As the falling veil of the downpour washed his face, the drumroll began, momentarily focussing his attention on the feeling that usually gripped him when all alone: fear. He remembered the talk about God. He was told that God would guard him against all evil, He would protect him from his fears. To him, God was the crutch on which rested man’s cowardice. God was nothing but denial of all the negative.
Taking shelter under a makeshift water tent, smiling at his folly of thinking how misplaced the tent was, given the weather, he realised that his mind was stuck on a thought—a thought that did not quite have any shape, but grew in him like the fluid in the model volcano he’d created back in school. He waited for it to present itself as a vivid blend of overflowing beauty.
Diverting himself, he thought about the beautiful garden around his new office building. ‘Three hundred million’, the Maintenance guy had said, walking past him towards the basement. Three seconds later, the man was lying with his leg under a BMW. A disturbing sight, indeed. The occupant had been kind to give him his credit card and call an ambulance.
Ojas had accompanied the old man. The wailing ambulance was nothing against the chaos at the junction. The hundred rupee note handed to the cop was what had gotten the traffic cleared. Thanking the man in white, Ojas instructed the driver to be quick.
One flash of the American Express had commanded priority attention towards to the old man. It was amazing to see it all fall in place in a matter of minutes. While Ojas took deep breaths, he overheard the man in the adjacent bed moan about how his daughter—a teacher in London, on a vacation—was thrown out of the train by a few goons because she’d raised her voice against the local MLA. Nobody had dared touch her as she lay in bushes, praying under her breath, for strength to hold on, until help arrived. No help had arrived other than her father, who was too scared to take her to the local hospital. They’d taken the next train to Bangalore.
Wishing her a speedy recovery, Ojas exited the hospital, after the old man’s family had arrived. He was tired—his long workday had exhausted him. As he stood under the tin shelter, he remembered God for the first time, ‘They say you’re eternal, they say you’re holy; they say you’re infinite, they say you’re omnipotent; they say you see everything, yet you are impassable; they say you are everywhere, and that you’re sovereign.’ Water dripping from a hole on the ceiling wetted the back of his trousers. He pulled out his wallet.
He continued, ‘They say you’re good, but at the same time, capable of destroying everything; they say you’re merciful, yet just. I don’t know whether you exist—’ His eyes fell on the green notes.
He smiled, ‘Oh, well.’