Selection for the Civil Services gave me great joy and satisfaction, and divine help had a major role in the success. During those days we used to stay very near to the Ravipuram Sri Krishna Temple, at Ernakulam. Going to the Temple everyday was a routine for every family member. Our grandfather used to regularly come every month to visit us, and during one such visit instructed me to cling to Lord Ravipurathappan very tightly as He was very powerful and would reward me with a prestigious job!
The much-awaited order came one day by registered post in June 1978, directing me to report for training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) on July 12th, 1978.
Hectic packing preparations began, as also saying goodbye to relatives and friends. I booked my train ticket on July 05th by Jayanti Janatha Express, to New Delhi. During those days it was a fifty-two-hour long journey. Early morning, I went to the Temple to bid goodbye to the Lord. After prayers, I approached the sanctum-sanctorum for the ‘prasad’ and the priest as usual gave me the same on a small strip of plantain leaf. Usually it would be some flowers, leaves, and a little sandal paste.
I stepped aside to take a small pinch of sandal paste to smear on my forehead, when my fingers touched on a paper like material tucked among the small bunch of leaves and flowers. Upon sifting the leaves and flowers, I found a folded one-rupee currency note! I was very shocked and thrilled at this unexpected discovery. It was as though the Lord had given the gift on the day of my journey! What a surprising coincidence. But another conflicting thought arose in my mind, was it correct to take the Lord’s money, will it be tantamount to stealing? I could not resolve the dilemma, so dashed home to seek my mother’s advice. When I narrated the incident to her, she said, you are so lucky, it is God’s gift only, keep it forever safely. She quoted a line “God always gives us unexpected blessings”. She gave me another one-rupee currency note and told me to deposit it in the Temple Hundi (offertory), to compensate for the one rupee note that had come into my hands. I rushed back to the Temple and put the money in the Hundi, thanked and prostrated to the Lord for his profound munificence.
The one-rupee gift was safely wrapped in a passport size photograph paper cover, with an endorsement “This money was given to me by Lord Ravipurathappan on July 05th 1978” and kept in my purse. The cover with the note has been safely and securely there with me for the last over forty years, only its colour has mildly faded. It has travelled with me wherever my service life has taken me. Together we have seen good people, bad people, cunning people, pompously egoistic bosses, gentleman bosses, dignified bosses, ruffian bosses, strange places, strange landscapes, and mysterious vicissitudes of all kinds. Through thick and thin, the one-rupee currency note has been always with me, imparting a rare courage and confidence, to be alone and brave, to handle any circumstance, adversity, or inimical people with ease. Even today it is there with me, folded, and in the very same cover in which it was placed in July 1978. The one-rupee note is not in circulation nowadays, but its value is priceless for me.