Friday, December 1, 2023
ArticlesA meeting with the almighty - Vincent Marias

A meeting with the almighty – Vincent Marias


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It was during the good old days of my college life.  Life was happy and carefree, devoid of any serious responsibilities other than collecting material for the impending thesis at the end of the course.  But then, the end of the course was almost a year away.  Till then, life was one long picnic.
If college days were the golden age of our life, then life in the hostel was a never-ending paradise – at least until we were thrown out for over-stepping the official limits of hospitality.
One of the favourite pastimes of the inmates of the hostel, among others, was to pay visits to the tourist spot of the campus, a hillock called the ” Vaidyan Kunnu” or “Physician’s Hillock”, named after a physician who was supposed to have ended his life at the spot because of a broken heart.
Apart from commanding a magnificent view of the valley, fringed by the dense green mass of coconut palms and the deep blue sea in the distance, the place had an extra fascination for us – the ladies hostel lay on the way to the place.
I was no exception to the gang of beguiling lovers of the scenic charms of the “Vaidyan Kunnu” and also the transient charms of the inmates of the ladies hostel that beckoned us often.  So, I too was an occasional visitor to the tourist spot when I had nothing better to do in the evenings.
So it was that one day I happened to pay a visit to the Kunnu with fellow classmate and inmate, Ullasan.  Young as we were, we did not stop at feasting our eyes on the splendours of the nature spread before our eyes.  We made forays into the nearby woods and feasted on the ripe cashew apples and, for good measure, plucked a couple of raw mangoes to chew on while drinking in the aesthetic beauty of the palms, the sea and the deep blue sky.
We sat on the gently sloping ground facing the sea, taking an occasional bite of the mango, making small talk.  Lulled by the quiet grandeur of the spectacle before us, we soon fell silent.
The blue sea stretching to the horizon, the calm stillness of the coconut palms and the deep silence of the gradually darkening twilight did not leave us unaffected.  It was then that it began, that put into words what we felt in our hearts — the call of the muezzin to the evening prayers from a very far-off mosque.
The plaintive supplication, humble, melodious and sweet, floated to us over the palm trees, across the valley, and the gently swaying rice fields, from the distant mosque.  The soulful prayers held us so spellbound that it even moved my friend, a sympathizer of Hindu revivalism. Charmed by the simple beauty of the melodious strains, we were transported for a few minutes to an alien, beautiful world of profound peace and bliss.
It seemed to voice the feelings of every blade of grass on the hill, every leaf on every tree, every drop of water in the sea and the clear stream that gurgled at the foot of the hill and every pebble therein, of every living creature that drew breath on the land, in the air and under the water.
The soulful prayers echoed our own feeling – our feelings of humility at our insignificance, but thankful for being a part of His beautiful creation. Our souls voiced with the unknown muezzin in the mosque, the song of praise and thanksgiving at the wondrous handiwork of God’s creation of which that evening would long remain in my memory.

Editorial Team of Indian Ruminations.


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