It was the morning of Durga Puja MahaNavami. We woke up quite late as slept around 2AM last night after having a super MahaAshtami. We wanted to reach Puja Pandal early because the Puja committee starts distributing the Lunch-Bhog coupon quite early and reaching late meant getting a slot in last batch at around 4PM. Also, I wanted to participate in the couple games organized by the puja committee along with SG, which was slotted to start around 11AM.
Being a last minute person, I realized that my saree needs to be ironed so I sneaked out to the ‘Presswala’ whose shop was nearby while SG was taking a bath. I knew being a perfect planner he would be damn irritated if he knows that I went for this at the last minute. So, I rushed in jet-speed to the shop, got the work done in record time and started almost running to come back home.
Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind “Aunty, Aunty”. I turned back and saw a small girl of about 8-9 years along with a smaller boy of around 3 years age who were calling me. They seem to be kids of some maids/rickshawpuller who were dressed in their best attire for Navami.
Generally, during Navratri there is a ritual of Kanya Pujan where people feed small girls on the 8th & 9th (Ashtami & Navami) day and give them some money. So in those days, you can find these small girls loitering around and gathering Prasad from various houses. Anyway, coming back to the scene, I thought these kids must have called me for asking for money or Prasad. My first reaction was irritation. I was getting late and wanted to avert the argument with SG.
Still I stopped and said “yes”.
Girl: Aunty would you take us to our home?
Me: How can I?? Where do you stay?
Girl: We stay in abc area.
Me: So, you have lost the way??
Girl: No No….I know the way but I am scared of crossing that main road. Can you help us cross that?
Me: Okkk…. (Here I was about to refuse bluntly but suddenly something from inside held me back)
Me: OK..Come with me. Are you sure you can go to your home once you are on the other side of road?
Girl: Yes Aunty, I know my way to home.
I took them to the main road helped them to cross it. I stood there till the time those kids disappeared into their lane. She waved me before taking the turn. I waved back and again started rushing towards my home.
I felt so good. It was nothing like I had done some great social-service but a streak of contentment lingered in my heart. I don’t know what happened to me or what compelled me to say yes to them. I am quite a non-believer in Puja rituals and also generally try not to promote begging by giving alms to anybody in traffic signals or near religious institutions. But here I want to admit that this thought did flash in my mind that GOD may visit you in different form and test your character. And somewhat, I felt that those kids were just some heralds of GOD who wanted to check out me. I feel amazed at this thought of mine as it is quite unlike me. Human mind is so strange & complicated. It behaves so eccentrically sometimes!