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Reader's Digest Best of Drama in Real Life (gnv64)

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RD's Gripping Sagass L O N G S T A N D I N G readers of this magazine know, the Drama in Real Life articles that we carry every month are invariably so gripping that they're practically impossible to put down until you've completed them. Some of these pieces are thrilling narratives about ordinary people successfully coping with a crisis. Others reflect the turbulence within people as they confront the various demands of life. All are true and all celebrate the indomitable h u m a n spirit. In this special issue we've carefully selected 20 of the finest dramas that have appeared in Reader's Digest over the last 50 years. T h e y cover a vast range of situations, f r o m the terrifying "Quicksand!"in which a trapped man faces near-certain deathto the tender "Toast to the Bride" in which a w o m a n w o n d e r s o n her 50th wedding anniversaryif her husband loves her. But let me not keep you f r o m these stories. Start reading!



Editor Ashok Mahadevan Deputy Editor M o h a n Sivanand Assistant Editors S h a n o o Bijlani M a d h a v a n k u t t y Pillai Design Coordinator Padmavathi Subramanian Associate Publisher Jai T a l w a r Mumbai Assistant Manager Saba Anwar Manager (North) V a n d a n a Jain Z u i t s h i New Delhi Asst. Manager Raj Sharma Manager (South) P r a d e e p Bali Chennai Executive J. S h a n k a r Kolkata Executive Bijoy C h o u d h u r y Executive Director A s h i s h Bagga Publishing Director Ashutosh Bishnoi General Manager (Circulation) M o h a n Pa n i c k e r Assistant Circulation Managers A n u p a m B o s e , A.A. K u l a v o o r General Manager (Marketing) Ashish Chadha Senior Marketing Executive Shyam Kapdi Manager (Production) K.V. P r a b h a k a r a n Manager (Accounts) Percy Poonegar Circulation Director Vivek G a u r South: C.V. V a i d y a l i n g a m North: D.V.S. R a m a R a o East: A r n a b S e n g u p t a West: V i n o d D a s GM (Operations) S. S r i d h a r



T h e M a n W h o Stole God O v e r t h e Edge! T e r r o r in R o o m 201 S h a t o u n i t h e Magnificent "We've Lost All Four Engines!"O l d D o g

R/ehard H. Schneider Stephen Johnson Dennis Hevesi

9 16 23 3049


Rouben MamouiianJhanBobbins Peter Browne William Brandon Parker Barss Don/iam Margaret E. Sangster ferenc Laszio AwnSadhu Oscar Schisgail Armando Socarras Ramirez A/ex Haley Marguerite Reiss

T h e L a u n c h i n g of J.J.C.B.C. T h e o p h r a s t u s .

596 4

T h e Race to Save H e c t o r ' s H a n d A M e m o r y Can't Be Bought "Your Move, Hungarian!" Kondiba's D a r i n g Dive A Toast to t h e Bride Stowaway! T h e M a n W h o W o u l d n ' t Quit "Quicksand!" T h e H i d d e n Message Shock!

69 7579

85 90 95 113 120 125 129 136 141

Newsstand Sales:

I.A.R. wyiie Joseph P Blank Joseph p. Blank Mohan sivanand

T h e D o c W h o Wasn't Allowed to Die . . . . T r a p p e d in t h e M a h a b i r M i n e S P E C I A L FEATURE The Day the Island Express Fell

Mohan sivanand 102

Quotable Quotes, 8 Humour in Uniform, 35 Laughter, the Best Medicine 56 Life's Like That, 94 & 112 All in A Day's Work, 101



Silence is the ocean in which all the rivers of all the religions discharge themselves.Give a m a n a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks.From the Internet


In anguish, everyone prays to Him, in joy none does. To one w h o prays in happiness, h o w can sorrow ever strike? KABIR Love is proved by deeds; the more they cost us, the greater the proof of our love. MOTHER TERESA Behind every successful man, there's a woman. Behind many unsuccessful m e n there are two.

A man is but a product of his thoughts; what he thinks, that he becomes.


T h e r e are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle. DEEPAK CHOPRA All that glitters has a high refractive index. Anonymous

You can't go very far if you donft begin very near.


J, K R I S H N A M U R T !

A clear conscience is often the sign of a bad memory. From the Internet


From the House of Tata... turn to page 37





a friend to tellI N A SHABBY rooming h o u s e in N e w York City a lanky, red-headed youth stood u n d e r the dim electric light in a basement bedroom. His n a m e was, or could have been, Jim Lacey. From a c h e s t of d r a w e r s he t o o k a chisel, p o c k e t e d it, t h e n left his r o o m a n d mingled with the strollers on the road. It was a Saturday night in August 1951.

Lacey halted at an intersection, then turned east. He kept to the outer edge of the pavement, peering casually into the cars parked along the kerb. No one so m u c h as looked at him. He had, in fact, trained himself deliberately in t h e art of being i n c o n s p i c u o u s . For Lacey was a thief.

He had walked for several minutes, alert for a good opportunity, when a car nosed into a vacant space several metres ahead of him. As the driver got out and l o c k e d t h e doors, Lacey observed him carefully. T h e man had longish dark hair a n d a thin, black moustache. He looked prosperous. Pocketing his car key, he hurried away. Lacey's alert eyes took in one important fact that the car's owner had missed: the ventilator w i n d o w on the kerb side was slightly openabout a centimetre wide. Lacey looked in the9






car, t h e n leaned back against it, his r i g h t h a n d b e h i n d him. His chisel f o u n d t h e slit beside the ventilator; Lacey p r e s s e d , and t h e w i n d o w snapped open. He reached in, boldly o p e n e d the car door. He took out two s u i t c a s e s and u n h u r r i e d l y w a l k e d away. M e a n w h i l e , t h e car's o w n e r w a s making last-minute plans for an important trip to Buffalo. He was Alfonso D'Artega, wellk n o w n composer and conductor. Often he had led orchestras at N e w York's famous Carnegie Hall and on radio shows. Several of his lighter c o m positions were popular. T h e next Tuesday evening, just t h r e e days away, he was to conduct the symphony orc h e s t r a in its h o m e town, Buffalo. He had worked for days preparing the arrangements and scores. Tomorrow he planned to drive to Buffalo for a M o n d a y rehearsal. Finishing his business, D'Artega ret u r n e d to his car. He cried out w h e n he discovered that his suitcases had been stolen, for in them were not only the clothing for his trip but also his carefully prepared scores for all the i n s t r u m e n t s in the Buffalo orchestra.10

Lacey got out two grocery bags and was stuffing the music into them when he saw familiar words:

He ran to a telephone. Detectives came promptly. "My scores!" D'Artega said to them. "I m u s t have t h e m ! You m u s t f i n d them!" T h e detectives dusted the glass for fingerprints and asked questions. D'Artega listed the clothing that had been taken and then said, "The thief can have the clothingit's the scores I must have back! T h e r e is no time to prepare n e w arrangements before my concert!"

five Maria

"What kind of music is it?" a detective asked. "Orchestrations, special arrangements. And some of my religious compositions." "Religious?" "Yes. O n e is a hymn, 'Everyone Must H a v e a Friend,' a n d a n o t h e r is m u s i c I w r o t e for Ave Maria." W h e n the detectives left, D'Artega drove to the Church of St Francis of Assisi. As a lay m e m b e r he often assisted at Mass in that church. He made his way through the quiet dimness to t h e Shrine of St Anthony. T h e r e he prayed for two hours, pleading for St Anthonyconsidered the patron saint of lost things and missing personsto intercede with God and return the musical scores at least. Meanwhile, in his dingy room, Jim Lacey was emptying the suitcases. The


clothes would bring a nice sum. But this music junk! Lacey picked up a few s h e e t s g l a n c e d at t h e m a n d t h r e w t h e m d o w n disgustedly. T h e n h e repacked the clothing and took it to a nearby pawnbrokerone w h o asked n o q u e s t i o n s and w h o w o u l d , e v e n late at night, unlock his side door for a regular customer. W h e n he left the pawnbroker he had seven p a w n tickets and $140 in his pocket. Back in his room, Lacey got out two grocery bags and was stuffing the music into t h e m w h e n he saw familiar w o r d s : Ave Maria. H e held t h e sheet, remembering. W h e n he was a kid, back in Chicago, he used to sing in school. In his imagination he could hear a choir singing it, an organ playing. He put the sheet down and picked up another. He read the words: "Everyone must have a friend To tell his troubles to; And I found mine, O dearest Lord, My truest friend is you!"PICKED UP a concert prog r a m m e . On it was a man's picture, t h e m a n w h o o w n e d t h e car he'd robbed. T h e r e was his name: Alfonso D'Artega, Conductor. - ^ j j S c e v dropped the hymn and Ave Maria into a drawer, then stuffed the rest of t h e music into t h e b a g s a n d took them with him out into the night. He was back in half an hour. He lay a long time in t h e dark, t h i n k i n g a n d remembering. T h e next morning, Sunday, as Mrs Hetty Braine, the widow of a pianist LACEY 12

and composer, left her basement apartment, she was s