Monday, 13 November 2006


• Come on George, Run fast” Rahul yelled. George and Rahul were enacting a PT USHA-model sprint in the bustling Ernakulam Railway Station. The Venad Express was luring them with its crawling. George and Rahul put their full energy into their legs, hoping that the Venad Express won't be callous enough to leave them behind in the station. In that process, Rahul hit an old man and pushed him over. He ignored him and grabbed the handle bar of the bogie and sprang into it. George was about to jump into the compartment. But some irresistible force prevented him from doing so. The sight of the old man lying down.; All the articles in his bag strewed the dirty floor-coins, Tiffin box, some photographs, paper chits. People jumping over him; stamping their foot on his belongings. people rushing around without any thought that they are treading on a human soul. The plight of that old man forced him to ignore Rahul's incessant calls.; to ignore the important meeting which is supposed to take place; to ignore the very fact that he is already late for work.Geroge went near the old man. He helped him to get up from his down-trodden state. He also helped him to gather his belongings which were scattered all over the place. He could see the 'X' mark of the train moving to infinity.'Today I'm going to miss the meeting. My career would be at peril. Again I'll be made to pay the price for helping out someone'It's not the first time that the sight of someone suffering has shaken his conscience. The spring of humanity in him had not dried up in the sultriness of consumerist and materialistic world life. He could not brush people off in their plight. Instead, he extended a helping hand. That too, on many occasions at the cost of his own life; his time; his money; his relationships. his future. It happened when he hospitalized a person, who was lying injured on the National Highway like a stray dog. Not only did it cost him a lot of money but it also got him in legal troubles. Same thing happened on his date. He was waiting for his girlfriend in a restaurant. Then he saw an old woman who was begging outside. Later he learned that she hasn’t taken food for many days. When his girlfriend came, she could see him dining with that old lady. That was the end of that relationship. Even if all trees in this world are made into paper, they won't suffice to record the instances where George has invited troubles by being a Good Samaritan.“Thanks a lot. I’m sorry that you missed your train. “The old man said.“its ok.Trains will come and go. But an opportunity to help a fellow human being, if lost cannot be regained” George replied.“It seems that helping out people is your profession” The old man laughed.“If I turn a blind eye to a man in need of help, my conscience will prick.Afterall we all are children of God. I follow what my Lord has said-”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and will with thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself”“Oh!!You believe in God?” The old man asked.“Yes. I believe in God. God is Almighty” He asserted.“Oh!!If god is almighty, can he create a rock which he cannot lift?” his eyes were full of mischief.George was flabbergasted by that question. He did not know whether to say 'yes' or 'no'.“God is a divine force which is beyond the level of human understanding. It cannot be explained or substantiated with human reasoning” George gave him the same answer which he got from a priest, when, as a young boy, he questioned the existence of God.“Anything beyond reason is unreasonable. I don't believe in the existence of God. Even if it exists it is a very callous and merciless force who do not know how to mete out justice.” The old man started sobbing.” I lost my wife, my son and my grand children in last year’s tsunami. I lost my everything. My children, they never deviated from the path of rigteousness.Still, they had to meet up with a disastrous fate.Why? What is the justification? Why didn’t I get killed? I haven’t committed any grave sin so that I should spend my old age begging in this railway station.Why?When the corrupt officials,gangsters,murderers,dons,smugglers,rapists,dacoits are thriving in the world, why are poor souls like me and my children punished? Look at those children, who have made this station their home. What sin they have committed to be deprived of love, care and protection? Why some are made blind, lame and mentally retarded? What sin they have commited? Why your god is so merciless and unjust?”George was a bit confused about how to console the old man.“Please relax. Lord says that 'Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.Blessed are they who are prosecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven'Haven’t you heard the fable of rich man and Lazarous. Rich man was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously everyday. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus who was laid at his gates, full of sores. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.Morover the dogs came and licked his sores. After death,richman was sent to hell and Lazarus rose to heaven. And in hell, richman lift up his eyes, being in torments and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. God is just. Justice will be delivered. If not in earth but in heaven.” “Heaven!!Hugh!!You people have invented heaven in order to shut the mouth of the poor and down-trodden. You people exploit them; deny them rights; and pacify them by assuring them a prosperous life after death. I have sheer contempt toward people like you. Instead of trying to make world a better place to live in, you daydreamers envisage a sumptuous life in heaven”George had no answer to give. The next train came“God bless you. I have got to go.”Geroge said.“Are you a pastor?”“No. I’m working in a company.”“Anyway thanks for helping me. And for trying to change my outlook on life”In the train, George ruminated over the conversation he had with that man. His bitter experiences have made him skeptical about the existence of God. George analyzed his life. Even he didn't have a blissful childhood or a resplendent adolescence. As a small kid, he lost his both parents in an accident .His relatives, who were eying his parent's vast property, were reluctant to rear him and threw him in the street. He grew up in the company of street children. Later he was adopted by Christian monks. There he got love, care and education. They instilled in him a quest for spiritual knowledge. He learnt all religious books, especially bible. It enabled him to develop a positive outlook. He believed in God, though there was no rational base for that belief. He felt that there was some in divine intervention in his life. Though his parents died in the accident, he escaped miraculously. Though he was thrown in the street he was given shelter by the pious and philanthropic monks. Though he never got the opportunity to study in any prestigious school, the sagacious monks imparted to him wisdom and inculcated in him a cheerful disposition. All his miseries appeared to him as blessings. He wanted to devote his life to express his boundless gratitude to that omnipotent, omnipresent and obscure force. He found the fragments of that spiritual entity in every human being.'The King shall answer.Verily; I say unto you, insamuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my bretheren, you have done it unto me'These words were his inspiration.When George went into boss's chamber, a volcano erupted. Lava of anger flowed out from boss's face. George was actually a laughing stock of that office. His ridiculous adventure gave enough relaxation to them from their hectic work.During lunch break he met Rahul.“You dumbo! You could have easily come here, had you taken that train. But you cannot leave behind that oldman, right? Was he your grandpa or what?”“Why should you be concerned about my behavior? Isn’t it my prerogative to decide what to do?”“George, be practical. I’m not saying that you should not help people. But you have to look after your affairs also. These people have very short memory. When you are in need of help. I swear. no one will turn up. People are very ungrateful. This world is unfit for people like you.”“If you are telling these things just to give an exercise to your idle tounge, then continue. But if to change my attitude, then it's better you give rest to your tongue.”
George was giving colour to the monochromatic National Highway with the red blood oozing out of his head. He gazed at the sky. The moon and the stars were watching him lying down helplessly like the people who had surrounded him. Birds flew over his body, like the people who passed by without even turning an eye. George could hear the footsteps of death approaching him faintly.The world was playing a cruel joke on George. But he could not comprehend the magnitude of that joke .At least, to do justice to innocent souls like him, there should be a heaven.MANU SEBASTIAN

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