It was an auspicious morning. The temple looked bright and serene. The devotees were patiently waiting for their turn to have a darshan of the lord… I was one among them and there were only five or six people ahead of me. I looked around to see whether there were any known faces. There was none at that time but just when I was leaving the temple, I was a bit surprised to see an old friend of mine. He was sitting in a corner, singing a devotional song. It was almost a decade since I saw him last but I was not in a mood to renew my friendship with him mainly because his favorite topics were not to my liking. Moreover, I was craving for a cup of coffee.
There was only one restaurant near the temple but it was yet to open. So, I got into a petty tea shop and ordered a cup of tea. “One for me too!”, I heard a familiar voice. Yes, it was my old friend’s. “I saw you at the temple but you were in a hurry to leave… old habits die hard…”, said he with a smile. The monologue began, with me responding with “oh! Um, wow” and so on.
He kept on talking about various temples and his frequent visits to those famous temples and also about his donations. It seemed he was doing some business and making money. As he was waxing eloquent about religion and temples, I tried to provoke him by criticizing trade unionism and certain leftist leaders but to my surprise he said, “Absolutely… these lazy fellows are greedy. Even if you give them ten times as much as they get now, they won’t be satisfied. Their party is in power in a couple of states and you know they are the most backward in India…” He stopped abruptly and said, “ok, I must leave now”.
In this connection I must tell you an interesting fact. This chap was an atheist and a staunch supporter of the leftists. On top of this, he was a trade union leader who was working in a public sector company which was unable to withstand the pressure of trade unionists who kept on demanding for more! And he was their leader!