Being born in a family of staunch brahmins it was uncharacteristic of Kumar to turn out to be an atheist. Although living in a democracy gave him the right to form opinions, this did not mean his father wouldn’t go to extreme ends to “cure this disease” of his. So his father, vehement in curing his son, sent him to the defence forces. “The moment he faces death, he’ll automatically turn towards God”, smirked his dad as he looked at his wife who was all the more nervous seeing her only son being thrown in the wild on mere account of his beliefs.
Kumar, an academically average guy with a body fit enough to pass the physical tests, had thought of joining the forces regardless of his father’s decision and had been preparing for the exams which he managed to clear in his second attempt. Months of rigorous training later Kumar had received a posting in one of the remote villages along with a battalion of fifteen soldiers.
The village was peaceful enough to question the positioning of armed forces but the choice of deployment was not in their hands. The peaceful neighbourhood allowed the army to frequently roam around together in the village.
During one of such outings, the army stopped by a rather peculiar temple, a temple which worshipped pieces of rock. Intrigued and astonished by the presence of mere rock particles and people admiring them with great reverence filled Kumar’s curiosity to the brim. He approached the pujari to ask him about the same. The pujari was a short stout bald man whose face emanated wisdom and tranquillity. Something about the man told him that this man would be the one who would be able to explain the bizarre scene he had just witnessed.
With a serene smile on his face, the pujari gestured towards an open verandah away from the devout crowd of people to not distract them from their prayers. Once Kumar had joined him in the verandah, the pujari with his serene smile still on his face pointed towards a mountain not far from the temple.
“The particles of the rock belonged to a rock which rolled down from that mountain. The rock caused one of the most historic explosions which saved this village from destruction.”
The pujari chuckled as he saw Kumar’s face turn from incredulous to one which regarded him to be a lunatic. He was not surprised, being aware of the oxymoron in his statement he continued, “Judge me after I finish the story young man.” Taking in a long breath as if he needed the extra energy to be able to do an exhilarating task, he proceeded to tell the tale.
“ On an eventful morning the army had gathered intelligence of an invasion by terrorists from behind that mountain, but the scale of destruction the terrorists were armed with was an unknown variable. Considering the time in hand, executing the evacuation of the area was improbable. Just as much had the army would have liked to conceal the information, with a well-knit group of villagers, the message spread like fire. There were prayers for a possible miracle calling for Gods of various religions in a thousand languages. Hours passed but there was no destruction except near the mountain. A band of curious army officers took the responsibility of investigating only to find a giant rock had rolled down at the timely moment just as the terrorists were about to enter and their explosives had detonated as they rolled down with the rock. The threat was destroyed outside the human settlement saving the village from vanishing off the map. The Almighty had taken the form of a giant rock to save us!”
The pujari finished still looking at the sky as if to thank the almighty to send that rock at the timely moment to save all of mankind settled in that village. While listening to the pujari, who was very enthusiastically narrating the story with varying expression and gesticulating as if trying to convey a gripping story which could destroy the very foundation of an atheist, Kumar had a thought which promised to change his perception on the Almighty.
“For people, God is just a force and he could be present in any form for people to worship him and I have not experienced that force does not mean that these people are fanatic for believing in Him. For them, I may be a lunatic not able to connect with him or recognise Him. And the force is essentially what someone believes and name it God, maybe this is what they call Faith.”
After the pujari saw Kumar contemplating the whole story he was convinced of having changed the perception of an atheist. He swiftly took out his phone and spoke, “ Yes panditji, I told him the story just like you wanted me to.”