Every day I do the usual prayers of Orthodox Christians….Our father… Holy Mary….
I knew them by-heart and learned them in my childhood. When I was trying to learn them by-heart, I was refused lunch at times when I couldn’t do it by-heart within the time limit given to study. Who in their right mind, on a summer vacation, at the age of ten would like to sit down and recite prayers hundred times to remember them by-heart? Instead I played in the yard in the hot sun, climbed the Guava and Mango Trees, played on the swings made of Coir yarn, tried to catch fish with home-made fishing rods. I didn’t have money to buy hooks or the lines for fishing. My fishing rods were of any thin long sticks from any tree I could get hold of. I made hooks from paper clips, I stole from my father’s office room. My floats were small twigs. Lures were worms and they were plenty and easily available too. If I was caught fishing in the canal in front of our house, I got a lot of scolding from everybody in the house. It was a taboo for a girl from a good home to fish even if she did it in front of the house. I did it anyway. I was caught most of the time.
Even now I postpone the daily prayer to the very last chore of the day before I go to sleep. I try to blame this postponement as an act of all the Devils dwelling in me trying to make me a good follower of them. When I pray, most of the time, my mouth will be repeating what I learned and my thoughts will be wandering all over the world. When I become conscious about this wandering of the mind, I scold myself & try to concentrate in the prayer. At the end of these by-heart prayers, there is a small prayer which comes from the bottom of my Heart, I confide to God. I try to remember almost all the people somehow connected to me, including my family, siblings, close relatives, friends, cousins, in-laws, all the people who are good. Actually all the good people in this world do not need my recommendation, I know. Then comes the silhouette of a young white guy.. I don’t remember his face. I don’t remember his clothes, hair style or its color. But I remember him in my prayers and God will know whom I am thinking about. I pray to God to look after him give him everything good, not to give him any sorrow and only good things should happen in his life….
I will not be able to identify him, unless he comes & tells me, that he is the one I am talking about.
That day I was late to work. I didn’t have cash with me for the Lunch. I used to take lunch from home. Then I stopped it. It was my decision. I used to take left over of dinner for my next day’s Lunch. I hated to eat cold food. It reminds me of my school lunches. How much I yearned for warm food for my lunch when I was in School. My house was far away and sending a person from home just for bringing warm lunch for me was a waste of time & effort of a person. Once the Microwave was introduced to this world, I knew it is specially sent for me by God. At the office, we had a Microwave in a small side room on the side of the main Hall where everybody had their cubicles. When food is warmed in the microwave, the smell of the spices in the food with the steam filled the small room and it spread to the Hall too. Not all the American food has strong spices like Indian dishes. So I was kind of embarrassed when the smell of ‘Biriyani’ or fried fish or ‘Sambar’ lingered into the Hall when I warmed my lunch. Nobody complained, but I thought for somebody who was not used to these smells, these different smells would be a punishment. So I stopped taking Lunch to my Office. So I needed lunch money to buy lunch today.
This particular day was very cloudy. It looked like as if it is going to rain. The weather was cold. I need some cash. I have to buy lunch. If I go through the Bank’s drive-through, I could save some time. So I went to the Bank’s drive through. There were two drive ways at the back of the Bank for drive-through, one very near to the Bank building with a cashier at the window, the other in front of two ATM machines on an Island of Concrete.
It started to drizzle. There were one car in front of the Cashier, and another in front of the ATM and one small Truck in front of me, not sure of whether to go to the Cashier or to the ATM.
I waited for the two Cars to move and the Truck to make up its mind where to go. Two cars in the front left and Truck didn’t move for half a minute or so, so I assumed that, it might be going to the ATM. Till today I have no idea why I assumed so! I moved my Car through the left of the Truck & tried to go to the Cashier. Because of the drizzle & the wiper moving slowly I couldn’t see well. But as soon as I moved to the front of the Truck, I understood that I did cut the line.
I could see the face of the Truck Driver. He was very upset. I stepped on the Break. Car stopped. All my calculations & assumptions were wrong. I could see through the right side mirror of my car that the corner of the Island of the ATMs had gone under my Car between the front & back tires. I could see the eyes of the Cashier bulging..
I didn’t know whether to cry or scream….
No way would I be able to drive my car out of this mess myself.
I didn’t have a choice, other than going to the Truck Driver asking for his help.
I was embarrassed, but I was very humbled, I knew that I was wrong, but I didn’t know I was cutting the line when I drove in front of that Truck.
I walked slowly to the Truck Driver.
He was fuming. He was shouting at the top of his voice blaming me for the mess I was in. I listened and then I wanted to say, “I am sorry, I didn’t know that I was cutting you. I thought..”
But, he didn’t give me a chance to talk. He didn’t want to listen to what I had to say.
I was going to ask him to help me to get my Car out of that Island.
He continued his shouting…
In this commotion, I could see a man hunching on my side…
He asked me, “Mam, Shall I help you to drive your Car?”
I couldn’t hear him well because of the shouting of the Truck Driver.
He held his hand to me and said, “Give me the key, Mam”
I gave him the key. He didn’t say another word.
He went to my Car and brought it out, gave back my key, thanked me as if I did him a favor & walked to his car in the line at the far end.
True, he was sent by God to help me from my embarrassment. I didn’t see his face clearly and so I can’t remember his face.
I don’t know his name. But he has a special place in my daily prayers and in my Heart till I live. I pray to God “bless that stranger”.