THE GODS BEYOND THE GRAVES
Quite recently, I read the story ‘Kabuliwala’ by Rabindranath Tagore and began wondering about gifts that people give to absolute strangers.
“What’s the greatest gift that anyone can give to anybody?” I asked myself. “And who can give that gift?”
As I was pondering over this question, my mobile rang. It was the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of my college. The unit leader informed me that they are planning to visit the nearby villages and check on their lives.
More human interactions! More knowledge!
Thus, a unit of five people reached a village about six kilometers away from our college. As soon as we entered the village, we went in separate ways.
With my notepad, I went to a hut having roofs made of coconut leaves. Before I could knock, a voice came from behind.
“Hello, who’re you?”
I turned back to see a middle-aged man smiling at me. I informed him about my intentions. He led me inside his hut and showed me his children. His wife died two years ago. He does coolie work daily for his family.
“I get less money from my job, but I am not sad. Every time I see my kids’ faces with joy, I am happier than any other father in this world. They are the only ones I live for. They are God’s gifts that give my little, insignificant life a purpose!”
I wondered. The man is living for his kids. And God gave life to those kids. Then, isn’t life the greatest gift anyone can give to others? Then, only God can give that gift—the gift of life.
Happy with that answer, I went to another house nearby. And the man in that house proved my answer both right and wrong! How? I’ll tell you.
When I approached that house, a kid welcomed me.
“Hello, I’m Arun,” he said, “Please come inside my house, bhai.”
I was so impressed by his innocence in welcoming an absolute stranger into his house. Then, his father came out and picked him up. I conveyed my project to him. His face glowed up.
On giving me tea, I said, “Your kid is great. He’s so friendly to strangers.”
“Yes, it’s because a stranger gave him this life.”
Gave life? Only God can do that!
As though understanding my dilemma, he said, “Let me tell you Arun’s story. He was a smart little kid. He enjoyed playing on the village ground with his friends.
My neighbor rushed to me one day, saying that my son had fallen unconscious while playing. He woke up, but his body was too weak. Only when we went to the hospital that we realize that his heart had major issues. His heart had a severe defect that made him tired all day. The doctors did many open-heart surgeries but to no avail.
My hyperactive kid was lying like a log on the hospital bed! Only one option remained – Heart transplantation.
We could somehow manage the surgery cost, but we couldn’t find a suitable donor. Months passed, and my child’s health deteriorated. Then, we got a call from the hospital that one donor was found—a man named Alex Xavier, who had a terminal illness. We don’t know anything about him. But he is our only God—the God who gave his life for my kid. Every day we pray for his soul and thank him.”
He cried as he spoke. My eyes were brimming with tears. I had finally got my answer. I spoke no more and went home. Then, I walked to the church and knelt down in front of a grave.
Alex Xavier’s grave.
My best friend’s grave.
“Thanks for answering me, my friend,” I said, tearing up.
He was a fighter and always cared for others. During his last hours, he said, “If I could give a second chance in ten people’s lives, won’t I be a God? Please donate my organs. I want to be a God!”
Yes, my friend. You are a God. You proved that anyone could become a God even beyond their graves. You gave the greatest gift to others.
The gift of life.
– Jesmal Jalal