ON a dark lonely but surprisingly smooth road, we drove away to a tiny little hut atop a hill. It’s funny how we city-ites would invariably find a flaw in a beauty if it would in some way affect our little adventures. I quickly checked myself for thinking if only the moon – that thrills me on any other night – wouldn’t be there, the night could have looked darker. My friends and I were greeted by a bunch of boys who had arrived at the place for the same purpose.
Considering the size of the hut seemed despicable as we marveled at the huge heart of its owners – a family of four. Within minutes, we found ourselves sitting inside their kitchen. The warmth of the chulha – on which our tea was brewing – could only be likened to the warmth their faces radiated. How easy it is to do good when it’s most convenient for us – city’s prosperous professionals! And yet people like Laxman and his wife magnify goodness without knowing it. There was a pretty decent reason for it. That I would know later.
Our stomach behaved like an illiterate country guy as it growled for the food. We felt the love of Hira – the woman who cooked for us – instantly as the first bite of Daal Bafla touched the tip of our tongue. Before parting with the group of boys after dinner, when they all began to sing, I felt a pang. Every time I would sing a hymn half-heartedly, I think, I would remember how that particular folk song sounded that night.
Whenever we would attempt to share the experience in brief, we would probably say: we slept inches away from cows that kept pooping throughout the night. Yet in reality, we had our beddings with us. We had cotton mattresses, silky bed-sheets and warm blankets. In moments, we had transformed the sitting area of the hut into a door-less but cozy bedroom. Of course, we had our uncomfortable moments. The moments that make you realize how spoilt you are, and how fortunate at the same time. Like the smell of the dung, the pissing sound of the cows that almost sounded like someone had left water tap open, the persistent noises. But the best of all was the punctual rooster who gave our snooze alarms a lost game at 4 am. And he was right inside the hut. “If I were in city, this rooster would be dead,” one of my friends gave us a hearty laugh that early morning.
We had to walk a few kilometers to get to the place where my friends were to conduct a health training programme for women. I was to help them translate. And what a walk it was! All we could see was a raw beauty spread around us. Little hills around a topsy-turvy path and tall trees. The fields were unromantically dry and yellow. It was harvest time. For a moment, I stopped and realized we were the only humans there – our tiny steps pitched against the pace of the morning star. And when he did show up, I felt what a Good Morning should look like.
By the time we began our training, our stomach was diabetic with five cups of chai. Before we began, we heard more folk songs from the women. We taught them a few Sunday School numbers in Hindi. By the end of the training, I was convinced I was absolutely unworthy for this task. I felt guilty for reveling in the adventures that are everyday challenges for these men and women. To top that, they live under threats from fundamentalists of the area. Why? Because they have put their faith in Jesus Christ.
I have my personal Bible. Plus a Gospel Book. Plus Francis Chen’s Crazy Love. Plus Women’s Devotional Bible. Plus Young Women’s Devotional Bible. Plus a Study Bible. But recently when I finished reading the whole Bible one time, I couldn’t revel over the fact. I didn’t feel like posting it on Facebook. That is because when I thought of the women who we were training in that little village near Ratlam, we learnt many of them would never be able to read the Bible.
I believe because I know the truth. I read it everyday in the Bible. They believe because they believe. Because they chose to believe. Because God is the source of their faith. I know His will and what He wants because I read it in his Word. They believe because He talks to them probably in ways I can never fathom.
All the good deeds that I do whenever it is convenient in my city were crucified that day in an insignificant village. As I saw the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the eyes of these exemplary men and women, I felt there’s nothing I could ever do to earn His grace.
From that day onwards, I have wished to be a little more insignificant. God has chosen the weakest, the insignificant people of the world to shame the strongest and significant. If I want Him to use me for His glory, I should be willing to be tinier.