Angels On Earth

He will give his angels charge of you

to guard you in all your ways.

On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you dash your foot against a stone.

(The Holy Bible, Psalms 91: 11-12)

One day when I was a kid, I broke a tooth off and cried aloud. My grandma told me to keep that broken tooth beneath my pillow while sleeping and said that an angel will come down from the firmament to turn the broken tooth into a chocolate by using her magic wand.

While going to bed that night, I asked my parents, ”Do angels really exist?”

Without a pause, my mom said yes and my dad said no. Both of them stared at each other immediately after answering and I got my answer.

From that day onwards, I kept on asking the same question to every new person I met. Most of them answered in affirmation with a smile and when I was asked the same question I replied “Yes, and I can prove it too.”

If you ask a child to portray an angel, he would probably draw a girl in cute pink frock and wings, with a magic wand in hand. But believe me when I tell you, this isn’t  the standard dress code for angels, but yes they all have a definite motive to imbue our lives with happiness.

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, to teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or what you want to become.

You can never be sure about who these people might be – a roommate, a neighbor, a student, a friend, a lover, or even a complete stranger, but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound way. These people are angels.

There is a second kind too, A few people you never had much of an interaction with, affect your life in such a manner that you couldn’t  have perceived. They tiptoe into your life and disappear in the same manner, casting an indelible impression of them on your life.

I am going to tell you a story about a similar kind of an angel which came into my life and played a silent but an important role in making me what I am today.

It started when I was in 6th standard.  I used to wait for my school bus at the bus stop every morning. I used to carry a water-bottle around my neck and a traditional heavy bag pack on my shoulders. Though every other student was accompanied by their mother or father, I used to wait for the bus alone. I didn’t want them to accompany me to the bus-stop because I considered myself a big boy and big boys don’t bother their parents for such small things.

It was 7’o clock every morning when I used to wait for my school bus to pick me up and drag me to school. The same was the time for our society sweeper and his son, Sonu, to arrive. MY sweeper uncle was appointed by the Society Management for sweeping the society blocks clean every morning. Sonu was of my age and used to share the workload with his father. My father is well known for his co-operative nature and hence the sweeper uncle always used to spare some time to talk to him about issues that confronted him. My father with all his patience used to solve his problems.

It became almost a daily routine that whenever he entered our lane for sweeping, I was there at the bus stop waiting for my bus to arrive. He often used to come and stand beside me with Sonu accompanying him.

It was something I didn’t like back then. May be that big boy was incommodious about the routine of having a conversation with the sweeper of the society, that too when my friends and their parents were watching me.

“Kaunsi class mein aa gaye ho babuji?” he always initiated the conversation with this question.

As an answer to his query I replied ‘6th

He then used to utter his common remark “Bohot achhe beta, bohot padhna tum, bade hokar afsar banna.”

He would then turn to Sonu saying  “Seekh kuch bhaiyya se, school jaya kar.”

Sonu would reply with the most innocent smile possible.

This began to happen on a routine. Many a times I would look through the window of my home and wait for the sweeper uncle to pass that bus stand before I reached there. Now the encounters were seldom, say once in a month or twice, but he didn’t change a bit.

Every time we met during my schooling, he asked the same question,“Kaunsi class mein aa gaye babuji?” and leave after conveying same wishes,“Khoob padho beta, bohot bada afsar banna.”

I ended school and went to boarding later, and am pursuing my engineering now, but some mornings I feel that he is still somewhere around me, that he would show up with his son any moment and ask me the same question. The frustrated and the childish thinking has gave way to a loving and more impulsive one.

There was a time when I failed a few classes and decided to leave my studies mid way, but every time when these kind of negative thoughts crossed my mind, sweeper uncle’s face flashed in front of me, saying,“Beta khoob padho, bohot bada afsar banna.”

Its been quite a time since I’ve seen him. I don’t even know if he is alive or not. My mother told me during my last visit at home a few days ago that he was seriously ill. I couldn’t gather courage to visit him, I was doubtful if he would recognize me or not. The irony is that his son Sonu has now taken up his father’s job and sweeps our society clean every morning.

When I saw Sonu sweeping, I understood the reason of his innocent smile as a kid. Both, the father and the son, knew what was coming to them. I saw a man aware of what his son had in store for him in future. And that father still unquestioningly showered his blessings lavishly over me. I don’t know a word in any language better than ‘angel’ to describe him.

JOAN W. ANDERSON once said that when people think of angels, they think flowing robes and halos. But in the Bible, they also look like ordinary people. Why not today?

They say angels appear to help us come out of a bad situation. They say angels appear as an answer to our prayers. But, I wasn’t in a bad situation and I didn’t ask any questions. My angel appeared well ahead of his time and gave me a lesson for the lifetime. Keep entertaining people in whatever way possible, who knows you might have entertained an angel and paid back a long overdue debt.

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