As a child I always aspired to be a doctor and serve the people in a village. I worked hard (my father worked harder) to realize my dream, which became a reality in 1973.
There was a lady, Sarupi, who worked part-time in our house, washing our clothes, escorting all four daughters of the house to school and back. En route, she used to explain the benefits of good deeds. She often said, “Every good act you do gets deposited in your bank account with God and whenever the need arises, that’s what you withdraw.” Now a bank account literally meant cash to our immature minds and I always used to tease her about where the money was.
Days, months and years passed by and I became a full-fledged doctor. Sarupi was always present in my OPD with some patient or the other. She was very proud of me, and her pet discourse never varied: “Deposit in your bank account with God!” Believe me, I never took it seriously until something happened that changed my worldview.
One Diwali, after the pooja we were out enjoying the firecrackers. A friend tied the thread of two ‘atom bombs’ together and lit the fire. One bomb exploded harmlessly but the other hit my right eye. I was rushed to an ophthalmologist who treated me immediately. After a long, terrible hour, he told me that my eye was safe.
Sarupi came to see me when I was convalescing. She sat with me for an hour, fondly enquiring about everyone’s wellbeing and then softly asked, “Could you withdraw enough from God’s bank for your needs?” That was the day I understood that our only hope of mercy from Providence is to invest heavily in being of service to our fellow-beings: it was a major miracle to have escaped unhurt.