A group of soldiers led by a young Major were on tier way to the post in a High Altitude mountainous terrain where they were to be deployed for the next three months.
The batch who would be relieved waited anxiously. It was a cold winter morning and intermittent snowfall made the treacherous climb more difficult. If someone could only offer a cup of piping hot tea, the Major thought, knowing it was a futile wish. They continued for another hour before they came across a dilapidated structure, which looked like a tea shop but locked. It was getting late.
“No tea boys, bad luck” said the Major to his team. But he suggested all take some rest there as they had been walking for three hours.
“Sir, this is a tea shop and we can make tea. We will have to break the lock”, suggested one of the soldiers. The officer was in a dilemma to the unethical suggestion but the thought of a steaming cup of tea for the tired soldiers made him to give them permission.
They were in luck, the place had everything needed to make tea and also a packet of biscuits. The soldiers had tea and biscuits and were ready for the remaining journey. The Major thought, they had broken open lock and had tea and biscuits without the permission of the owner. They’re not a band of thieves but disciplined soldiers. Instinctively, he took out a Rs 1,000/ note from his wallet, placed it on the counter, pressed under the sugar container, so that the owner can see. The officer felt relieved of his guilt. He ordered to shut the door and proceed.
Three months passed, and they continued to do gallantly in their work and were lucky not to lose anyone from the group in the intense terrorist infested area. It was time to be replaced by the next team.
Soon, they were on their way back and stopped at the same tea shop which was open and the owner was present in the shop. The owner, an old man with meager resources was very happy to greet fifteen customers. All of them had tea and biscuits. They talked to the old man about his life and experience specially selling tea at such a remote place. The old man had stories galore, replete with faith in God.
“Oh, Baba, if God is there, why should He keep you in such poverty?” commented one of the soldiers.
“Do not say like that, Sahib! God is actually there. I got proof. Three months ago, I was going through very tough times. My only son was beaten up by terrorists who wanted some information from him which he did not have. I had closed my shop to take my son to the hospital. Some medicines were to be bought and I had no money. No one would give me any money for fear of the terrorists. There was no hope, Sahib!”.
“And that day I prayed to God for help. And Sahib, God walked into my shop that day. For when I returned to my shop, I found the lock broken, I felt I was finished. I lost whatever little I had. But then I saw that God had left Rs 1,000/ under the sugar pot. I can’t tell you Sahib what that money was worth that day.”
“God exists, Sahib. He does”. The faith in the old man’s eyes were unflinching. Fifteen pairs of eyes met the eyes of the Major and read the order in his eyes, very clear and unambiguous, “Keep Quiet”. The Major got up and paid the bill. He hugged the old man and said, “Yes Baba, I know God does exist”. The fifteen pair of eyes did not miss to notice the moist eyes of their Officer, a rare sight.
(This is a true story of Kupwara Sector, J&K)