Is our destiny already planned and laid out before we are born? Are we just working our way through life like puppets with the strings of our lives in someone else’s hands? Although a firm believer in faith and God, I had always believed that everything lay in my hands, my mind so to say. I was the builder of my destiny. If things didn’t go according to plan due to unforeseen circumstances then, I could pray to the Almighty to bail me out. All this I believed till a particular incident rapped me out from my ignorant stupor. Way back, when I was just settling down with my husband and little son in God’s Own Country I encountered something, an event that will stay with me forever.
My little son was hungry so I walked to the kitchen to prepare his meal. The television was on. As I went about my task in the kitchen I heard about a recent train derailment that left about 53 people dead and many injured. A bridged had collapsed I heard again. I came back with the food. As I sat down on the ground to feed my child, I saw images of a mangled train, people crying and wailing. I continued watching aimlessly. After all, such accidents had become common now-a-days. Suddenly, it struck me. My husband was away on an official tour and was aboard this very train. I changed channels and I heard the same news again and again. I heard about people being trapped in bogies and others drowned when the train plunged into the river as the bridge gave away. What was I to do? What if something terrible had happened to him? I thought.
What if he was trapped inside and nobody could rescue him? I thought again.
What? If? God only knows how my mind worked overtime as I imagined all sorts of terrible things happening to my husband. We were yet to be connected with STD. Who could I call? I was new to the place. I sat like a zombie for God knows how long when suddenly I heard the telephone ring.
It was him, my husband, alive!
“You must have heard,” he said in rushed tones. “I am okay.”
And the phone went dead.
I saw my husband a week later, his arrival home delayed because of the rescue operation. He was in terrible shape both, mentally and physically but alive. It took him more than a month or so to get back to his normal routine as he kept getting nightmares of the accident, of bleeding bodies, of dead people, of a powerful train lying paralyzed in the still waters below. My husband is alive beside me today but innumerable people lost their lives that day. How was it that the prayers of their families went unanswered while those of the surviving passenger families were answered? Was it destiny that had chartered out that dreadful accident on that fateful day? Or, was it sheer neglect on the part of the railways for not having taken adequate maintenance for the bridge? That was a time of inner questioning for me, for someone who strongly believed that every person molded his/her own fate. Why do natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and famines wipe out some people while others are saved? Why do plane crashes, train and car accidents occur, killing innocent people while hordes of evil people rule the earth?
Some might call it mass karma where people slated to die on the same day and same time in such a manner are brought together in one place. I don’t know. I am no expert. All I know is that sometimes, life appears so unfair. Maybe, it is a higher plan that is working, about which mortals like me know nothing about. Just the other day, I heard about an office staff of my husband being attacked by a mentally deranged man who threw a big rock on his head. Actually, this gentleman wasn’t even going to go the place where this incident took place. He had been unusually invited for lunch to another office colleague’s house when this took place. Today, he is in the ICU battling for his life. His family is dazed. Most of all, his colleague is too stunned to react. He feels responsible for it all. But, who knew such a thing was going to happen?
Today, I live my life with gratitude for the little mercies that God bestows upon me. I know that there are certain queries that just cannot be answered. I leave them that way. I know that how much I may will or try, I cannot prevent natural or man made disasters from taking place. I realize that there is a lot not in my control. But I also understand that I cannot go forward if my feet are stuck to the ground in helplessness and despair. Remember the adage, ‘God helps those who help themselves?’ I believe now that though a lot may not be in my hands, I am sitting in the driver’s seat of the car of my life. I do have the power to steer the car the way I want to. Although I do not know whether I will reach my destination, this much I do realize that I can go where I want to.
What do you say?