Our star reporter had a very hectic week so much so that he was almost laid up with indigestion. Now of course one might question why a hectic week should give indigestion to a guy. You see the star reporter was busy for nearly a fortnight covering events related to unceasing rains and hailstorms in the valley. While at it he had occasion to (purely in the interest of duty!) partake of the offerings of traditional roadside charitable community kitchens or langars, (called sus-rus in the local lingo!). People have lately started organizing these langars to appease the Lord and convince Him to stop the rains and keep the river-embankments intact no matter how weak they are because of course like everyone else our engineers and contractors aren’t exactly infallible. Well at least this is what our reporter thought the langars were for though as circumstances ultimately proved he was rather off the mark which can be attributed to his naiveté. For star reporter that he is he is definitely naïve or else why should he have posed such a silly question as he did while gobbling down a delicious concoction at one of these sus-rus langars.
“Who is being fed at these sus-rus langars?” he asked the amiable old man as he proffered his plate for a second helping.
“Anybody and everybody! There is no distinction for we are all His creation,” the old man said with a smile.
“I thought this must be about feeding the poor,” the star reporter said.
“But why?!” the old man said with an amused expression.
“Because those poor hungry souls would pray real fervently for you!”
The old man laughed and said, “And what will that achieve?! If the Lord would hear their prayers why then would they be poor and starving in the first place?!”
After this informative conversation our star reporter went on a binge tour as he covered most of the sus-rus langars that had been laid out in various parts of the city. This gave him a mighty indigestion and almost got him transferred to the food page of the newspaper because his report read more like a recipe than a news report. Chastised by the editor the news reporter decided to pursue another angle of the story. In fact to mollify the editor he resolved to come up with a real scoop.
Manipulating his numerous contacts, of which he had cultivated many (which is what had made him a star reporter in the first place!) he managed to gain access to the highest office of them all, the personal section of the Lord himself! Now don’t ask me how he managed that! The ideal journalist that he is, he never reveals his sources or contacts for that matter.
Up there he contacted various desks (manned by angels of course!) and was ultimately directed to a room with an ‘H.A’ board affixed outside. ‘H.A’ turned out to be the Head Angel and not Head Assistant as he had thought which did not matter though for practically it boiled down to the same thing.
“Sir,” he addressed the Head Angel squinting his eyes against the radiance emanating from him, “What became of the prayers and the sus-rus offerings?”
“Depends,” the venerable angel said in a mellifluous voice.
“On what?” the reporter asked.
“What the majority of prayers and offerings are for?”
“Why! They must all be asking for a relief from the rains and a respite from floods!” the surprised reporter said.
“Don’t be so sure!” the venerable agent said in a laconic voice. “It is obvious that you haven’t done your homework properly. Come let me show you.” He switched on the CCTV, clicked on Planet Earth and then zoomed in on Kashmir and then further on a particular sus-rus langar! It was the same langar where the reporter had asked the silly question about whether it was meant to feed the poor. The old man was mumbling some prayers beneath his breath as he ladled out the concoction. The Head Angel clicked a button and the beneath-the-breath prayers became audible. The old man, it turned out, was asking the Lord to intensify the floods and prevail upon the authorities to allot plots at some alternate site. He had already registered his household as three households as he wanted three plots for his two sons and a daughter too!
Then the Head angel focused on another group. Here it was a senior engineer who was humbly handing out the filled plates to the gathered people. “Lord I have got to pay for that new flat in Mumbai so let the floods pull down some buildings and wash away the embankments and bridges in my assigned area so that I can get my share from the contractors!” the engineer was beseeching the Lord in his heart of hearts.
He zoomed in on another one of these gatherings and there the head honcho was praying for the floods because he wanted to build a line of shops adjacent to his house! This was followed by other zoom-ins and of course there were a few places where the people were actually praying for a respite from the rains and the floods…
“We have to consider every prayer you see…” the Head Angel said with a shrug.
The star reporter could only mumble in amazement, “And I thought the prayers were going unanswered…”
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at [email protected])