A man left early in the morning for work and on the way out his wife made him promise her that he will visit a temple to make a prayer for the health of his sick daughter. He nodded his head in complete disbelief for god is only a queer concept he never could understand. Also, his ways were very unusual for the man. He felt sickly about his wife’s adoration of her wax idol but he knew best not to interfere and was quick in restoring his faithless identity behind a religious façade.

He drew rickshaw all day making a meager hundred and fifty rupees and returned home to his family. On his arrival, his wife first enquired if he visited the temple. He lied to her in the most comfortable manner and took a place next his daughter’s bed. He was beyond those times of guilt and curses. Post his sumptuous dinner he noted his daughter’s rising temperature and gave her a few prescribed medicines. He was not quite satisfied with the medical treatment given to his daughter; what could he do but feed his anxieties with ignorance. He knew not to take the matter at hand lightly yet he could find no way out.

He had already taken his daughter to the local doctor three times and, on his wife’s incessant requests, the priest once.

His once a lively daughter hadn’t spoken to him in days. She lay restlessly in bed; praying day in day out to be afflicted of the clinging disease and he stood there dejected listening to her unanswered prayers to the merciless god of everything. Inferiority to god hurt him to the stomach and it bore only hatred. Hatred for everybody who worshipped him, in times of helplessness, and hatred for himself for being helpless.

On the other hand, his daughter’s health only worsened with each day. The doctor had patiently told him that it is a mild fever and will eventually come down but he just couldn’t sit patient anymore. His only worries were that he somehow knew that it wasn’t just some mild fever but a dreadful disease of which the doctor had no knowledge off. He confided in his wife about his fears and it only went on to make matters worse to such an extent that she blamed him for their daughter’s sickness. One should know that his wife worshipped god like no other. She spent hours in prayers much to his distaste. Her faith stood on indestructible pillars of beliefs that god alone could raze.

While his wife knew that her husband was an atheist, much to his efforts to conceal it with those dutiful prayers with her in the evening and those trips with her to the temple. She had tolerated his disbelief all this while, but no more could she take it, when her only daughter’s life was at stake. She reminded him that God is the creator of our destinies and he alone has the ability to alter it; that he is to be feared as much as to be worshipped. Incapability to oblige/kneel to the dominion will only anger them and unleash their wrath upon all.

She terrorized his shivering bones. Broke down every fragment of shield he had built to protect himself from the almighty tyrant. His fear crept into his dreams and gave him countless sleepless nights during which he thought of his only child he adored with all his heart. He would have done anything, anything that it would take.

This crushed the man who had all his beliefs torn apart like a piece of paper, stood naked, helpless and desolate under the sky seeking shelter from anybody. The only light he received was from the heavens above. Without questioning their intentions, for he couldn’t afford to, committed to their asylum instantly.

The next day he left home to work promising himself this time that he will make a prayer for his child. After a hard day of work he presented himself in front of the almighty. He knelt, joined hands and worshipped him like a child. He asked for forgiveness and pleaded for his daughter’s life with sincerity. He wept, and wept, and wept. Suddenly he felt much lighter and his eyes shone with optimism. He left the temple with eagerness and came under a car.

20th July, 15

Note On The Text

This story was inspired by-part real life incident. One evening, my mother took me to a temple in our neighbourhood. While I was waiting for her outside, I spotted a decent looking man rush out of the temple. In a matter of seconds, out of sight, a car speeded towards this person while he was trying to cross the road. I had enough time to predict the awaited moment of chaos. Unfortunately or you may say ‘thankfully’ the sensible driver stunned his car, touching only the man’s knees and passed away hurling abuses.

I was instantly curious to know if only it had happened otherwise. I immediately took to my mom for answers to some of my questions regarding the matter. I asked her to tell me whom shall the man blame for his untimely death. The car driver, for he was actively responsible and guilty for it, or God, who summoned the man to his abode with his mystical powers, and her mere reply was,”it was just his destiny to die”. Then that means destiny is something even God cant touch; for if he could, he would have altered the fate of this grieving father or husband who was just rushing home to his ailing daughter. Destiny is above everything and if I can honestly say, from that day onwards I am in pursuit of destiny. It is a beautiful hope, which lies in the unknown and a terribly ugly truth, when unveiled.