Like my friend, my father also thought I should stop my sinful talks, and turn the spiritual way. He sent me to a pastor in a nearby town.
The pastor greeted me with a very broad smile that I could count all his teeth. He was cleanly dressed in black and white, with his shirt tucked in, and wearing a matching tie. He looked like the marketing executive who came to my house the previous day to sell ‘pure water’ (water purifier). Unusually I was also dressed like one, minus the tie. He shook my hands and waved me to a plush seat.
After enquiring about my whereabouts, he asked me what he could do for me. I told him I was looking for spiritual enlightenment. His eyes twinkled. “Brother, this is the right place to start”, he declared. He called out a name and a beautiful girl (could be his daughter) came inside the room with a plate. New to any places like this, I thought she was going to serve me food. “Offerings”, the pastor said, “Do not count your notes. Remember you are giving it to God”. I didn’t had to count I just had one hundred rupee bill. I closed my eyes and put that in the collection plate.
“Let me explain about the various prayer meetings that we conduct…” he went on to explain that they have special prayer meetings scheduled, for sinners, possessed and the sick. He asked which category would I belong. I felt there should be more categories to choose from. “Sinner”, I responded with hesitation. “Good. We have special prayer meetings for sinners on every Friday evening”, he said. “Brother, Jesus is your friend. He will forgive all your sins. Only thing is you need to know how to get his blessings” It seemed like there is trick to get it and he was going to help me get it.
He asked me to kneel down for an instant blessing. I did. He sprinkled some water on my head and mumbled some prayers. After five minutes I was told I was blessed. It was like a preliminary blessing before the Friday meeting. “Where is God?” he asked. The question sounded too philosophical and I didn’t want to answer. I smiled, and said “I will give you an answer when I visit you next time”.
I stepped out of his room, and walked towards the exit. He came running after me, and thrust a pamphlet into my hand. “Read this, brother”.
It had a list of various prayer meetings with time and date mentioned against them. Sinners’ meeting was at the top. And there was a special note at the bottom of the paper, it said; donations above Rs.1000 would be specially mentioned in the notice board (without photograph, I guessed), and donations above Rs.5000 would be announced in the prayer meetings. “I’m sure you would want your name to be announced on Friday”. He smiled. He shook my hands. I remembered the marketing executive who was trying to sell the water purifier. Salvation for Rs.5000. Warranty announced!
“Where is God?” the enquiring words of the pastor now boomed into my ears. The Man is missing, and I did not want to hang around the spot any longer.