To start with, this is not a story and it’s not a travelogue either. You can call it a travel experience if you want. Travels always helps you gain lot of information and it also helps you to meet different kinds of people. Sometimes you may get good friends during such trips and sometimes it will be people whom you wish you wouldn’t have met. Some people even find their life partners in such trips. This particular bit is not about any such kind of a person. It’s about a man whom I met during my journey from Kannur to Bengaluru.
It was 7.30 in the morning, the bus was about to leave the bus station. I was checking the air condition vent and my pushback seat. After resting in a comfortable position in my seat, I glanced at the other passengers and I noticed that the seat beside me was vacant. Once the bus departed the station and made its way to the next boarding point, I was praying like every other single guy of my age that some good looking girl will board at the next point and will occupy the seat beside mine. As the bus reached the next pick up point my eyes fell on a tall slender girl who was about to board the bus. But as usual my prayers went unanswered as the seat was occupied by a middle aged man.
I felt it to be a blow to my entire trip. I stared at the man with lot of fury in my mind as if he had taken something away from me. I studied the man, he seemed to be into his fifties but there was certain sharpness in his gaze, posture and his gestures that you could easily misinterpret his original age. He noticed that I was studying him and turned towards me and smiled, and I returned a polite smile. There was an outline of silver hairs around his head, he was sporting a thick moustache and he was wearing an old fashioned glass. I returned to staring back at the outside world and stayed back on my seat.
Once the bus started moving He took out the news paper and started browsing through the pages. I didn’t show any interest until he reached the sports page. When I started to take a look at the images of the IPL final that took place the previous day, He saw it and commented looking at me “so you too are only interested in the sports page, typical new generation youth”. I didn’t like the comment so I replied in kind of stern voice to show my discontent. I said “unfortunately I too belong to the so called new generation youth”. I returned to the book I was reading and we didn’t talk for some time after that.
After a small nap I had some snacks and refilled myself when the bus stopped for refreshments. After filling myself I made my way towards my seat and he was sitting there. I decided to make acquaintance with him. We started talking; the usual get to know kind of stuff. When I told him I was studying at Roorkee and the place was about an hour from Haridwar, he asked me whether I have been to that place. I said that I went there more than once. He smiled and said “oh! That’s great”.
He then asked “Do you believe in god”
I was surprised by the directness of the question and after some thought I replied “well I am a bit agnostic”.
He smiled and said “so you don’t believe in him”.
I replied “No, I am not an atheist; I said I believe that the existence of god cannot be proved, but I will never say that he doesn’t exist. I have my beliefs and faith”
He seemed to be surprised by the answer that I gave; maybe he wasn’t expecting an answer of that kind from somebody of my age. Thanks to some recent articles on this topic that I had read.
He nodded and smiled at me. He then asked”Do you believe in religion?”
I said “well everyone is forced to believe in the religion that one is born into”
He said “well!! Your answers are not typical”. He smiled and continued” now tell me do you know how many religions exist in this world”.
I replied “I am afraid I don’t know”.
He continued “there might be a thousand religions and if we count the total number of gods it might outnumber the entire human population. If we try to find out the no. of gods per person it will be like, each person will be having more than one god of his own”.
He asked “do you know what different religions try to teach, or do you have any idea about what is the significance of it?”
Now this was starting to get a bit boring, I wanted him to stop as I wasn’t much interested in the topic. Maybe we should have talked about something interesting, something like sports or films. But I couldn’t ask him to stop. I didn’t want to act rude to a person of my father’s age.
I replied “I am afraid I haven’t followed any religious texts, so I don’t have much idea”.
He sighed and started again
“Well everything is a way of life; every religion teaches us how to live life in the best possible way, let’s take some examples.
The Hindu religion is the one which is closely related to nature and it depicts how we should live in harmony with nature. This is mainly because the religion evolved and the relics were written at a time when men were largely depended on nature. And if we analyse some of the things related to the religion it might feel that there are no scientific base for some of the things as most of the things related to the religion comes from a prehistoric period.
Now let’s take Christianity, Do you know why the religion flourished? It’s because this is the religion which is closer to the modern man and this was because the religion and its relics come from a more modern age. The relics are also being edited once something written earlier was proved wrong.
Islam also preaches a different way of living and it does so with having more control over your mind and body.
The thing is that all the religion preaches the same things but they ask you to attain the better life in different ways. The ways which were thought to be the best possible ways when the religions were moulded or it came into existence.
There are some other religions which preach to relieve yourself from doing many things and ask you to follow an exact path and not deviate from it or not to try something which is considered not appropriate. I don’t think that’s the way things are supposed to be. God has created everything and if he didn’t wanted such things to happen may be he might have made dummies in place of humans at the first place.
If someone comes up with an ultra modern religion and a god to go with it , And we feel like he can lift us from our sins and give us a better future, I don’t doubt that there will be a lot of people following it.”
He stopped and looked at me
I was amazed at the way he had put the idea of religion in front of me. I have never in my life felt more inclined towards my religion. There were a lot of ideas to take for one day. I looked at him, and returned a passive smile. I couldn’t swallow everything that he talked. I was starting to feel respect for that man and I was waiting for the next thoughts that would come out of his mouth.
“Do you believe in miracles?” this was the next question that he tossed in front of me.
I replied “I have heard about such things, but I haven’t been part of a miracle, so I cannot comment much about that either”.
He said “well! In that case, I would say I am lucky to be part of one”.
“Oh! That’s great” I exclaimed.
“The miracle called my daughter” he said smilingly.
I replied with a nod “sounds like a great story”.
He started speaking again “well to start with she came to this world at the expense of my wife. And after that it was like we both had only each other. I loved her very much and it felt like she was the most beautiful thing that has ever happened in my life. At the age of 10, she was taken away from me. She was taken by a disease which had a chance of happening in one in a million children. It was as if the disease had miraculously chosen my child”.
I was like ‘wait! Wait! What??’
Ever since I had started hearing the word miracle, it was always associated with something good, something having a happy ending. And here sits a man besides me who refers the death of his child as a miracle, maybe he got the meaning of the word wrong altogether.
After a small pause he continued “do you remember the person about whom we were talking a bit earlier, the guy called god, he is said to act in his own ways. That particular incident changed every aspect of my life and everything I have done after that has made me a better person. My wife and child would have been proud of what I have done in my life if they were alive”
I was left in a limbo, I wanted to know more about his story but somewhere down my heart I was getting a bit worried about the man sitting next to me. The things that he was talking seemed to be a bit different from what a normal person would’ve said. Either he is a great guy or he is out of his wits. I was afraid if it was the later scenario and I decided to leave him alone in his thoughts. We were almost near the outskirts of Bengaluru city, so it was just a matter of time until we said our goodbyes.
At last the bus reached Bengaluru satellite station and everyone was getting ready to leave and so was the man sitting next to me.
I asked him, “Now tell me, do you believe in god?”
He replied” Well! I think I am god”
I almost shouted out “WHAT??”
With a polite smile in his face he replied “yes, for some 40 children I am like god”
I was starting to feel sceptical of this man. What was he talking about?
He replied “I run an NGO in my daughter’s name for orphan children and there are 40 inhabitants. I protect them, help them, look after them, punish them for their mistakes and love them so deeply. Isn’t this the things that god is supposed to do?”
He just winked at me and waved to say bye, turned and left.
Now there was a new found respect for that man and he surely was godlike..
A person’s greatness lies in the things he does. When you help someone you are becoming godlike in their eyes. Even if god exists or not, you can let people believe in his existence by being a god by yourself.