The Gratitude Trunk

The Gratitude Trunk

Naomi , reached her ailing grandmother ‘s house in Warsaw. Caroline, her grandmother wanted to share some secret which she had never shared with her.

Naomi held her grandmother’s  wrinkled hands. She pointed her finger under her table. Naomi ,looked beneath the table and found an old dilapidated trunk full of dents and almost rusted . She wondered why her grandmother was pointing out at that trunk only. Sarah took her near the trunk and told

“Naomi , your grandmother wants you to open this trunk and discover a great history and the story before your birth. When you open this trunk, you will find many letters, photographs and articles which will lead you to a whole new world. It will teach you a virtue so rarely found . If you understand it , it will help you to create a better world .”

Naomi was eager to open the trunk and check it’s contents. As she stood there feeling astonished, she found some strange words written on it. ” Vasudeva Kutumbakam” or The world is our family. Then she spotted an old photograph of many women, children and an Indian Maharaja. On looking at the photograph closely , Naomi found a name written below “‘ Jam Saheb’ or ‘ Bapu ‘and us.”

Slowly Naomi began to read the letters and began to realise that her grandmother , Caroline was among those five hundred women and two hundred children , who were put inside the ship from Poland during the second World War for they were Jew refugees. Their ship sailed for many days in search of a nation which would accept them. Finally after crossing Iran , it reached India, near Bombay, where they were refused again. Finally The Maharaja of Jamnagar, found the ship with all the sick children and adults. 

” It was ‘Bapu’ ,who embraced us with open arms that day . He helped us all settle , provided free education to all the children in an army school. We stayed in India till the time the War ended. We were filled with a huge sense of gratitude for this amazing gesture of ‘Bapu’. We wrote him many letters of gratitude and put them all in this trunk. But , Bapu refused to keep these letters , articles or photographs with him saying that it was his duty to help someone in need. He was more happy that the almighty had selected him for this act of kindness. So we brought the trunk back with us to Poland that day . It has travelled from one family to other who witnessed the great virtue of kindness that day ,by a small Indian State King. 

We share this incident to make the coming generations aware that we should learn to be kind with our fellow human beings.”

After Naomi finished reading them , she decided to help the fellow Indians and other refugees who were affected during the war in Ukraine. She promised her grandmother that she will share the story of kindness and save as many fellow humans who were distressed.
Note: This story is based on the true incidents based on World War ll. Maharaja DigvijaySighji, Ranjit singhji Jadeja , a newly knighted ruler from the small state of Nawangar in Gujrat opened doors and his heart to the unsettled Polish people in 1941. There were around thousand Polish Orphans between 2 to 17 years of age, who entered Nawangar and a camp for them was established at Balachadi. The children who lost their parents referred to him as ‘ Bapu’.

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One thought on “The Gratitude Trunk

  1. Learnt so much after reading the beautiful story. These small yet poignant incidence are the hidden treasure we need to find, read and learn.
    Thank you so much for sharing this story Aditi.

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