’ll do that. Can you fill the water bottles? Ruth and Rachel hold the bag on the sides and carry it downstairs. Paul is done with filling two large empty Pepsi bottles with mineral water. Sandra tells Paul… Sandra: Honey, can you pour some milk for the cats please? Paul: Yes, mom He pours some milk into three little bowls for their three cats. The cats brush their bodies against his legs. Paul: Pussy cats, we’ll be back tomorrow, okay? So don’t fight. We’ll miss you. They mew as if to say “Thank you for the milk. We’ll behave ourselves.” They are all set to go. Samuel, Sandra and Paul are already at the door. The girls are taking their own sweet time. Sandra: Rachel, Ruth!!! Ruth: Yes, mom we’re coming. Sandra: What’s taking you so long? Samuel: (Pleading with Sandra) For Christ’s sake, wait, honey. We don’t have a train to catch. They come out finally. Samuel locks the door and hands the key to their next door neighbour so their cats can be fed in the evening. They get into their second hand Maruti car. The children sit behind with Paul in the middle. Sandra is on the driver’s sit. Samuel is sitting beside her. He can’t drive. He’s got a mental block about driving. Samuel says a small prayer. Sandra starts the car, and drives towards the gate, honking to get the watchman’s attention. He salutes her. Raghu: Salaam Memsahib (Hello, Madame) Sandra: (To him) Kaise ho Raghu? (How are you, Raghu?)

Raghu: Teek hoon Memsahib (I am fine, Madame) He looks at Samuel’s face and then his head. Samuel thinks, “Why is that fellow looking at my head with that stupid smile on his face?” She pulls out of the building compound. The watchman scratches his head wondering how a baldie like Samuel got a beauty queen for a wife. He says to God… Raghu: Hai kudha, mera bhi kayal karo, mujhe bhi memsahib ki tara ek item de do (Oh, Lord, think of me too and give me a smart and goodlooking wife like memsahib). After about an hour of driving they are in Naigaon. The area looks like a jungle with shrubs and tall trees everywhere. The resort is nowhere in sight. Sandra: Do you have any clue where we are? Samuel: I don’t. Let me check the map. (Looking at the crude, hand-drawn map given to him by his friend Rajesh, directs her). Okay, take a left and then turn right. She takes a left and sees a dead end. Sandra: Are you sure? Samuel: That’s what it says here. He points to the milestone on the map where their car is standing and then to the large arrow directing them to the big asterisk which represents the resort. Sandra: Let me see She looks at the map Sandra: Oh, honey, I think you’re holding the map upside down. Samuel: Am I? How did that happen? Oh my gosh, I forgot my reading glasses. Sandra thinks, “How could you forget something like that? You’re constantly forgetting things as the years go by.” Samuel thinks, “May be my wife should keep an eye on things that I need. I am turning into an absent minded professor!” They reach the resort and unpack in the room. Then they have breakfast. The 1st thing on the program prepared by Ruth and Rachel is a beach volleyball match. So they all put shorts and head towards the beach. The children are walking at a faster pace. Samuel and Sandra are lagging behind. On the way… Sandra: Honey, you are going to play, won’t you? Samuel: What? Sandra: Volleyball Samuel: You know how clumsy I am with balls. Do you want me to make an ass of myself in front of people? Sandra: It’ll be a family match. No one will be watching. Samuel: I don’t think that I want to play. What about you? You’re pregnant. Is it okay for you to jump up and down? Sandra: Yea, don’t worry about me. The little one is safe in my tummy. Their daughters turn around and wait for them to catch up. Rachel: Mom, you will team up with me and dad, Ruth will be your partner. Samuel: Baby, I’m feeling a bit dizzy after the long trip here. Can I just sit and watch you play?

Rachel and Ruth: Dad, please. Sandra: I’m sorry to say this girls. Your dad is a chicken. (She flaps her arms like they are chicken wings and makes the sound made by chickens) Buck buck buck. Rachel and Ruth: No, he’s not. Dad, show mom that you aren’t what she said you are. Ruth and Rachel pull him. Samuel: Okay, I’ll take part. Anything to make my darling daughters happy. Ruth and Rachel: Hooray!!! This match is very important to Sandra since she was actively involved in sports once upon a time and she wants to know whether she is still fit and physically active. Even after giving birth to two kids, Sandra has not lost her agility. She’s as fit as ever – jumping, smashing, blocking etc. Samuel thinks, “She’s given birth to two and still has an amazing figure!” The match goes on and gets very competitive. Sandra smashes the ball in Samuel’s direction but a little away from him. She wants to see him jump about. He tries to dig but misses it. Samuel: Sorry Ruth, I’m not good at this. Ruth: It’s okay, Dad. You’re participating. That means a lot to us. Samuel thinks, “One day my Ruth is going to be as good as the Brazilian senoritas I used to enjoy watching in my younger days. She is going to represent India. Her mom will have to put in a lot of hard work as her coach. Too bad I’m useless when it comes to sports.” Sandra sends one more ball towards him. Samuel is still day dreaming about Ruth’s future. He is imagining her standing on a podium with an Olympic gold medal round her neck. Suddenly something hits him hard on the nose and he falls down. Samuel: Wherrre ammm IIIII? Paul: Dad, we are in on a beach and mom just knocked you down. Ruth: How are you dad? Sandra: Honey, are you okay? Samuel: I guess I’m okay Paul: Dad, your nose looks like that of Rudolf the red nosed reindeer. Sandra touches it. Samuel: Argghh, It hurts. Sandra: Come let’s go and sit on that wooden plank over there and take rest. Samuel: No, let’s finish the match The kids shout: Dad is such a sport! Sandra: Are you sure, you don’t need to see a doctor? Samuel: No, I’m fine. Samuel’s team wins since they have Ruth the sports star in their team. After the volleyball match they go back to the room to relax for sometime. Sandra takes out some ice cubes from the fridge, puts them into a kerchief and keeps them on Samuel’s nose. Sandra: Honey, keep your hand on these. After some time.

Samuel: My nose is numb Sandra: Time to take the ice cubes off. She takes them from him and lovingly applies a painkiller ointment on his nose. Sandra: I’m sorry. It’s my fault. If I hadn’t made fun of you, you wouldn’t have played and this wouldn’t have happened. Samuel: Babe, don’t blame yourself. It’s good I played. I got a vision about our Ruth’s future. You’ve got a lot of hard work to do in the coming days so she can be a world class athlete. Let’s talk about it when we get back home. She pinches his cheeks as if he is a small child and says a poem. Sandra: My sweetie, he’s such a cutie. Even when I am to blame, he never puts me to shame. He’s the best hubby but I wish he was less chubby. Samuel: You’ve got a talent there, Miss. Sandra: Thank you It’s time for lunch. They go to a beach shack. The girls hold Paul’s hands as they walk and play with him. Samuel asks the children to order what they like. They are ready to order. Ruth snaps her fingers to call the waiter. Samuel: Honey, we don’t call human beings by snapping fingers. We have to raise a hand to catch their attention. Ruth: Sorry, dad They give their orders. At home, Sandra makes sure her family has a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies. The only person whose eating habits she doesn’t have a control over is her husband. He is a hardcore non-vegetarian. But today Samuel wants to please his wife so he decides to order a vegetarian dish. Samuel: (To the waiter) One Gobi Manchurian for me. The orders placed, they get talking. Rachel gets very impatient waiting for the order. Rachel: (Speaking to Ruth) I’m famished. Why the hell is the ass taking so long? Sandra: Girl, mind your words. Such words are not spoken by decent people. Rachel: Mom, dad uses this word all the time. Isn’t he a gentleman? Sandra: He’s an adult and you’re a kid. Kids shouldn’t be speaking such words. Rachel: What you are saying is not making sense to me. My dad can use those words and I can’t? Samuel: Baby, your mom is right in one way. Words like hell and ass don’t look nice coming from a kid’s mouth. Sandra thinks, “Now honey, you didn’t have to repeat those words, did you?” Hungry Paul starts biting his nails. That is a bad habit he has picked from his father. Sandra: Kids, I want to tell you something important. So listen very carefully. Their ears perk up. Sandra: There are some things we shouldn’t be doing in public. Can any one of you tell me what those things are? Rachel: What Paul is doing right now.

Sandra: Yea. There are two other things. You shouldn’t be digging into your nose or cleaning your ears. Samuel is impressed with this short lecture on etiquette. The food finally arrives. Waiter: I’m sorry, it took so long. Since this is a weekend we’ve got too many orders. Sandra: No worries. You’ve brought it faster than we expected. Sandra says grace. They start eating. Samuel dips roti into the gobi Manchurian and takes a bite. He gets a horrible taste. He thinks, “What the heck is this? Tastes as if the cook fried something using the previous week’s left overs!” He looks around hoping to find a place to dispose the inedible stuff but doesn’t find one. All the others are enjoying the stuff they have ordered. Paul: Mom, my mouth is burning. This Veg Kolhapuri is hot. His nose starts to run. Sandra take a kerchief and places it over his nose. Sandra: Here, blow into this. He blows into it, takes the kerchief from mommy and keeps wiping his nose. Samuel has to get rid of his order but throwing food away is a strict no no in their house. Sandra hates wastage. He suddenly remembers something. Samuel: Oh, I just remembered, I need to call my boss. He isn’t making this up. He really has to call his boss. He takes most of the stuff in the bowl and puts it onto his plate. Sandra: Doesn’t he know that you are on a family vacation? Samuel: He does but this is important. Be back in a minute. It’s noisy in here. Let me go towards the back. He takes his plate and goes to the back of the beach shack. He sees a stray dog and heaves a sigh of relief. Samuel: Hey, doggie, come here. I’ve brought some mouth watering stuff for you. He immediately empties the stuff and waits for 5 mins so Sandra doesn’t get a doubt. When the time is up he goes back. Sandra: Wow, you’ve cleaned your plate thoroughly. She thinks, “Are the contents really in your tummy, or in a dog’s tummy?” He thinks, “Lady, why are you looking suspiciously at me?” Samuel: Yea, I have She thinks, “Dude, I’ve lived with you for 12 years. You think you can fool me?” He thinks, “I fed a hungry animal outside. Now, that isn’t a crime, is it?” Paul licks his fingers. They all order the same dessert – butter scotch ice cream.

They go back to the room. Samuel and Sandra decide to have some quality time together and then take a nap. All the 3 kids are playing and running around. But suddenly Rachel and Ruth start fighting. Sandra sees that and shouts out loud… Sandra: IS THERE A PROBLEM THERE, LADIES? Samuel says in his soft voice Samuel: Babies, what’s wrong? Come let’s go for a walk. He takes both his darling girls out for a walk in the park to find out what happened and settle the matter peacefully. This is his usual style. They sit on a bench. He puts Ruth on his right lap and Rachel on his left. Samuel: Now, my darling daughters, what happened in there? Ruth: Dad, I was painting a family picture and Rachel dropped tea on it on purpose. Rachel: Dad, I didn’t do it on purpose. I was leaning over her shoulders and looking at it, when Samuel poked something at me from behind. That is how the tea got dropped. You can ask him if you don’t believe me. Samuel clears the misunderstanding and makes them patch up. Ruth: I’m sorry Ruth. I accused you falsely. Rachel: It’s okay sis. I love you. Ruth: I love you too Samuel: Now, my babies, can you shake hands with each other and kiss one another. They do that. They also give him a kiss on each of his cheeks. A father and daughters moment! Samuel: It’s time to go back He walks back with them with his arms on their shoulders. In the hotel room, Paul wants to pee badly. He goes into the toilet. He looks behind to see if his mom is watching. She isn’t around so he pees on the seat instead of lifting it and peeing directly into the bowl as his mother has often told him to. Suddenly he hears his mom’s angry voice. Sandra: PAUL!!!! He stops the piss mid-stream. His face becomes as white as a sheet. He thinks, “Mar gaya re (I am dead now).” He turns around and looks ashamedly at her like a little boy who has been caught in the act one more time. His mother looks at him sternly. Sandra: I’d like us to have a little talk, son. Paul: Mom, I’m sorry. I won’t be doing this again. I promise. Sandra: (At the top of her voice) If you do it again, you’ll be cleaning our toilet back home every day. Do you understand? Ding dong Paul: Yes, mom Sandra: Now go and open the door Samuel: What’s wrong, honey? I heard you speaking in a louder voice than usual. Sandra: Nothing’s wrong. I was training our pet to use the toilet.

Rachel and Ruth refer to their dad as the refrigerator in the family since he never gets angry or raises his voice. He always expresses his unconditional love to them first and then corrects them in a gentle way. All the three children are very secure in Samuel’s love for them. Samuel wants to model God’s unconditional love for his children in spite of them doing wrong things and disobeying him. They can go back to him anytime. Sandra on the other hand gets angry and impatient quickly. She loves her children but has not yet mastered the gentle way of correcting them. Rachel is very sensitive to touch so beating her passes a wrong message that you don’t love her and hugging her means that you love her and care for her. Her love language is touch. Ruth’s love language is words of encouragement. She can take any amount of beating. But Samuel and Sandra have to be careful how they speak to her. Words mean a lot to her. Little Paul’s love language is expressing love by action and receiving love in the same way. He is always ready to help. He is the first to volunteer to do chores in the house. His school teachers like him because he is the first to volunteer. After they take a nap, they decide to play the Crossword game. Rachel and Samuel enjoy this game since they both have the best vocabulary. Ruth enjoys in the beginning but loses focus immediately. The second lowest score is that of Sandra and Paul playing as one team. Samuel and Rachel, enjoying themselves, have gone very deep into the game and are increasing their score. Ruth and Paul support Samuel and Sandra encourages Rachel. Samuel gives up eventually and allows Rachel to win. They discuss the words formed and how to make phrases with them. Samuel starts daydreaming again, “My brilliant Rachel is going to become a doctor and serve in a mission hospital one day!” They have tea and head straight to the beach. Sandra and the kids get into the water. Samuel sits on the shore guarding their slippers and clothes. His wife and kids are enjoying themselves in the water, splashing it on one another, pushing each other into it and running while wet mud balls are hurled at them. Seeing them, Samuel becomes very emotional. He thanks God… Samuel: Heavenly Father, you’ve been so good to me. You’ve given me everything – an understanding wife, three adorable kids, and a lot of love from them. How can I thank you enough? He takes the camera out of the pouch and clicks pics of them. They come out of the water. Samuel: Ladies, I need to take a family picture. They pose. Samuel: Are you guys ready? Say cheese. One, two, three! Samuel then spends some quality time with his kids. He decides to make sand castles with them. They decide to make a big castle. Rachel is the designer of the castle and Ruth decides the layout of the garden, parking area and the playground. Little Paul gives into the opinion of his two older and wiser sisters. Samuel simply assists them in making the castle. Sandra sits on the shore relaxing and watching the work in progress. She thanks God for the best husband God has given to her and also for a father who is so committed to the kids. The kids finish the castle and invite Sandra to watch it. She appreciates the hard work put in and also gives some practical suggestions.

The sun sets and it is almost dark so they head towards their room. Sandra: Honey, there is going to be a dance in the hotel tonight. It’ll be a little late, but I was wondering if we could go? Samuel: At what time is it? Sandra: 9PM Samuel: Sure, we can go They get to their room, have bath and get ready for dinner. Since they are going for a dance too they get dressed for the occasion. Sandra: Honey, can you come here for a minute, please? He goes towards her Samuel: What is it? Sandra: Can you zip my dress? Samuel wonders, “How is this different from what I tried to do in the morning? The kids are watching now too!” He doesn’t want to let the romantic opportunity to pass so he doesn’t argue. Samuel: Sure Sandra: Are you done? I didn’t feel anything. Samuel: This zip isn’t going up. Why don’t you leave it as it is? Sandra: You want me to expose my back? Are you out of your mind? Samuel: Yea, I have lost my senses a bit. Serious. He pulls her towards him holding her tummy from behind, feeling her navel and gives her a small peck on her bare back. Then he zips her dress. Sandra: You, naughty boy. You’ll never change. Samuel is yet to surprise her even more. He has to give her a present that is still lying in his suitcase. He goes to the suitcase and removes the box. Then he keeps it behind and goes to his babe. Samuel: Babe, can you close your eyes for a minute? Sandra: Sure, why? Samuel: Just close them He opens the box and keeps it on the table. Then he goes behind her and puts his hands over her eyes. Samuel: Now keep moving forward till I tell you to stop. Sandra: What are you up to? Where are you taking me? Samuel: Shhh. Just obey. Sandra: Okay, General Samuel: (Removes his hands off her eyes) Now open your eyes. She opens it and sees a lovely fresh water pearl necklace with matching earrings. Sandra: You never cease to amaze me. These will go on well with this dress. Thank you so much. Samuel: The pleasure is mine, Madame All of them head towards the resort’s restaurant. The DJ tells the guests to enjoy the music and dance. Samuel and Sandra hit the dance floor and waltz to the song “Faithful” by Lobo. Samuel reminds Sandra of their first waltz at their wedding. The same song is playing from the speakers.

Sandra: So romantic, isn’t it? Samuel: Yea, it is They are swaying with their hands behind each others backs looking deeply into each others eyes as if they are the only two people on planet earth. Samuel pulls her body more closer to his, holding her tightly and they continue swaying. Sandra: Hmmm, this feels so nice. After some time they come out of their trance. Sandra: Honey, there is something important we need to talk about. Can we talk about it once the kids go to bed? Samuel: Sure They dance for a little while and then Samuel takes Rachel for a waltz. Then they sit around the table and watch other people dance. The DJ starts playing fast music and Ruth wants to jive with her father so Samuel takes her to the dance floor. When it comes to dancing with his children, Samuel’s waltz partner is always Rachel and the jive partner is Ruth. Then the whole family dances in a group. Paul is very hungry so he says… Paul: Are we going to fill our stomachs by dancing only or are we going to eat too? They stop dancing and order food. While having food Ruth comments on Rachel’s dancing and starts teasing her. Ruth is a good dancer. Sandra interrupts and tells Ruth that the family members were just enjoying themselves and it did not matter if Rachel was not dancing according to the beats. They have dinner and head to the room. It’s 10:00 PM already and Samuel is concerned about having the family prayer and putting the children to sleep but Sandra suggests that they can sleep late since they are not at home. Samuel agrees. So after their family prayer, Paul removes his colors and starts completing his happy family picture. Rachel wants to read and does not want to be disturbed, so she goes to the balcony of the room and reads the book Samuel gifted her. Ruth plays the guitar and practices some tunes. Sandra sings along as she plays the guitar. Samuel hums tunelessly to himself. It’s 10:30 PM and Samuel feels it’s time to go to bed. As it is a custom in the family to have a bedtime story read before going to sleep, Sandra and Samuel take turns in telling the kids a story from the Bible. Today it is Sandra’s turn so she decides to tell them the parable of the talent. She ends the story by telling them that God has given everyone different gifts and that they need to be used. Then the kids go to bed. Samuel and Sandra go to the balcony to talk. Samuel: What is it you wanted to talk about, honey? From your tone it sounded important. Sandra: I wanted us to talk about us and about someone else. Samuel: Who? Sandra: Your grandma Samuel: What about her? Sandra: Do you still miss her? Samuel: Yea, I still have fond memories of her. After she died my whole world came to a standstill. I missed her voice, her long and genuine prayers for me, her tasty curries, her

pampering, her hugs, her amazing heart, her love and a lot more of her. But I don’t miss her that much now because someone else has replaced her in my heart. Sandra: Who? He places both hands against the side of Sandra’s face. Samuel: The best wife and mother on planet earth, according to me – You! Sandra: Sweetheart, I need you to honest with me, okay? Have I really been a good wife and a mother? I was beginning to think that I could never give you love like your grandma and that you would always love her more than me. He thinks, “That’s exactly what I thought about you before we got married. I thought that you would always like sports more than me.” Samuel: Beyond my expectations. For the 12 years we’ve been together, you’ve given me so much love, care, and happiness. Not to forget three adorable kids. I rate you very high both as a wife and mother. Sandra: Thank you. Samuel: Your mom told me that you weren’t thinking of getting married once upon a time. Is that true? Sandra: Yea, that’s true. I wanted to remain single. But one day a married friend of mine told me, “Sandra there is nothing more fulfilling than getting married and starting a family of your own, and then taking care of your husband and kids till the day you die.” Those words touched my heart. After that there was nothing else in my life I wanted more than finding a dude and carrying his babies. Samuel: I see. Words are powerful, eh? Thank God for that friend. Sandra: Yea. What about you? I heard that you too wanted to live like Apostle Paul. Samuel: Well that was till I was 27 years old. When I was 27, I joined my current company. I was alone in Mumbai with all my close friends far away and I used to feel very lonely sitting in the apt. So I used to go up on the terrace of my apartment in the evenings and look at the stars and say to God, “Father, you have a lot of daughters like those millions of stars above. Have you prepared anyone for me and me for her? Is she looking at the stars from her terrace like me and praying a similar prayer?” I didn’t get an answer so I thought that He wanted me to live a single life and I was preparing myself to live such a life. Sandra: I see Samuel: Then my mom called me up one day and told me, “Son you need to come on 5th Sept. We’ve found the right girl for you. She will make an excellent wife!” Sandra: What was your reaction? Samuel: I said, “Mom, there are only 15 days left and I won’t get a ticket.” She told me to come standing in the bus if need be but to come somehow. Sandra: She said that? Samuel: Yea. They wanted you in the house. They saw you and liked you instantly. I said, “Mom, you’re telling me go through all that trouble just for a girl I don’t even know?” Sandra: I’m touched. I don’t know what your parents saw in me to have such faith in me. Were you really not getting a ticket? Samuel: Actually, I didn’t want to go on one more wild goose chase. I thought that this would be my third unfruitful life partner hunting trip. And I didn’t want to marry a Goan reindeer. Sandra: And why was that?

Samuel: Well, I thought that Goan girls were not God focused like the Keralites. I thought that they were self-centred and wastrels. But I was wrong. You changed that view I had held for a long time. Sandra: Thanks. That really means a lot to me coming out from you. Samuel: You know I was so overwhelmed from the amount of unselfish love I got from you. You made a lot of trips to the Road Transport Office for my driving license. Then you made more trips to that college in Margao to get me admitted for higher studies. You really were a selfless girl. Sandra: Thanks, hubby. That’s probably the best compliment I’ve got in a long time. Samuel: That’s the truth, you know Sandra: But all those things came later. What was the thing that you found attractive about me when we first met? Samuel: You told my family that you distributed gospel tracts at the railway station. Then before leaving you asked my dad for gospel tracts and carried them home unashamedly. I found that very very attractive. Sandra: Why? Samuel: I never knew that Goan girls did that. In all my years in Goa I had never seen a Goan girl doing that. So I said to myself, “Here is a girl who is not ashamed of the gospel. I need such a girl – A girl who cares about the things of God! Sandra: (Slightly disappointed) Wasn’t there anything physical about me that attracted you? Samuel: Well I wasn’t looking for a beauty queen. Facial beauty was not even on my priority list. Sandra: Are you telling the truth? Samuel: Why would I lie? I would have married you, even if you didn’t have a good looking face because of those qualities you had and because God told me to. But, to be totally honest, I did find your long black shiny hair attractive. Sandra: (Pleased) The cat is finally out of the bag. Thank God. Samuel: Why’d you pick me? You had other proposals too? Sandra: Why you? To be honest I wasn’t impressed by your looks and on the second day when I said yes to you I went back to my house and wondered, “Oh, my gosh, why did I say that?” Samuel: Really? So you said yes superficially thinking that you could back out later when you got a better proposal? Sandra: Sort of. But then when you came to my house with your parents, what I liked about you was that you had a mind of your own. You did not agree to all that your parents said. Samuel: Ok Sandra: But I still didn’t want to marry you and didn’t want to seek God’s will, fearing that He may tell me to marry you. Samuel: Yea, I figured that out by your cold shoulder routine. You almost pushed me away. If God hadn’t given me a sign, I would probably have walked away from your life never to return. Sandra thinks, “Thank God you didn’t.” Samuel recalls that difficult period of his life, momentarily. Sandra had repeatedly hurt him deeply with her sharp tongue. Wanting to get the hurt off his chest, he had then gone to one of his close friends in his office and told him what she had said. The friend (fuming) advised him to get rid of her, if he had any self respect as she didn’t deserve him and told him not to worry as there

were a lot of fish in the sea who had a sober estimate of themselves and didn’t hurt people the way she had. That day, Samuel chose to obey God rather than his friend. He forgave her. He went back to his room that night and created his own version of 1Cor.13 and wrote it down in his diary: v1. If I speak in mother tongues and heavenly tongues, but don’t have love, I am an useless drum. v2. And if I can prophesy like Jeremiah and teach the Bible like C.H. Spurgeon, but don’t love people, those gifts are of no use. And if I have faith to shake the heavens and the earth, but don’t have love, I am a worthless bum. v3. If I donate all my property to charity, and let my body be crucified upside down, but don’t have love, it’s as if I am left with an empty bottle of rum. v4. Loves takes shit for prolonged periods, It kisses the mouth that spits on it. It is happy with just one talent while marrying a person with many talents, It does not advertise itself, it always keeps its face down in the dust. v5. It does not embarrass the unmannerly, It does not ask, “What’s in it for me?”, It does not let the blood pressure rise when humiliated, It does not maintain a diary to jot down the number of times its nose has been rubbed in dung. v7. It always remains faithful, Always trusts the person it loves, Always looks forward to winds of change, Always bears with stupidity/childishness. v11. When I was a baby I peed and shat on those who held me, not knowing what I was doing. When I grew up I started using the loo. He tells God, “Heavenly Father, my baby has grown up. What an amazing job your Holy Spirit did in her heart! She isn’t the same person I knew before marriage. Thank you. All glory be to you alone.” Sandra: Honey… are you here? Samuel: Oh, yeah Sandra: What were you thinking? You seemed lost in thought. Samuel: Oh, nothing Sandra: I am sorry about that period. I was very very immature and foolish. Samuel: No worries. All is well that ends well. Sandra: God made me realize in those days that He had created you for me and that I should accept you and not despise you so I chose to obey God. You were my Timothy who I had been looking down on. God also sent an elderly couple to tell me that it’s not what’s on the outside that matters and that only what’s on the inside does! Samuel thinks, “You didn’t know that looks fade with the passage of time? How dumb!” Samuel: So what were some of the things inside me that you found attractive? Sandra: A lot of them but I came to know about them later. After I obeyed God. Samuel: Like what? Sandra: Well, you had a higher IQ than most Goan boys. I used to wonder if I was smart enough to be your wife.

Samuel thinks, “Is this false humility? I don’t think she ever thought that!” Samuel: Really? I find it hard to believe that. Sandra: Seriously. Then, you were a very polite and patient person. Unlike the violent boys I knew. Samuel: I see Sandra: The quality that impressed me the most about you was your far sightedness. You were such a long sighted boy. I loved that. No one else I knew looked so far. When you told me about taking a plunge into real estate development and starting a 10 seater call center, you spoke with such conviction even though you didn’t have any capital, I realized then and there that this was no ordinary boy I was listening to. Samuel: Okay, so that’s when the scales fell from your eyes? Sandra: Yea. I went and told a church friend, “I’ve never felt this way about anyone. He’s different.” But I still didn’t have romantic feelings for you then. Sandra: Did you have them for me? Samuel: Some time in the middle, they came all of a sudden. But, I didn’t have the guts to say that to you. Sandra: I thought you were a boldie. Samuel: God had a reason for bringing us together. Sandra: Yea Sandra holds the side of his face and kisses him on the cheek. Samuel thinks, “Honey, you should kiss me more often like this.” Samuel: What was that for, babe? Sandra: For being an understanding husband. The two lie on the bed next to each other. Not speaking. Just enjoying being in each others company. They kiss and then fall asleep in each other’s arms. They get good sleep since they are physically exhausted. The next morning Samuel and Sandra are awake but just lying on the bed. Out of the kids, Paul is the first to wake up. He goes and sits on Samuel’s stomach. Samuel likes that. He asks Samuel… Samuel: Do you like sitting on my tummy, son? Paul: Very much dad Samuel: (Looks at his son and says) Once upon a time someone used to always nag me about it, telling me to put it inside. Paul: Who dad? Sandra blushes, “Oh, don’t embarrass me honey, please. At that time I didn’t know the benefits of an inflated tummy. I’ve realized over the years that it’s the softest cushion on earth.” Samuel sees her facial expression and thinks, “I’m glad this is amusing someone now.” Samuel: (Doesn’t want to name her) Oh, someone in our family. Samuel asks Paul if he slept well. Later Ruth and Rachel go near their parents. Sandra pats them on the head. Ruth starts a pillow fight and later the others join. This is the family’s favourite way

of passing time when there is nothing important to do in the morning. They have fun and then settle down. Sandra tells everyone to pick their things up and clean the room as it is time to leave. Samuel goes to the reception to pay the bills. Paul clears his colors. Rachel packs the clothes bag, Ruth deflates the volleyball and packs her guitar. Sandra packs the dirty clothes. Samuel comes back with breakfast. Paul volunteers to give thanks for the food and prays… Paul: Thank you God for this food. I wish this morning did not come and we stayed here longer. All open their eyes and smile at Paul’s innocent prayer. Samuel: Kids, I promise that we’ll be going out for such picnics more often in the future. Sandra agrees with Samuel by saying… Sandra: Sweetie, that was exactly what was going on in my mind too. We must go for picnics often. Samuel nods his head in agreement. Samuel: The next picnic will be as soon as your finish your final exams. The kids are very excited because they know very well that whatever their parents promise, they do. As they are leaving the room, Paul gives Samuel a card. The card has a happy family picture in front. Inside the card it is written “Thank you mom and dad for the wonderful picnic. – From Rachel, Ruth and Paul” This is written by the girls. Samuel is very touched and kisses all three of them on their foreheads and hugs all three of them tightly.

ABOUT ME The author takes care of <a href="">accommodation in Goa</a>, arranges <a href="">benaulim holidays</a>, and rents <a href="">bungalows in Goa</a>.

The story of a Goan family  

THE STORY OF A GOAN FAMILY INTRODUCTION One chapter is devoted to my hero – Zac Poonen (a writer known in Christian circles). I hope you enj...