This post is my tribute to three amazing Americans whom I met, read about and came to know, this Thursday. I had been to a brotherhood meeting this Thursday in Downtown Seattle. All of us were formally dressed in full black suits. The meeting had a peculiar arrangement. It started with a light dinner at <st1:time minute="30" hour="18">6:30 PM</st1:time>. The actual meeting started at <st1:time minute="30" hour="19">7:30</st1:time>. When it was over around a <st1:time minute="45" hour="8">quarter to nine</st1:time>, we moved over to an adjoining room for a rich dessert of cakes and ice-creams. (Oh, my God! I got to watch my weight! It is going up faster than the Indian stock index) I took a spoonful of icecream and as my hand was nearing my mouth, my mind restlessly expecting the heavanly moment of the ice-cream hitting my taste buds, I heard a voice from behind. “Hey, Sridddhaa…” (well, that was the best pronunciation I had for my name from Americans. You cant even begin to imagine the result of other attempts. Poor me!) A gentleman probably in his late sixties wanted to chit-chat with me. After a minute or two of idle talk, he became serious and asked me in the tone of a journalist, “How come you have so many Gods in <st1:country-region><st1lace>India</st1lace></st1:country-region>?” I had vowed not to discuss religion within the Masonic community.But he persisted. I showed him the ice cream and asked him about the tastes and flavours available. He thought I was trying to change the subject. But I wasn’t. “Oh we have thousands, here in <st1:country-region><st1lace>America</st1lace></st1:country-region>.” “But with all the thousands, don’t we know that the basic cream is the same? While some love the strawberry one, others love the vanilla and people like me go for the chocolate, some have it with nuts, some with sauce, some on a bar, some on a cone, many on cups, a few on plates…” “Forget the ice-cream, this many Gods..” “That’s where I am coming to. In all these thousand ways of eating ice-cream, the basic cream is the same. People want it in different forms and flavours. And so is the case with our Gods. The basic truth is the same. But our religion delivers Him in many forms.” From the kind of look I got from him I was not sure whether he understood what I said or hated my metaphor. Now it was his turn to switch the topic. The lesson I learnt from him came only after that. He told me that he was a blue collar worker – you know the one who gets his hands dirty at his job. He was actually a window-cleaner. A specialist in cleaning windows of tall buildings. He was 72 years old but looked pretty strong. I asked him with a little hesitation whether he found it difficult to carry on with his job at this age. “Oh no.” He almost shouted. “I still have the two assets that are prized in my professoion. Dexterity in my hands and balance in my legs. For if I lose the former I will be doing a sloppy job. And if I lose the latter I will fall down and die.” I asked him when he had planned to retire. (You see I work for a retirement plan company here) “When I die.” He said without blinking. Only in a place like the <st1:country-region><st1lace>US</st1lace></st1:country-region> a window cleaner can declare his profession with dignity and carry himself with pride. Only in the <st1:country-region><st1lace>US</st1lace></st1:country-region> can a person like him wear a full-suit and mingle with lawyers, doctors and accountants. Oh, the pride he had for his job! I had no words. I took a step backward and gave a salute to him. The next American to amaze me was a 77 year old woman. There was a letter in an Agony Aunt column in Seattle Times. A 70 year old woman had lamented that she could not find a man to marry! I first thought of posting her query. But then one of the readers, a 77 year old woman had responded to her question like this. ”On <st1:date year="2006" day="31" month="12">December 31, 2006</st1:date> I met my new husband one day after his 81<sup>st</sup> birthday. He rides motorcycles, flied his own ultralight airplane and drove 1200 miles round trip twice a month to see me. He is not rich but is financially secure and loves my six kids as his own. He is healthy, a great lover and my best friend. We were married in August. I met him on the Internet.” The 77 year old looking for a partner on the Net. The 81 year old man driving 1200 miles twice a month to see his 77 year old lover. And the lady calling him “a great lover and my best friend.” ILites, I do not think you need Varalotti to explain the lessons we can learn from these people.