It was Saturday. Since I was all worn-out with the gone week’s work, I was hoping to get some rest or visit some new place. I had heard a lot about the mythical hanuman temple in Connaught place. It is believed that pandavas built this temple in mahabharata period. Thus, I decided to give this much-talked place a visit. It was a sunny day but more or less the shani(lord shani is considered the brutal judge who punishes harshly for wrongdoings in Hindu religion)day. I reached the mandir in afternoon around 2 p.m. I bought ladoos, went inside and worshipped in front of the idol. After performing the necessary rituals, I left the temple. While descending down the stairs, I saw few babas in their colorful robes occupying the corners.
Suddenly when I turned my back towards the temple, a voice called from behind. I turned back to find an old man dressed in a stark black robe, his head covered in a red cloth looking in my direction. I went up to him only to find him enquiring about my health. I was a little perplexed, but then I replied that I was in pink of health these days. He again asked whether I was ill a few days back. Now Delhi has a very harsh weather, which can affect people with very high immunity also. Besides a week ago I had been a little ill so I replied to the baba in affirmative. I could feel his confidence rising since he had got my answer.
Then the conversation moved to my family. He started telling me very personal things about the passing away of my grandfather this year, and my parents being in a little trouble at this and that time of the year. I was astonished. He also mentioned about I being the eldest child of my parents. He enquired whether I have a younger brother to which I again replied positively. Now I had gone to the mandir with my brother. I doubt he must have seen him or deduced it in some way. Though I have heard of various people’s encounters with babas, I had never encountered one myself. I did not know how to react and what to say, since I was so flabbergasted with what I was hearing. Now it was my turn to question. I asked him about how he knew all these things. He ignored my question with a stern face and continued with what he had to say. He now began talking about how this Diwali is going to be ill-fated for me and my family. His last prophecy was that on the day of Diwali either my parents or their children are going to die. I was utterly stunned. I then asked him what made him say so and he blamed the planetary stars for such happening. I was speechless and couldn’t ask for more. Sensing my silence he said that there is a chauraha(where roads meet from four directions) near your house where you will find a Peepal tree. Beside it lay a red cloth which somebody from your family has planted. Dig that out and get it removed otherwise the ill-fate will continue to hover over you and your family. He even mentioned the description of a person who could have possibly done this citing that it was a woman of the family. Saying all this he became silent. I turned over to find my brother calling me. I began to leave and found that baba had left too. I did not try to search for him.
Now I have never believed in these things. Since childhood I have been raised in a certain environment where black magic (totkas) and their likes are considered foolish and for people who don’t believe in karma. Of course my parents are religious people, but they have always been driven by logic and reason and have taught us the same. But this encounter with baba was beginning to wash away all the reason my parents had taught us. I told my brother about the incident and he was equally scared. Like two shocked siblings, we hurriedly reached home and told our parents. We were a little unsure to tell them as they might just dismiss it and not pay heed. But ultimately we did. After listening to the whole conversation, they started reprimanding us about meeting that baba. They began with every logic and reason they could give to calm us and dismiss it as stupidity. They quoted various examples and instances to make us understand. It obviously helped us a little but both of us (me and my brother) were still unsure as to what will happen. Few days passed and we forgot the incident.
Finally the doomsday came. Diwali began with everybody wishing each other and exchanging gifts. I was again reminded of that incident. I was eager to find out whether the baba was correct about his prophecies. Nothing happened; we celebrated Diwali, albeit a low-key affair since my grandfather had passed away this year. During night while lighting up diyas, my father said “its diwali and we are all alive” to which we all laughed heartily.