Andrew was reversing his car out of the garage when he saw his daughter Avanti walking down the pathway that led to the main gate. She was dressed up and was holding an envelope in her hand.
"Where are you going?"
"I ... I ...am going....." Avanti hesitated and then said, "Papa I am going to the post office."
"I have to drop this letter."
"Give it me, I'll drop it."
Avanti hesitated for a moment and then handed over the envelope. Andrew placed it on the seat beside him, reversed the car out of the main gate and waving to Avanti drove off. He was getting late for the office and decided not to stop on the way. From the office he would send his messenger Jeetram to post the letter.
After reaching his office he rang the bell. As he waited for Jeetram to appear he casually glanced at the envelope. In a childish scrawl was written the following address:
High in the Sky.
Andrew tore open the envelope and started reading:
Dear Mister God,
This is my first letter to you. My Mama used to say that you love children very much. That you always answer their prayers. My Mama died three days after my seventh birthday. Till then I was very happy. But now I am very, very sad. My Papa used to laugh and play with me when my Mama was there. But now he hardly talks to me. He is always very sad. He doesn't laugh and play anymore. In the morning he leaves early and comes home only after I have gone to bed. Daisy Aunty says he has started drinking.
Please Mister God, I don't want to stay in this house without Mama. Please, can you send her back. If you can't send her back because she has already become an angel, then please take me away with you just as you took Mama away.
I am good girl. You can ask Mama. I always do my homework, make my own bed and drink my milk. I will not bother you. Please Mister God, I will be waiting.
He closed his eyes and thought about the events of the last nine months....
Janet had died in a road accident nine months ago. With her death his life had been completely shattered. Luckily Mrs. Daisy, the governess, had been there to take care of Avanti or things would have got more complicated. After Janet's death Andrew just didn't feel like going home. Every little thing in the house reminded him of his Janet and the moments they had spent together. He started leaving home early in the morning and working late in the office. From there, instead of heading straight home, he would go to the nearby bar and start drinking. He would reach home long after Alice had slept. He never spared a thought for Avanti convinced that Mrs. Daisy was taking good care of her. She had been with them for the last three years and Janet had trained her well.
Absorbed in his own sorrow, Andrew had failed to notice his daughter's loneliness. He had not realized that she was missing her mother as much, if not more, than he was missing his wife. Avanti needed his love and affection. Mrs. Daisy could hardly be a substitute for either Janet or even Andrew.
He looked at his watch. It was one. He had spent close to three hours under the shade of Grandpa Moses. He got up, carefully put the letter in his pocket and walked towards his car....
* * *
Six months later Avanti was still in bed. Andrew was about to wake her up when he saw the all too familiar brown envelope on the table beside the bed. Once again it was addressed to Mister God. He picked up the envelope and walked into the living room. He tore open the envelope, removed the letter inside it, and settling into a chair started reading:
Dear Mister God,
This is my second letter to you. I know you got the first one. I want to thank you. Even though you didn't send Mama or take me to her, you did something which is almost as good. You changed my Papa completely.
You know Mister God, I now sleep with him in his room, with his big and strong arms around me. My Papa tells me stories - funny ones, scary ones and sometimes lovely ones which are a little sad. In the morning we go together for swimming. He has taught me how to swim. In the evening we go for Yoga. At night after dinner he takes me out for a ride. He has even stopped drinking - you can check with Daisy Aunty.
Dear Mister God, thank you so much. You could not give me back my Mama but you have given me a brand new Papa.
Lots of love and kisses,
Andrew stopped reading. A few minutes later when Mrs. Daisy entered the living room with the breakfast tray she found Andrew sitting in the armchair his eyes closed, a crumpled envelope in his hand and tears streaming down his face.