I loved my bike and maintained it very well. It was very precious to me. I loved my friend a lot too. So when she asked me if I would teach her to ride my bike I couldn't refuse. Initially, she would just hold the handlebars tightly while trying to balance the bike but today she was screaming with fright. She whacked me and said, “You know I am not yet adept at manoeuvring the bike through these narrow lanes! Why do you insist that I ride in this kind of place now? Can’t we take it a little more slowly? Can’t we do this after a few more days?”
I lost my temper! I said, “Okay, that’s it! Just get off my bike. You will ride my bike again only when you have total confidence and faith in yourself. Prove this to yourself by riding through these lanes on that day!”
My friend immediately looked apologetically at me and said, “Sorry buddy. I was really scared of that bus when it came so close to me. And then that cat started running across the road. Then there was that bike that came from behind us and that was a really huge pothole that I saw at the last minute!”
She looked down guiltily because she knew she was becoming nervous about the whole thing now. I looked at her. My patience was wearing out. I just said, “Oye, you paranoid aunty. Let me ride my bike. You have a long road ahead before you master a thing like this! We’ll take this up again after you feel more confident about going ahead with it.” My friend just nodded her head.
That is when I started thinking of this fairly simple 5 letter word that we all toss around so easily in our everyday lives. F.A.I.T.H –yes – a simple 5 letter word indeed but it had a lot of depth in it.
Faith is the driving force behind so many things in our lives.
Faith had made my friend try her hand at mastering a new skill like bike riding. We know we have it in us to do the impossible. We move ahead to do the impossible only when we have faith in ourselves.
Yet, sometimes we feel and know we can do it and at other times we can feel our faith becoming shaky.
Faith was the reason why I was here in my life today. I was trying to do the impossible.
I was challenging myself. I had a lot of hope because I was waiting to get a big break in my life.
I looked at that scared mother dog that lived on the premises of my office at Saki Naka. I had been working in this office for a year now. She would always sit far away. She would curl up and pretend to be asleep. She would occasionally open her eyes to see if anyone was coming near her. She was rich black in colour and had small white patches around her neck and paws.
I had tried to gain her trust several times but the poor thing only got more scared of me each time. It was just like that bike ride that my friend had experimented with - a few days ago.
Sometimes I tried to befriend her. But on most days – I just let her be. Today I just felt like trying to talk to her again. I said, "Come here, girl! Come and have a biscuit!" But there was no response. As usual.
I soon got engrossed in my work. I had got into the habit of working late hours. I would always hurry home in the dark and wonder what kind of scolding I would hear from my mother today. She was already saturated with, “Leave the job! They aren’t even paying you enough! Why so late?” I gathered my scattered thoughts and focussed on my work. Another day had just whizzed past. Soon it was late evening again. I started hurrying out of the main gate when I saw the mother dog wagging her tail at me.
She was jumping and seemed excited to see me! Wow! That was a welcome sight for my weary eyes.
She had come so close to me for the first time. I gave her a quick pat on her head and foraged into my bag to see if I could find something for her to eat. I knew I had a slice of bread left over from the lunch I had packed that day. I had traded 3 of my bread slices for a chappati from my friend’s lunch box. He didn’t really like the deal I forced him to make but right now I was happy I could feed mother dog the fourth slice of my bread. It had a generous layer of butter on it and maybe that was why I was gaining so much weight this past year!
I collected my thoughts again, extended my hand, looked into mother dog’s eyes and said, “Here you go!” She took it with her mouth. “Awww….My Mumz…” I was pleasantly surprised by the name that I had intuitively come up with for his friendly mother dog.
I was sure my real mother would be offended with the name I had come up with but right now it did not matter to both of us.
Slowly, Mumz and I became friends. She was a sweet old girl. She would come to meet me during tea time and would wag her tail vigorously when she was with me. Slowly, she started to take the biscuits from my hand. She would even sit down next to me and allow me to touch her. She then slowly extended her paws and showed me through gestures that she wanted to be petted by me.
I was touched and blinked back the sudden tears that welled up in my eyes.
One day I went out of the office after lunch. I just felt like taking a walk by myself. Mumz had been sitting with us while we had our lunch. But when I got up, she too accompanied me. She was her usual bubbly self. She wagged her tail and started jumping around me.
Somehow I knew she could sense my feelings that day.
I bent down and sat with her for some time. I petted her and fed her some biscuits. I said, “Good girl, Mumz! Aren’t you a sweet thing? You care for everybody. You stay hungry for days. Yet you never fight for your share!”
I blinked back the tears that were welling up in my eyes again. I felt so close to Mumz that day. She was a scared lonely dog just like me.
She had a lot of friends like me. She too met everyone just like me. She too was close to a handful of people just like me. She too played around and listened to other people’s stories patiently. Heck – she even asked me to rub her belly these days. The other dogs around her were trying to push her away and get my attention.
But she kept coming back to me. She believed in me. She believed in our friendship. She had faith in me and knew that I would not harm her in any way. She wasn’t afraid of me anymore.
I took a selfie with Mumz that day. It wasn’t a great selfie but Mumz looked as pretty as ever! The next day I saved up some food from my lunch and gave her a big bowl of bones and bread.
She devoured it all alone.
And as I watched Mumz devour the food on her own I couldn’t help but wonder about ‘faith’ again. Is faith related to religion? Is faith our belief in God? Does faith mean trusting our fate and destiny? Do our skills/talents and personality traits nurture our faith? Does faith drive us to success? Can we excel in our business or in our studies if we have faith in ourselves?
Isn’t there more to faith than all this put together?
I think faith is not just a simple 5 letter word. I think faith is a big word. I think that even though we all feel we have a lot of faith in ourselves we still have quite a few doubts about ourselves.
I think faith is a process. It takes time to believe in ourselves. It takes a lot more time to believe in other people. It takes a longer time to believe in our objectives, our work and the rules that have been laid down by our society/firm.
That is why when we interview people, we want to see what they have done so far in their lives. That is why we want to see pictures when we speak to our friends. That is why we want to know the plans of the candidate before we cast our vote in his favour.
It’s not wrong to want to follow this process of having faith in ourselves and in others. We all have enough time allotted to us. There is no use forcing ourselves on others to gain their trust.
It takes a lot of time for us to even create this feeling of having faith in ourselves.
Honestly speaking, sometimes I am scared to say that I have faith in myself or my plans for the future. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future. I don’t know where I am headed. I am often full of doubts about the path that I have chosen to walk on. And I don’t even know if these doubts will ever leave me. I don’t even know if all this is worth trying and striving for.
Often I get scared when I think of the worst case scenario and try to console myself.
But it is at such times that a mother dog like Mumz will show up in my life and force me to reorient my thoughts.
I now force myself to think of all the things that could happen if things work out in my favour. I know I will be satisfied with myself. I know I will be proud of myself for not giving up when the going was tough. I know I will be a lot happier in my life if I pursued my passion.
It is at such times that I realize that ‘Life’ is not my enemy.
It does not want to tear me down or put me through the worst possible things that I can imagine.
I realize that ‘Life’ wants me to accept the challenge and believe in myself.
That is why ‘Life’ sends a friendly mother dog called Mumz into my life. 'Life' wants me to reinstate my faith in myself.
‘Life’ and Mumz seem to say, "Have faith, my child. You are onto something wonderful…!"
A slow tear slipped past my closed eyes. Mumz was quietly licking my hands. She then sat down next to me. We sat quietly together for a long while. After a while, I got up slowly.
I looked at Mumz and said, “Thanks for being there for me buddy! I’m glad you are a part of my life! Hold on for a moment Mumz. I have to make a call.”
Mumz barked happily and started wagging her tail. I called my friend and said, “Hey! When do you want to take your next bike riding lesson?” There was no response from the other end. I could hear my friend sobbing quietly. Her voice was soft when she said, “Thanks a ton buddy! Your faith in me …..it means a lot to me. How about this weekend?” I laughed and said, “Okay!” and hugged Mumz tightly!