"Do you believe in god?", She asked.
He was taken aback. He never gave a thought on that. Ever.
He was made to believe in god. No "made to" is not correct. He was never forced. It was always around. He grew with it. He grew seeing his grandma doing all the fasting sincerely, even when she suffered from severe diabetes and missing a single meal meant a lot for her old used up body. He grew seeing his mother passing first drop of water or first bite of food down her throat only after she had her bath, did her prayers and paid her respect to sun god. He grew seeing his uncles remaining unshaven on "special days" of god. He chose to believe in god. He felt happy going to temple with mother, getting tilak on his head, eating prasad which the priest gave and drinking camphor water which he did even though he never liked doing (camphor taste gave strange feelings to his throat). He liked eating fruits and food specially cooked for fasting days. He loved doing pooja to his books, his bicycle, his toys on diwali and dusshera. Firing crackers on diwali, dancing during navaratri was so much fun.
But today, today though the answer he gave was yes, that yes was just to put an end to the matter. Just to answer her question. He was not in a position to say no and then being pressed to answer all the that would follow.
But once he was alone in his bed, in darkness, during night, he searched for the answer. He was sure that there was a counter question in his heart the time when he said "yes". A feeling which took birth in his heart and ran through his brain and body in a millisecond and died. That feeling made him shiver. That feeling told him he was lying, that he was wrong. He started arguing with himself.
He felt himself getting ripped into two parts.
"You don't believe in god. By now you should have understood there is no such entity. ", Said the first part.
"No, you are worng. Whatever you have is because of all strong god. There is god.", Screamed the second part. The part close to him.
"Ha, Ha, Ha, laughed the first part. What did you say? "Whatever you have." What do you have?" And that part became invisible. But his strong devilish laugh ringed in his ears for a long time.
Yes, he was right, what did he have? Once he had. He had everything. For others everything was same. For them, he was him, what he used to be. But for him, everything was different. His beliefs had died. His heart questioned for everything now.
Whether he has friends? For this moment, yes, so many! For next, no, he is not having any friend. Not even one. He is not having anyone with whom he can share everything. And everything meant everything. So, he is without any friends.
Whether he is healthy? For this moment, yes, he is. Never more healthier! For the next moment, no, he is not. How he spends those fierce nights with his eyes open, thinking nothing. How a small wound in his body, a small bulging in his neck (which he comes to know later was just a side effect of cold he had), a small change anywhere in his body - scares the hell out of him. No, he is not healthy. Not mentally, if not physically. Or the other way round. He has no answer.
Whether he is happy? This moment, yes he is. He keeps smiling, he keeps jumping, he keeps laughing. Sharing jokes, passing comments, enjoying. Yes, he is happy! No, he is not. Whether he is in the place he wanted to be? No, he is not. Is he with people he wanted to be with? No, he is not. Is he doing work he loved and and once dreamt of doing? No, he is not. Is he the reason for things, for people. No, he is not. And he looses badly if he tries. He has tried several times now trying to go near people. Trying to make friends. But nothing works. So, no, he is not happy. Is he alive? Ha, Ha, Ha. Again that devilish laugh ringing in the ears for a long time.
Ah! He is moving away from what he started with. He wanted to search answer for whether he believed in god or not. And what he ended thinking. This happens now. This happens several times at several places now. He wishes something, he tries something, he gets something else. And above all, now he takes what he gets, no questions asked, no battles fought. Yes! We hit the root. Here lies the answer. Whom to fight with? Whom to ask questions? There was a time when he prayed to god, he thanked to him for good times, he complained to him for bad times. And he felt then that his prayers are being noticed, are being anwered.
But then came a time when everything stopped. Nothing changed. He prayed, he complained, he fought, he cried, he shouted, he screamed, but no reply, no anwer, no change. Bad things kept coming, one after another, one after another, like those ants coming over a dying cockroach. Earlier he used to find it amusing. He used to think that that cockroach is alive but still he is not running away. Not reacting. How can he surrender to such small ants, particularly when he is not even dead yet? He used to laugh at the cockroach. But now, he himself was on sympathy of ants, of time, of destiny, of fate, of luck, of god. You choose the word you like. He will not speak. He will not react. He will just accept and move ahead. Nothing to do. Nothing to show. Nothing to bother about.
So did he believe in god? If someone is ready to hold responsibility of whatever happened in his life and whatever is happening, then yes, there is god. And if only he is supposed to account for, even without his being the reason for anything that happened, then no, there was no god. Why should he believe in something if not believing is not making any difference? Right?
Generally, no, not generally, always now, he will come to such conclusions and his brain will go numb, will go blank . Again a long fierce night with eyes open and nothing to think............