Ramesh is not a religious fanatic. But, he had faith in God and prayed everyday. He never forced anyone to believe in God. He did not waste time on rituals. He believed in having unwavering faith in the mind.
Hiten did not believe in God. He thought that it is only sheer hard work that makes things happen in life. He hated idol worship and the people who forced him to perform the rituals.
Sharad was born in a conservative family. Their family believed in rituals more than God and devotion to God. They have been blind followers of rituals without knowing the rationale behind performing the rituals. Sharad follows the path set by his family and believed that rituals could do wonders.
Ramesh, Hiten, and Sharad worked together in a software company. They became good friends after playing cricket regularly and having parties almost every Friday and Saturday nights. They were the only three bachelors in their entire team.
During a team picnic, the three of them got extremely bored with all the family people ruining the spirit of the picnic. So, they decided to break free from the party and go on a separate trip altogether. Luckily, for them, Hiten got his car. So, they informed their boss and left the family picnic to embark on a picnic of their own.
They had no plan. They had no maps. They just had a long weekend of three days at their expense and some money they could comfortably spend.
Ramesh said, “Let us make it an adventure trip. We will keep going and stay in the next tourist place that we come across. It can be a resort. It can be a wildlife sanctuary. Or, it can be a religious tourist spot. We will stop there and enjoy that place.”
Both Hiten and Sharad liked the idea of this surprise trip and they all set out to complete their adventure trip.
To the dismay of Hiten, the first tourist attraction on their route was a temple town. So, they decided to stay in the town for the next two days and enjoy as much as they can.
They reached a decent hotel and booked a room for the next two days. They left their belongings in the room and set out to explore the place. It was a lush green valley with temples on four sides. The paddy fields extended over many acres and gave the place a serene outlook.
Hiten sipped some beer during the trip. He offered beer to the other two, but they rejected. Ramesh said, “I don’t booze. I don’t encourage drinking, either. But, I can let you people have fun. Don’t force me, though.”
Sharad responded, “I booze almost everyday. But, I cannot drink in this holy town. It is against our beliefs. And, I plan to go to the temple tomorrow morning. I should not drink before and after that. So, I’ll let you enjoy your drink all alone.”
Hiten said, “Come on, guys! You are spoiling the spirit of the place. I bought this local version of beer and it is excellent in taste. You have to drink it to enjoy it.”
Hiten gave up the idea of asking them to drink.
After a couple of hours, Hiten realized that something was wrong with the drink. He started throwing up. This was not the way he felt when he drank regularly. There was a problem with the local alcohol, he thought. Or, he had some food poisoning. He told Ramesh and Sharad that he was feeling nauseous and he needed some sleep. He asked them to wake him up when it was time for dinner.
When it was dinner time, Ramesh tried to wake up Hiten. But, Hiten was unconscious and did not respond at all. After trying to wake him up for a few minutes, Ramesh and Sharad got extremely worried and rushed him to the nearest hospital.
The doctors told that Hiten went into coma. Ramesh and Sharad were astounded. They did not know what to do. Ramesh suggested that they wait for one day, before they tell their colleagues or Hiten’s family about his situation.
Sharad said, “This is happening because he drank alcohol in this holy town. And, we did not visit the temples. We should not do any other work when we visit this temple town. We should get the blessings of the deity of the temple.”
Ramesh was silent. He was not so superstitious to believe Sharad’s views. He brushed off that idea. But, he prayed to God to help them save his fried, Hiten.
Sharad rushed to the temple to get the blessings of God. Ramesh went to the liquor store where Hiten bought beer a few hours ago. Ramesh told the shopkeeper about the problem. The shopkeeper was defiant saying that it is definitely not because of the local alcohol. He suggested that Hiten must have had some other serious health problem.
Ramesh bought a bottle of that beer and took it to the hospital. The doctor said that he will get it tested in the laboratory to check if it is really poisonous. They also simultaneously did some tests on Hiten to check if he really had any other major health problems.
Unfortunately, both the lab reports turned out to be negative. There were no toxins in the beer sample. Hiten did not have any health issues or complications.
After a few hours, Sharad returned. He bought some holy water from the temple along with him. He made Hiten drink it. To everyone’s surprise and amazement, Hiten woke up from his coma immediately. He started uttering some words in his sleep. The doctors immediately attended to him. Sharad made Hiten drink the remaining holy water. Within a few hours, Hiten woke up and was ready to get discharged from the hospital. The doctors had no clue how things turned out to be this way.
Ramesh and Sharad explained the situation to Hiten and he was surprised to listen to the entire account. He could not believe that it was holy water that saved him. The next day, without informing Ramesh and Sharad, Hiten left the hotel early in the morning.
He returned after almost three hours. He called Ramesh and Sharad and told them about this. He said, “I found out the reason for the entire story yesterday. Id did some research and here are the details. People can end up in coma if they suffer from extreme dehydration. That would not happen in normal cases. But, I have been drinking only alcohol based drinks for the last three days. This led to extreme dehydration. And, I checked the lab reports for the local beer. It had some chemicals that result in high levels of dehydration. So, I went into coma. And, as far as the holy water is concerned, I have an answer for how that helped me. The holy water they use in the temple for prayers comes from the local waterfalls. Some scientific studies revealed that the water from this water falls contain high levels of a chemical that helps in rehydrating the human body to a great extent. So, this had nothing to do with God.”
Sharad got angry and he said, “Trust me. It is not just about the raw holy water. It touched the feet of my God and, thus, you got saved. If we used the water directly from the original source, it would have no effect on you. You cannot rule out the importance of the ritual.”
Ramesh said, “Now, you cannot call it sheer coincidence. If Sharad did not get it, we would have never known that the cure for your coma is in the same place. After waiting for a day or two, we would have rushed to the hospital in the city. And, you would have been in coma for many more days. So, it is because of God that things worked out in your favor. And, more than anything, God is there in every person. I prayed whole-heartedly. So, God came in the form of Sharad and helped you get out of coma.”
Though some of it made sense, Hiten did not want to accept it. He brushed the topic aside saying it was just sheer coincidence. He did not want attribute it to luck either.
They returned to their city the next day. Ramesh continued to believe in the power of God and prayed. Hiten did more research about practical problems of alcohol overdose. He was surprised when he learnt that only one in a million people get into coma due to dehydration because of excessive alcohol. He could not understand how he ended up being that one in million guy. Sharad continued his rituals and thanked God for saving his friend, Hiten.