I came down from apartment to have a smoke. I saw a person on the other side of the road. His clothes were torn and he looked pretty dirty than myself. He carried a jute bag with him. But what really caught my attention was what he did. He started bowing his head down and after that brought his hands together. For sure he was praying as his head was pointed at the temple. He had banana peels next to him, which i think he was planning to eat. I kept watching him with a stick in my mouth by now. Every now and then he would squeeze his stomach. I felt sorry for him. I decided to buy him a pack of biscuits.
Me: Parle G biscuit de do didi.
Shopkeeper: Parle G nahi hai. Tiger Biscuit Chalega?
Me: Koi nahi… Wahin de do.
Shopkeeper: Ek Paanch ka hai. Kitne chahiyae ?
Me: Ek chalega. (Indian-ess).
While walking closer to him, I questioned myself if he even has the energy to open the wrapper. So I myself opened it, took a piece out of the packet and walked up to him.
Me : Bhaiya!!! (Just handed him the biscuit and he just took it)
Maintained a distance, so that I could counteract… Well basically run, incase he tries to hurt me.
He took the biscuit without any expression on his face or without any appreciation!!! (Not even a Thanks!!!).
I thought to myself… “Yaar ek Thankyou toh bantah tha. Chalo koi nahi”
He took a dirty cloth from his bag, laid it on the road and stated to eat a biscuit. I thought “Bhai class hai bande mein“.
For some reason, I believed I was his friend by now. (Rs 5 talking). I asked him if he knew Tamil (I felt he was a south Indian). To which he replied in affirmative.
I thought for a sec and sat in Indian style next to him as I didn’t carry a spare cloth to place on the road like he did.
Me: You believe in God???
Guy: Yes, very much.
Me: But you are suffering so much. How come you haven’t lost faith?
Butted the stick i had between my fingers.
Guy: I didn’t have faith to begin with (With a smile)
I understood that he meant he was an atheist before he became a believer. But I wanted to know more.
Me: I don’t understand. Why did you start then?
Guy: There are 2 ways an atheist starts believing in God. One, if something really good happens to him. And the other when something very bad happens to him.
I didn’t know what to say. I was silent for a moment and wondered if i should just get up and leave since people in my vicinity started looking at me.
Guy(continued): I wasn’t always like this. I took life for granted. I didn’t start believing in God until i became helpless like i am now.
I didn’t want to ask about what happened, as i would be invading his personal space more than i was doing now.
Me: So you fear God now?
Guy: At first i did. Because that was the only logical conclusion i could arrive at- that i need to fear God. But when you are lonely and you don’t have anyone around, God becomes your only friend. Someone i could talk to like i was doing some moments ago.
Me: But isn’t it His fault that you are like this?
Guy: No it was my own foolish mistakes. Not him. (shaking his head sideways)
This reply reminded me of myself in a way. In the sense that i always gave credit to the people around me if something good happened with me. And i always held myself responsible if something bad happened.
Again i didn’t know what to say anymore. I wondered again if i was actually troubling him more than the biscuits worth i gave him, because he was not comfortable eating the biscuit with me beside him.
I got up.
Me: Thanks Bhaiya. Please have the biscuits.
Gave him Rs 59, Rs9 being the smoker’s change.
I want to finish this incident by informing you guys that I have my own opinions, reservations, and understanding about Religions and God. But there is an important lesson(s)/key take away(s) from this conversation. Since this came from someone like him: someone I could never imagine had such deep understanding and clarity, I can therefore never forget him and he will always remain someone special to me.