October 22, 2008

Dear Gautam,

Your poems, essay and school project all truly touched my heart. You are an amazing writer. I definitely admire you and your talent for expressing yourself.

Have you ever thought about writing a book about your life as of the last 5 years? You should. Is it true that you wrote a book about chess? Hopefully, you’ve put a few copies on the internet for people to buy.

I want you to spend more time with Priya because she needs a good role model. As her big brother, you’ll have a positive impact in her life. She’s searching for acceptance.

Although my siblings and I were close, I still wish I had spent more quality time with them. As you get older you’ll always have a few regrets but you can limit them by taking advantage of today. Just a little word of advice.

I’ve read your writings to several people and like myself, they were very impressed with your way with words. Whatever you choose to become as an adult, give it your all. Have one thing that’s most important and two for your back up plan. I would tell you to reach for the stars but you’ve already become one. Keep up the good work Gautam.

I pray you’re truly enjoying the books I’ve sent you. They’ve helped me in my spiritual journey. Continue to do your best because I’m very proud of you.

Your Adopted Uncle!

God Bless You!

Mr. Troy A. Davis

 

On October 24, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the execution. I wrote another letter to Troy, now knowing he would be alive to read it.

October 27, 2008

Dear Mr. Troy Davis (or should I say Uncle Troy!)                                      

I decided to handwrite this letter because it seems a little more personal. Typed letters seem austere and impersonal, and despite my poor handwriting (which I have trying to keep neat for this letter), I felt a handwritten letter would be much better. Some curious things have happened to me recently. I have been reading one of the books you sent me, What Does the Bible Really Teach? What’s curious is that while I was reading it, a small slip of paper was outside our door. I checked it, and it was a form to request that very same book from Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have never received anything from Jehovah’s Witnesses before, so it is interesting that I received a letter that day about the very same book I was reading. Another strange thing happened while I was collecting letters in support of you to send to the Pope. While collecting letters in my school the principal suddenly announced that our next football game would be against Pope High School. The likelihood of either of these two things actually happening was very low, but for both to happen in such an auspicious manner is very interesting indeed. It could be a sign, or an omen, or it could simple be a coincidence.

In reading the book by Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are many things I found appealing, but also many things I disagree with. For example, the book states that in order to obtain salvation by Jehovah, one must follow him through the Christian way, and that all religions are not a path to God. It just seems contradictory to me. According to this philosophy, Mahatma Gandhi, despite being one of the greatest humanitarians and leaders of all time, would not be saved by Jehovah. It seems difficult to believe that Jehovah would punish someone as kind and moral as Gandhi, simply because he did not fully follow a Christian doctrine. I would also disagree with their idea that people should abstain from political situations, and that one shouldn’t take sides in politics. That means that if I had followed that policy, I would not be campaigning for you, because I wouldn’t be intervening. Yet through my participation, we have both gained; hundreds of people are now informed about your case and are trying to help, and I have been utterly transformed into an entirely new person. There are other things I disagree with, but I feel there are more pressing things to talk about.

A whole Troy Davis movement is starting at my school. I created a group on the social networking website facebook.com, called “Alpharetta High School for Troy Davis”. In the group, I posted links to articles about the case, a timeline, a brief summary of the case, and all the ways to take action. I wasn’t sure what to expect; at first the group had a total of only 4 people within an hour. But I checked three hours later, and it had grown to 16 people. By the time I went to sleep, the group had 20 people. The next day, less than 24 hours after the group was created, it had 40 people. The next day, it had 90. Now, as I write this letter less than a week after I created the group, it had 162 members.

I know you are right when you said Priya is seeking acceptance. Ever since about 3 years ago, it seems that we have started to drift apart. She is not doing well in school, and I don’t like the kind of people she hangs out with. Her grades starting dropping when she began hanging out with these people. She sometimes pretends to be sick to skip school, and she wastes her time texting people on her cell phone. It may seem that sometimes I am unkind to her, but that is never my intention. It just seems hard to reconcile who she had become and who she’s turning into with who she used to be. She tries hard to find friends, and thus none of her friendships are truly meaningful. I hope she will be inspired by your situation to change the direction her life is headed.

When I told my mom that you had suggested that I write another book, this one of the last 5 years of my life, she replied, “I don’t see what’s so interesting about your life. You’ve lived a pretty cushy life for the last five years.” Nevertheless, I think I will write it, once I finish the long overdue second edition of my chess book. But I think what would be better is if you write a book; a good start would be to save all your correspondence. Every time you mail a letter, you should send it to your family or someone you trust. Have them scan the letters and store them on their computers electronically, and then mail the letters to the original recipients. These letters can be collected, and along with your essays and poems, can be published in a book. Then, when you are freed (and you will be freed) you can add your own thoughts to the existing material. I can speak from personal experience in writing a book and starting my own publishing company that writing a book is one of the most satisfying experiences in life.

I remember talking with my mom yesterday; she said that the best way to to truly get something done in the world is to become rich and make lots of money, and then buy off all these politicians and make them do the right thing. But that doesn’t seem right to me. I think that I can have an impact and be honest at the same time.

I just got off the phone with you a few minutes ago, and we briefly talked about how Dejaun plays too many videogames. Some people in my family think th same with me in chess. Yet chess is far deeper than video games. It has deeply and profoundly affected my life in a way that is difficult to explain.

I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and that you never will be. I just wanted you to know that I will never stop fighting for you or for people like you. I have reading the books you sent me, and I have to discuss them when I meet you.           

With love and warm regards,

Gautam R. Narula

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Next: Part II, Section X


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