Indian Village SceneOn the hot, dusty but fertile plains of the south Deccan Plateau in India a son was born to an orthodox Hindu family.  They called him Madhu, and proceeded to shower on the young child the love and devotion Hindus give in abundance to their children. They were double blessed as this was a boy! Village life was very pleasant, though people with a western upbringing would never comprehend it that way.

Madhu enjoyed his elementary school years, the constant round of village activities, festivals, and the religious nature of his environment with all its satisfying Hindu rituals. He enjoyed most of all the time of day when buffalo keepers would bring their animals down to the village pond.  He’d join village boys as they rode on the backs of these large animals floating about in the water.  He could not imagine a better life, and plans for the future centered round this village where his ancestors had lived.

Madhu’s parents had other plans for him.  While they were strict Hindus they recognized for their son to achieve great things he‘d have to leave their village for an education. Casting about for the highest quality education they could give him they were referred to a Christian school in the city of Bangalore nearby.

As the young lad diligently applied himself to opportunities given him in his middle level education a whole new world opened to him. His mind expanded to drink in knowledge offered him from every source.  Ambitions and possibilities he’d never dreamed of before danced before his eyes, and he determined to aim high in life.

While all these exciting possibilities were opening to him, Madhu came face to face with the Christian religion.  He stood amazed at the concept of a God who gave more than He received, and daily compared what he learned to stories of gods he’d served up to this time. He decided to embrace the principles of this new religion.

Madhu’s parents were appalled when they realized their son had come under the influence of the Christian God. Christians may have had an excellent educational system, and Christian nations were obviously prosperous but they were a low form of existence in the mind of Hindus. Madhu’s parents reasoned this would inhibit their son’s progress toward union with the eternal spirit, and he’d be reincarnated in the next life as a low life form.

How could they stand by and see this happen to their son?  Who would perform the funeral rites as they should be followed? How could they face their caste members and relatives and confess their son had deserted the ancient ways.  The loving parents forbade him to have anything to do with the Christian God, and Madhu, with an aching heart chose to disobey them.  Forsaking ancient ways was an almost unheard of thing in village India and the parents angrily and sorrowfully withdrew their support!

But there were those among the Indian teaching staff who’d watched Madhu grow and could see he’d great potential. From their meagre savings they pooled resources and helped him through his final years of preparatory education until he could find work and continue to pursue dreams himself.

Madhu the village boy eventually became a highly educated professor and an administrator.  Some time later he had the joy of reconciling with his parents. When they saw his prosperity and noted the importance of his position in society they decided their gods were not displeased with the decision made after all. His benefactors during years when he had no parental support rejoiced that their sacrifice had not been in vain.

One day Madhu and I were driving past a village in a remote area of India similar to the one he was raised in.  Our conversation lapsed as he gazed out the window and watched children splash in the village pond with their buffalo friends.  Women washed their clothes in the pond and men sat on their charpois at the entrance to their mud huts waiting for crops to ripen and the possibility of work from the large landholders.

Madhu suddenly broke from his introspection and turned to face me.

“How fortunate I was to have parents who wanted a better life for me even though they didn’t comprehend at that time where their choice would lead.  Would you believe my only ambition as a child was to live the life of a villager?  There’s nothing wrong with that but I’d no understanding of the potential that lies within the human soul if opportunities are given and grasped,”

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014 All rights reserved

NB. The above image is copyrighted to


21 thoughts on “MADHU’S CHOICE

  1. having been raised in a family that fled Europe in the 1940s and hearing the stories from my parents of how they changed their faith during the process, I could feel both for Madhu’s parents and then subsequently their joy as they saw what he had done with his life because of their willingness to provide him with a life better than ‘just a village lad’. To hear his response as a successful professional adult, revealed the wonderful lessons of humility his family had obviously taught him when he was young. Loved the story.


  2. Wonderful story sweet Ian. How blessed Madhu was that he and his parents were reconciled and he did so well in life. I love hearing stories were parents are loving and understanding and want what is best for their children even when they do not agree with the choices their children make. That should happen for every child but unfortunately it does not.

    Oh, I really like your new blog look. The color is so refreshing. Nice job! Hugs


  3. I worked with him and I can assure you no one would be game to poke fun at his name (lol), and for that matter it just didn’t seem a big laughing point to any one around the college or university professors he associated with. I guess its the same with Chandra (moon) which seems to be unisex too. The unusual is the norm in India.


    1. It’s hard to say. He certainly would not have had opportunities for advancement had he stayed in the village after his education was complete and he had followed his parents wishes. One would have to credit his drive and initiative but I’ve come across many people who have had those attributes but never had the opportunity and spent their life frustrated with their lot.


  4. Ian, I absolutely loved this story. Wow, it’s so good to hear stories of hope and good from other cultures and nationalities. It makes me sad when I hear of all the injustice towards people because of certain worldviews, mindsets, beliefs, etc. I don’t know if you have watched the movie, “Not Today”? It’s about a father and daughter who are Dalits from India (a very low caste, untouchable). The father ends up selling his daughter so that she can have “better life”. That so wasn’t the case though. These little girls and their parents are told that their daughters will have a better life, but they are actually sold into human trafficking. If you ever get a chance to watch it… you won’t regret it.
    Blessing and that you so much for posting this.


    1. I lived among a cross section of the peoples of India for 20 years so have a fairly good grasp of conditions there. My take is that the poor do not sell their children for the sake of their children’s advancement, they sell them for their own temporary survival. Too many mouths to feed in the family with little income to support them or just plain avoiding the cost of buying a husband for them with a dowry they can’t afford.


      1. Hi Ian. Oh, I totally agree with you. And even in this film, you can tell that the father sells his daughter in part for temporary survival, but he was also told that his daughter would have a better life. Not that she would advance, but he was unable to provide for her so it was better for her to clean someone’s house, etc, then to constantly try to fight for their daily needs. When he finds out that that’s not the case he searches for her.
        Interesting that you lived among a cross section of the people of India. I grew up in Vancouver, Canada and around 80% of my school was Asian. I also lived in India in 2008 while my husband was doing a Frontier Media course.


      2. One of my poems deals with this question and the issue of the production of poppies in the Golden Triangle. You will find it under the poems index and the name is “Poppy Fields.”


  5. This vignette highlights an ancient Indian saying:

    What we know is akin to a measure of one hand, what we don’t know – all the sands of this world!

    Lucky Madhu – his benefactors were there when he needed them. You know this gentleman or know of him, I suppose.

    I must add that although the name is unisex – it is used mostly for females – as it means sweet, honey. As a kid, he must have had a tough time living that down.

    You loaded a new theme, Ian – nice change – and a different self portrait too 🙂

    Have a great weekend,


    1. I worked with him and I can assure you no one would be game to poke fun at his name (lol), and for that matter it just didn’t seem a big laughing point to any one around the college or university professors he associated with. I guess its the same with Chandra (moon) which seems to be unisex too. The unusual is the norm in India.


      1. Madhu is a predominantly male name in the South, most common in Kerala. (Mine is an exception, borrowed from the North, named as I am after the protagonist of a famous Bollywood movie! 🙂 ). In Kerala it is almost always an abbreviation of Madhusudan, Madhavan or Madhukar, all names of Lord Krishna.


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