The golden years of college had seen it all, right from the beauty of waking up when peoples’ half day routine was over to stretching out when half the world was dead asleep. There was not a need to go to the temples as there was nothing to be asked for, no seeking, and no desire - almost in a free state. It was these years of carefree living that an atheist like me first felt God’s presence. Winters were around the corner and so the need to fetch winter clothes from back home was cozy enough to let go the laziness of those golden times. A few days at home and the journey backwards started with a halt at the notorious city of Saharanpur for the want of a change of train. The heavy luggage including the quilt and the woolens had to be retired at the platform in waiting for the next train to arrive. Just then arose the urge of smoking an India Kings cigarette which offered a new high during those years. The urge became so overpowering that my steps lead me out of the railway station leaving the loads of luggage to the custody of some people from my hometown whom I had never known. A few minutes with the cigarette and I was walking back towards the platform when a state of awe struck me as the luggage had disappeared. A few rounds of inquiries in the train parked on the same platform left me with no hope of ever getting the luggage back. A last effort of filing the FIR at the railway police station also proved to be in vain as I was offered cautionary counsels rather than words of reassurance.

A few minutes of contemplation and I was left with no choice but to move forward to the city of my belonging, the beautiful city of Chandigarh which housed my college. The transit train from Saharanpur to Ambala introduced me to a person who advised me to go to a Sage’s temple to wish for the return of my lost goods. On his strong counsel and because of my dreary state I was lead to this great Sage’s temple. The temple was being run on the name of Rishi (saint) Markandeshwar who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. The temple located in the city of Shahabad near Ambala was renowned as a place where your wishes of any kind get fulfilled. After seeking the blessings of the great Sage and earnestly wishing for my loss to be recovered I boarded the bus to Chandigarh.

The days to follow were not so difficult as I was on the mercy of my generous room mate who ensured that the basic amenities such as food, clothing and money were easily met. Only a few days had passed when I received a post card from a college in the state of Rajasthan. My happiness knew no bounds as the message revealed that the lost luggage was found. The college authorities were so conscious that they sent 3 post cards – one addressed to me and the others to the hostel warden and the principal of my college. On the very next day, I started on a without ticket travel to the city of Sri Ganganagar along with a close friend of mine.

Upon reaching the college and inquiring about the luggage we learnt from the authorities that the luggage traveled along with the luggage of a batch of students who were out to picnic. On probing further we were told that as a standard practice the count of luggage in the bogey that was fully occupied by the students was checked at every station halt including Saharanpur but my luggage was not spotted until all the luggage’s were finally unloaded at the final destination. This appeared mysterious to the college authorities as they sent out the post cards based on the address mentioned in my bank account pass book kept in one of my hand bags.

To this day when I reflect on what happened then, it gives me a strong feeling and a belief that someone somewhere is always working towards the fulfillment of our needs – and that someone somewhere is no one but God constantly guiding us.

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