I am glad that this day is over.
The morning itself started on a wrong note. I woke up to the dismal realization of my break-up with my girlfriend of five years. How long before the pain fades away? Haven’t I grieved enough for seven long months? When will I heal? It did not help that as I browsed through my chat-groups, I came to know that she is getting married next month. How fast she moved on, while I am still hung up on her!
I rushed through the morning chores in a robotic mode and by the time I left for office, it was already 9 am. I had to be in the office by 9.30 but the bus chose that particular day to arrive late. Needless to say, my temper was on explosive mode. After standing in the bus for more than twenty minutes, I finally managed to get a seat, only for a guy to request me to give him the seat since he was not feeling well. He couldn’t be more than twenty and looked just about fine.
With a frustrated shake of my head, I got up and gave the seat to him. He thanked me profusely and immediately went to sleep on sitting.
I reached office a good twenty minutes later than usual. Just my luck that my boss chose this particular day to arrive early. While he didn’t say anything, the pointed way in which he looked at his watch irritated me. As if he arrives on time every day! He actually had the gals to ask me what all pending works I have! I, who have never kept anything pending!
Things took an ugly turn during the lunch break. Feeling all hungry as well as angry with the whole world, I took my ordered plate of Biryani from the counter of the office-canteen and turned around haphazardly, only to collide with the boss who was waiting behind me with a glass of juice. The glass shattered to the ground, spilling the juice on the boss’s shoes. While he did not say anything, his contorted face spoke volumes about his anger. He left to the washroom, waving off my feeble ‘I am sorry!’.
The worst part was certainly the evening. As I left office (I literally ran out, I was that eager to leave!), I remembered that I needed to stock up some groceries and decided to head up to the super market. The wait for a cab felt eternal. The one I had booked through my app was apparently stuck up in traffic and took its own time to reach. The driver had called and given me the option to cancel the ride and book another one. For some reasons, I did not. The cab arrived fifteen minutes after I had booked it and I got in wearily, too tired to rant to the driver.
Shopping always has helped me to calm down. As I browsed through the various sections, I could not help feel considerably lighter, somehow, the simple and homely process of buying groceries and planning the meals for the next week, giving immense comfort to my world-weary soul.
That comfort did not last long, I am sorry to say. As I stood at the billing counter, a lady came up from behind with a large trolley overflowing with her purchases and totally cutting me off, proceeded to stand in front of me.
‘Excuse me Ma’am, but I was standing before you. Please follow the order of the queue.’ I told her as politely as I could, considering that she was senior-aged.
To my shock, she huffed haughtily and said. ‘I am much senior to you. I should not even have had to cut you off, you should have offered to step behind and put me ahead in the line.’ She turned towards the cashier and shook her head at him. ‘It is so difficult to find manners and chivalry among people today!’
That remark was my undoing. I forgot both my manners and chivalry as I got into the ugliest argument of my life with a senior. Oh, how the accusations and labeling flew!
‘Do not act entitled simply because you are a senior!’
‘Stop arguing with me, you are going to give me a heart attack!’
‘Given the amount of cheese you have loaded into your trolley, I am not sure the argument is going to give you anything!’
‘I will eat whatever I want, what is it to you? I am never too old to eat cheese!’
‘But you are old when you have to stand in a queue?? What sort of a logic is that?’
‘Stop arguing with me! You have no idea how long I can carry out an argument.’
‘Sure, can drag out an argument but cannot bother to follow rules while standing in a queue?!’
This went on for a while till the security guards came and politely requested us to calm down. The argument only ended up making me feel awful. Never have I behaved this badly with anyone, let alone a senior. The lady got her billing done before me (for all its worth!) and set off towards the exit with a triumphant gaze at me. I humbly apologized to the people who were standing behind me in the queue. They were quite considerate, telling me that I was not wrong and that the lady was indeed acting entitled. If only these people had spoken up in my favour during the argument! The security guards waited at the counter till my billing was done. As I was stepping towards the exit, I heard some commotion behind me but I did not linger to check it out.
I had had my share of arguments and commotions for today.
What a day it has been! You think you have it under control but you lose it at the first least insignificant event that happens to you. Most of all, this day has made me feel that in the grand scheme of things, I do not matter at all. I mean, how can so many bad things happen at a time?
How can I believe that there is someone watching out over me when I have had such a bad day!? May be tomorrow everything will be alright. May be that is all we require – a little faith in a better tomorrow.
But today, pardon me, God, if I do not show any faith in You. Today let me reel under the unfairness of life, lick my wounds and give in to sweet and blissful sleep that will lead me to oblivion.
I close the page of my diary, wipe my tears (Breaking News: Men cry! Get over it!) and finally collapse on my bed. Very soon and mercifully, sleep, the greatest seductress, lulls my brain into comfort.
I wake up to the touch of soft and warm fingers over my forehead. I open my eyes and sit up in shock and alarm. There is a beautiful lady sitting on the bed and smiling at me very benignly.
Oh God, did I drink today?? Worst, did I bring someone in for a one-night stand? How can I not remember that?!
She laughs lightly, the beautiful lady. “No, you did not drink. Neither did you bring me in for a one-night stand.”
Gosh, did I say that aloud??
She shakes her head firmly. “No you did not. Since you were speaking to me, I could hear what you said in your mind.”
“I do not understand… how did you get into my house?” I look at her, totally flabbergasted. I gaze at the clock in the wall. It is just 3.30 a.m, too early for this kind of craziness to happen.
She smiles and touches my cheek. “I am God.” She says simply.
An immense wave of comfort and love flows into me from Her touch and I shut my eyes in relief. The tears come out unashamedly and I let them flow. They cleanse my heart of all the pain I have been carrying. I suddenly feel light and free. I do not want to open my eyes. I know this is a dream and that there would be no one around when I finally wake up.
“No, it is not a dream. Open your eyes, Abhay. Look at me.” She says softly.
I open my eyes and find Her still there. It slowly starts sinking in.
“Wait…” I raise my palm, now trembling with exhilaration. “I am not dreaming… that means this is happening really. You are … you are ….” I cannot even say it out aloud.
“I am God. You have been talking to Me every day. I had to come to you.” She says with a chuckle.
“But… you are a woman…” I stay stupidly.
She looks at me intently. “Actually, I am Formless. But since you have had a very tough day, I thought that you would appreciate the compassion, comfort and warmth that only a woman can provide.”
For some reasons, Her compassionate gaze brings tears to my eyes. “Why give me such a tough day if You are as compassionate as You declare Yourself to be? And why would You approach me – ME – who is probably the last name in the list of People To Be Noticed?” I cannot help my childish outburst.
“Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall…”
She says this and smiles at me. “I always watch over everyone. I am present in all in the form of their conscience who guides them in the right direction, who tells them the right path to take, who reprimands them when they are on a wrong route in life, and who comforts them in times of grief. No one is unnoticed, nobody’s prayers stay unheard.”
I must still be retaining a mulish expression on my face, for She suddenly takes hold of my arm, stands up and says. “Come with Me.”
I barely have time to ask her anything when I suddenly find myself in a stranger’s home. The guy is pacing inside his room nervously. He looks familiar. Where have I seen him? Then it dawns on me.
I turn around to look at God. “You brought me to the house of the guy who is going to marry my ex-girlfriend?” I ask her in disbelief. Then I hastily look at him. “By the way, how can he not see us or hear us?”
“We are present here only as astral beings. Wait. I want to show you something.” She says mysteriously.
The guy keeps pacing for a while. Then he lets out a sigh, turns on the table lamp, takes out a diary and starts writing. God urges me to go over to him and watch over his shoulder.
I am nervous. I have loved her since my childhood, God. I have watched her fall in love with someone else. I have suffered through my heart-break and yet I have been there for her always. Now that she is back in my life, I am scared of losing her. Please take care of our relationship, God. May I never hurt her in any way, neither knowingly, nor unknowingly.
He shuts the diary, gazes lovingly at the ring he is wearing on his finger and kisses it. I move closer and see the ring contains the name of my ex-girlfriend. With a deep breath, the guy gets up from the chair and lies down on his bed. Within minutes, he falls asleep, his face looking relaxed and contented.
“You both broke-up because she was always destined for him. You have loved her for five years; this guy has been in love with her for almost all his life.” God says softly. I nod, feeling a very relieving sense of closure.
“I wish them a life filled with love and togetherness.” I manage to say despite the lump in my throat. God softly presses my palm with Her own.
The scene changes suddenly and again I find myself in yet another stranger’s house. But this is someone’s past, for I realize that it is still evening.
The bell rings and a lady hastily rushes to open the door. As the door opens, my jaw falls. It is the guy on the bus who asked a seat for himself and made me stand.
“How was your first day, son?” The lady asks anxiously.
The guy smiles at her assuringly. “It was fine, Ma.” He sits on a chair and winces slightly. “In the morning, I had to stand in the bus for a while. The rod was starting to pain.” He gestures to his leg. “But then a kind gentleman agreed to let me have a seat. It was so relieving to lift off the pressure from the rod!” The guy says softly.
“You should have rested for one more month! Do not take this lightly. You made it through a major accident and now you have a rod inside your leg. You need to be more careful! Take an auto from tomorrow. I do not care how much it costs!” His mother says in indignation.
The guy smiles and raises his hands in surrender. “Lesson learnt, Ma. I just thought of catching up with my friends in the bus after a long time. I could not find anyone familiar there. I will travel by auto from tomorrow.”
God looks at me questioningly. I nod my head, a lesson learnt at my end too. I feel a slight sense of satisfaction in having lent my seat to the guy, although the way I did it pricks me. I need to be more considerate henceforth.
The scene changes. I find myself in a kitchen, the kitchen of our office canteen, to be precise.
Everyone is in a rush and while there is chaos, it looks ordered. It is mesmerizing to see people work in a rhythm.
“Bottle-gourd juice for Mr.Joseph!” The order rings out and I realize that it is my boss’s order. God urges me to move towards the place where juices are being made. I see celery-juice being prepared. It is revolting to look at, frankly! The guy prepares the juice and pours it in a glass. Then he starts dicing bottle-gourd into small pieces. In the meanwhile, another guy rushes over, looks at the celery-juice and picks it up. “Mr.Joseph’s order is ready.” He mutters and marches out of the kitchen. The guy dicing the bottle gourd is lost in his work and doesn’t pay attention.
“But Mr.Joseph is highly allergic to celery!” I exclaim in dismay. God smiles at me and raises Her palm, gesturing to me to wait. Sure enough, in few minutes, I hear the unmistakable sound of a glass breaking. The guy dicing the bottle-gourd has now prepared the juice and gives it a boy, asking him to deliver it to Mr.Joseph. The guy returns back in a few minutes, saying that the boss is nowhere to be found.
“Your unintentional mistake saved your boss from having a severe allergic reaction.” God says. I nod, still not able to believe that I had prevented a disaster from happening.
Now I find myself back in the super market. I get a brief glimpse of myself walking out through the exit. Huh, it is eerie and weird to see myself from my own point of view! Anyway, I look at God questioningly and she gestures towards the billing counter. What I see chills my heart.
Just two people behind where I was standing, a guy takes out a gun. He immediately comes to the notice of the security guards who had assembled there to stop the argument between myself and the aged lady.
One of the guys immediately rushes to the guy and pins him down before he could raise the gun.
The other security guard too rushes in his aid and manages to snatch the gun. The people in the queue start screaming. More security guards rush in and try to calm them down. The guy who was holding the gun finally raises his hand in surrender. The two security guards escort him away.
“What just happened?” I ask, totally stunned by what I saw.
“That guy who was holding the gun works in this super market. He has severe psychological disorders and was about to shoot people randomly. Your argument with the aged lady brought the security guards there. If the guards had not been present, people would have lost their lives.” God says, sounding pained.
I slowly shake my head, unable to comprehend the whole situation. What would have happened if the security guards had not been there at the billing counter?! Would the guy have succeeded in killing people? My mind refuses to think about that gruesome scenario.
“I want to show you something more here.” God says, and I find myself inside a staff-room of the super market. The guy who was about to shoot is sitting in a chair, his hands tied up to each arm of the chair.
“I should not have waited to shoot! That stupid guy, arguing with the equally stupid lady – he took my entire attention! Instead of watching his argument, I should have shot people!” The guy screams like a maniac. A shudder rips through my entire body. God lays a comforting hand over my shoulder. “I think after this, you need something to lighten you up.”
I find myself in another house, a kitchen to be precise. I see the aged lady humming to herself as she stocks up on the groceries she has purchased. As she picks up the cheese, she smiles to herself. “Why not?” She whispers. She tears off the packaging and removes the block of cheese.
Her face contorts in anger.
“Moldy?? I brought moldy cheese??” She shakes her head in frustration. I chuckle to myself, finding a perverse sense of satisfaction watching her fret over the moldy cheese.
“I think it is time to go back.” God says, laughing lightly.
I find myself in my room. I sit on the bed, my head in my hands. She places her hand over my shoulder. I look up at Her.
“No deed happens without altering or affecting the course of future events. The deed might be something as insignificant as an argument in the super market, or it could be something major. It could be performed by someone with a high standing in the society, or it could be by a guy working as an executive in a company. In the grand scheme of things, every life is connected, is inter-dependent, and can alter other lives with just a single deed, many a times knowingly, but most of the times unknowingly.” She says.
I listen to Her in rapt attention, my dry heart absorbing the comfort of Her words like the proverbial sponge. “You think you do not matter. But you do, Abhay. Every life matters. Every life alters the course of events in the Universe. I hear you, I am always there with you. Your prayers are never unheard. They take time to get answered. But I answer them in the way that will ensure the greater good for everyone who are connected to your prayer. Do you understand?”
I nod. “Yes I do.”
She smiles in satisfaction. “It is time for Me to leave.” I start to shake my head in dismay but She stills me by placing Her palm over my cheek. “You will not remember this night. But I will make sure that you never forget God, or that you are cared for.” She says gently.
“Do not make me forget having met You! Please!” I plead to Her. She smiles and shakes her head. “It is the nature of the mortals to forget any divine encounters that they have had.”
“Then please leave me with something that will always remind me of You.” I tell her. She smiles and places Her palm over my head.
I wake up to the shrill ring of the alarm. For a change, there is no heaviness in the heart. I check my chat groups and see the wedding invitation of my ex-girlfriend. For reasons I cannot fathom, I smile when I see the name of her would-be partner. A sense of closure generates in my heart. After a long time, I feel peaceful.
I go through my morning chores and stand in front of the small temple that I have made in my home. I lit up the Diya and an agarbatti. The scent of the agarbatti is familiar to me. I close my eyes and inhale. It feels like the compassion, comfort and warmth that only a woman can provide to the weary soul.
I am all set to begin a brand new day with a fresh heart and a peaceful mind.
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