On a bone-rattling December morning three decades ago, while browsing through a newspaper, my roving eye suddenly got riveted on the blood-curdling bus mishap that had claimed 40 lives. The rescue team had retrieved from the mass of mangled bodies an infant who did not have even a single injury mark on his body.
Vivid memories of yet another miracle dating back two decades flashed across my mind and reaffirmed my faith in the adage, 'Saviour is greater…'
The occasion was the wedding of my relative in a Kangra village. As the wedding rituals were halfway through, my colleagues from Chandigarh prevailed upon me, the groom's proud 'jeeju', to arrange for liquor and non-veg food for them.
Though a non-veg treat on auspicious occasions like these is a strict no in the region, I gave them Rs 500, then a hefty sum, to make arrangements.
Those who were given the task had to trudge a long distance through the inhospitable terrain, looking up for an abattoir. At last, they bumped into a wayside tea shop. Opposite on a small hillock stood a temple of Lord Shiva.
Gulping down the ginger-flavoured tea, they made discreet enquiries from the shop owner about an abattoir in the vicinity, to which he replied in the negative.
As they got up to leave, a hen and cock appeared there along with their chicks. "Do you want to sell the cock?" the colleagues asked the tea shop owner. "No", he said. A little coaxing and cajoling and he agreed to sell it.
As they tip-toed to catch the cock, it flew away as if it had an inkling of its imminent end. An hour-long odyssey proved a wild goose chase.
The cock flew into the temple, the huffing and puffing friends in tow hounding it. In a last-ditch bid to give death a miss, it hid behind the life-sized image of Shiva.
When cornered, the cock finally surrendered, terming it as the will of god. As the friends left with the prized catch, the hen bid a teary adieu to its partner by crowing a cock-a-doodle-do.
Back home, as they were about to go ahead with their hacking plans, the women accompanying us from Chandigarh hollered: "Stop hacking the cock." Sensing trouble, the colleagues assured the women that they would return the cock to its owner once the wedding rituals were over.
They hid the cock under a bamboo basket and put a heavy log over it. Hardly had the women left for the wedding venue, a dust storm left most things topsy-turvy, including the basket. The cock flew away, getting a new lease of life.