Today's Beautiful Gem: A proem on `Transportation' by M. Udayakala.

"More than ten thousand years ago, my great-great-grand-father
drove the chariot for Rama, the just king,
whom we worship to-day and for whom we build temples.

"More than twenty-five hundred years ago, my great-grand-father
rowed the boat on Ganga for Sakyamuni, the Liberator,
whom we extol as an apostle of non-violence.

"Nearly four hundred years ago, my grand-father
lifted the palanquin of Padmini, the chaste princess of Chitor,
who immolated herself to preserve honour and dignity.

"Nearly one hundred years ago, my father
pulled the rickshaw for the Memsahib, the Master's wife,
whose skin was creamy white, but whose heart was full of spite.

"Yesterday, I
drove a horse-cart carrying from the station to the inn pilgrims,
who are pious in heart, but at times are greedy in mind.

"Today, my son
runs the Rajdhani Express from capital to capital,
adding joy, subtracting misery and uniting families.

"My grand-daughter talks about tomorrow and says:
`When I grow up, I'll pilot a space-ship to Mars
bridging space and time as well as past and future.'

"And our Guru Baba says:
`Son, we are all travellers on this Earth, and He sends His camels
to transport us to the Oasis across miles of desert.' "

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao