Saturday, 16 August 2014

Hemantha Kalam - 27 'Do Miracles Happen?'

“Just because you can explain, it doesn’t mean it’s still not a miracle’
- Terry Pratchett (Sir Terence David John Pratchett OBE), Small Gods 1992

Several attempts have been and are being made to explain what a Miracle is. So, what is a Miracle? How does one define it? Has it got to be linked only to the divine?

It is believed that the word ‘Miracle’ apparently took root in the Latin word ‘Mirari’ which means ‘to wonder’. A Miracle is an event that cannot or may not be explained with natural or scientific laws or reasoning. Any act / happening that is reported and which can cause wonder, because the incident was something beyond the reach of human action or natural causes, is supposed to be a Miracle.

It is when the impossible happens. It is when there is no earthy reason for something wonderful to have happened. It is when such an event might have been attributed to a supernatural being – divine (mostly) or otherwise!

As I think I remember to have mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, my first boss (1976 vintage) used to have a small sticker plaque stuck onto his cabin door that said (the words I remember perfectly) ‘We do the impossible immediately. The Miraculous takes a little longer’

I always wondered - ‘Do Miracles take place’? In fact, I should not have; as I found the answer more than once, so far in my life – Yes, they do and how?

In 1971, we, in our family, had encountered our seemingly first miracle (think it was on 4th July). On that fateful day, my father went to a neighbouring house some seven blocks away to pluck some fresh curry leaves, for preparing breakfast as our stock of curry leaves in the house exhausted and we did not have a curry leaf plant in our house, yet.

For company, my kid sister, aged about a year and a half, accompanied him. It was almost pre-dawn and I was still lolling in my bed. Apparently my father made my sister stop a few paces behind him and attempted to pluck some tender curry leaves from the plant. In the process, he came into contact with a metal wire, used to dry the washing, which was passing through the plant.  Somewhere else, this metal line must have been contacting a live and leaking electric cable as the moment he touched the wire, along with the raw curry leaves, he was electrocuted.

The cabin with the main switch was locked and the person nearest to my father could not trace the key. So he started hollering around and a person in a farm nearby heard him. This person in the farm, Mr. Mani, to whom we owe our deepest gratitude, for eternity, had worked with some electrician once and had some basic idea of rescuing an electrocuted person. He searched for and caught hold of a dry wooden pole and rushed to my father’s location and hit him with the pole. This entire process took some 12 to 13 minutes and it was a miracle that my father survived the length of the ordeal and survived. Because, in India, the domestic supply of electricity is always around 220-230 volts of AC power.

My father was released, but by that time he was injured in his feet, and started bleeding in the foot. Till my father was carried home by these people, we were blissfully unaware of what happened. If the survival of my father was a miracle, that my kid sister did not touch him while being electrocuted is what we consider a second miracle.

Much later, one morning, in 2006, I was leaving for my office and left my home with my laptop bag in one hand and my lunch hamper in the other (the back packs for laptops were not introduced yet, then, in India). I got into my car and slowly eased it out, of my cellar parking lot, on a declining ramp into the street and drove off on a pot-holed road.

About half a kilometer later or so, I suddenly realised that I am not having my mobile phone on the empty passenger seat where I normally keep it upon. I clearly remembered taking it from the desk in my home. I wondered how I had lost it, as the doors and windows for the car were locked and shut.

Clearly worried, I turned back my car with great difficulty, in the crowded, office going traffic, to return home and to check once again, there.

I was beginning even to sweat. The cost of the mobile phone instrument was negligible - even today I try to have an inexpensive, simple and functional mobile phone instrument – but my fear was more for losing the contacts and the little but important data stored into its tiny mind and memory.

I returned home and again driving up on the now inclining ramp, parked my car in my lot, went up and searched all over in my house. No, I could not find it there too! My wife swore that she specifically saw me taking the mobile out, when leaving for office, the first time.

Now more worried, but having little else to do, I walked back to the car, all the time trying to recollect every movement of mine, on my earlier trip out, in the morning. I remembered that both my hands were occupied; one hand carrying the laptop bag and ‘the mobile phone’ and the other, the lunch hamper. So then, what happened to the mobile phone?

Only when I approached the car, the second time that morning, I recollected that to free my fingers to open the car door, I had kept the mobile phone on the roof top of my car and casually looked there. And lo and presto, my mobile was there – where I had kept it.

It was a great relief. But then awe overtook me. Now I recollected the sequence. I had kept it there and moved out on an incline, drove on pot-holed streets and maneuvered the car in tight traffic to return home, drove again on the pot-holed street, then up on the ramp, parked it in my lot unguarded and where it remained an easy target for anybody to come and pick it up (no security guard in my house and no compound wall or a fence to guard, either) and yet it was there where I had kept it. It was not hooked or pasted. It just was lying there. This is no less than a ‘Miracle’ for me!

Yes, a logical argument that the mobile could have had magnetic properties and so it stuck resonates well with me and is accepted. Just to disprove myself on the ‘Miracle’ feeling, I did the same routine of keeping my mobile on the roof top of the car exactly where I had kept it earlier on the day I had ‘lost and found’ it, for at least two consecutive times, only to see my mobile fall off within a couple of feet of the wheel rolling. No Magnet, no miracle again!

That day I was lucky and the ‘Miraculous’ happened! If somebody insists that it was just a coincidence, I have no qualms on it!

Sometime during 2007-2008, one morning, my daughter who came home from her university wanted to call her grandparents (my parents) and called over phone very early in the morning as both my parents are early risers. In fact my father always rises the earliest.

On hearing the phone ringing, my sister, the same kid sister who was with my dad in the first instance was roused from her sleep and smelled something burning. Perturbed, she called out to my mother and both of them saw my father sprawled onto the burning gas stove with the right side of his face lying on the burning gas stove and the top of his body burnt badly with boiling milk. Both of them helped him to bed and got my kid brother and another sister who stays nearby, to find out what happened. I stay a bit farther and so took time to reach.

Over sometime, my father gained consciousness and told us amidst intolerable pain, that as always he woke up early and put the milk to boil on the gas stove for brewing his early morning coffee. As the milk was about to be taken off, he had a stroke and he fell on the burning stove. He was earlier treated for Heart disease and Brain Ischaemia by a double by-pass surgical procedure, but it appeared that on this day he had suffered a stroke of Brain Ischaemia and fell on the burning stove.

If he was found any later we would not know what would have happened. Again it was miraculous and eventually, we found that he survived but this survival was the most painful for him and to all of us who could see him suffer so much. He is a man of grit, my dad sure is! He is still scarred of the various degrees of burning he survived, with his right ear slightly disfigured.

These might be the miracles that happened to us in our family. But day in and day out, all of us would be encountering some miracle and I am sure that every one of us would have an interesting story to tell.  It is like Albert Einstein said, ‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle’

In 1975 ‘Hot Chocolate’ sang in the famous and popular song ‘You Sexy Thing’ ( for the full song)

……Where did you come from, angel?
How did you know I’d be the one?                                                                  
Did you know you’re everything I prayed for?      
Did you know every night and day for?

…… I believe in miracles, 
Where you from, you sexy thing? Sexy thing, you,
I believe in Miracles

It sure is a matter of belief, and I do tend to believe that miracles can, after all, and do happen!

And as Paulo Coelho said in his blog; ‘At this very moment I am doing what I most like, and that is the miracle that I try to work every day’ (

I agree! I believe in Miracles!

Now, do you? You tell me! 

Till then, 

Krutagjnatalu (Telugu), Nanri (Tamil), Dhanyavaadagalu (Kannada), Nanni (Malayalam), Dhanyavaad (Hindi), Thanks (English), Dhonyabaad (Bangla), Gracias (Spanish), Grazie (Italian), Danke Schon (Deutsche), Merci (French), Obrigado (Portuguese), Shukraan (Arabic), Shukriya (Urdu), Sthoothiy (Sinhalese) Aw-koon (Khmer), Kawp Jai Lhai Lhai (Laotian), Kob Kun Krab (Thai) and Asante (Kiswahili), Maraming Salamat sa Lahat (Pinoy-Tagalog-Filipino)

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy
Chennai, India


  1. I do believe in miracles.

    Most recent one, me and my son were travelling in Bullet (son riding) to drop me at a nearby bus stop. Short distance and hence both had no helmets. To avoid a cow crossing the road, son applied brakes.After dragging for about 10-15 ft the bike came to a halt and fell on th sides. Both escaped major injuries. I had bruises in my arm and silencer burn on the legs (all minor ). Nothing major for both.
    It could have been worse. We hear of head injuries falling from bikes etc., It was only miracle that both escaped, at the speed we were travelling......60-70 km/hr.

    Well written Hemanth.

  2. Thank you for your kind words and also for sharing your own experiences dear Senguttuvan Anne!

    My system has been giving me trouble for sometime and somehow I could not respond immediately to your comment as is normally done by me!

    Thank you once again for your time and responses.

    Best wishes and regards

  3. Hello Hemanth.. It was indeed a pleasure to put a pleasant face to a name when we met fortuitously at the PSM meeting. We could have spoken about many things had we the time...or the right ambience...however in the final was good..we got to know each other personally and that but for coming to a meeting that I have not been attending for several years for no particular itself a miracle....a minor one at that..however it had one happy conclusion our meeting and of course later that evening a pleasant time with friends whose company I have not enjoyed for a long time.
    But I digress... I too have experienced many miracles in my time...and as one who regards the spiritual or unseen world as a greater reality than the seen one...I constantly believe in miracles and wait in anticipation for them to exaggerate a could entire life is one..a miracle.
    I wanted to add a few anecdotes here but having been inspired by you to take up blogging again..I think this may remain a comment for now... I enjoyed your article so much..that I will also restart my blogging and add a link here...for anecdotes of miracles personally experienced by me..thank you for a pleasant and inspiring time..Doc as Bugs Bunny and my friends call me.:)

  4. I am known by various names but the one most common is medical moniker...then there is Thamba for my older friends..a nickname from my youth.. I guess having an older sister gave me the pleasure of being called Thamba..which in our Telegu speaking home...(I am German/Telegu BTW) seemed to be apt at the time but rather out of place as I am the eldest of three brothers who came later..ha ha. Dr. Nicolas Vincent Rao is my whole and entire name...Doc will do.

  5. Das ist sehr Gut Herr Doktor! Ich weis eine bischen Deutsche aber nicht gut!

    Vielen danke fur ihre freundlichen worte!

    I am sure that you will write very well when you decide to restart writing your blogs afresh!

    Best wishes and warm regards