My phone rang at four in the evening. It was a young man delivering my mom’s medicine. The doctor’s clinic is on the other side of town, and once every few months, I take my mom for a consultation. Since the medicines he prescribes are not readily available, we prefer to get them from the chemist attached to the clinic. The chemist also did not have them in stock. He promised to send them by evening and used Rapido — a popular delivery service, to send the medicine.

The delivery person sounded tired and desperate. He had been hunting for my house for twenty minutes and finally gave up. I felt really bad for him, so I started directing him to a popular restaurant near my house and started driving toward it. He kept talking to me because he was nervous about losing his way again. Suddenly, I heard a cop stop him and berate him for talking on the phone while driving. I heard him pleading with the cop as he disconnected the phone.

Ten minutes later, he met me at the restaurant. He was a young, fresh-faced boy in his late twenties. I asked him how much I owed him, and he told me the bill was Rs 300, and I could pay him whatever I felt was fair. I asked him about the cops, and his eyes welled up. He said they threatened him and finally asked him to pay a fine of Rs 100. I told him I was sorry for his pain, gave him Rs 500, and asked him to keep the change. I generally tip well at hotels and restaurants because Swamiji once said it’s a practice he follows everywhere. I find great joy in seeing people’s face light up with joy because they don’t expect it.

He started weeping after receiving the money. When I asked why he got so emotional, he said he left home with  ₹100 in his pocket. When the cop took that from him, he rode all this way, complaining to Allah that he would go hungry today, and Allah was doing nothing about it. He said, “Allah made you a medium to get me my meals today.” I also teared up a little.

That moment was so beautiful. My guru, who is teaching us the beauty and inclusivity of Sanatana Dharma, was the inspiration behind my gesture. However, it managed to cement his faith in Allah, and he received it in Allah’s name.

The beauty of spirituality and the formless nature of the divine was captured in the one-minute exchange between two strangers. Both walked away, thanking their divine for being a part of their lives.

This poem by Rumi states it perfectly. It’s from a book where Farookh Dhondy translates Rumi’s poetry.

To speak the same language is one form of kin
Yet that which unites is the language within

One Turk and another may share the same tongue
Do they hear the same music, when the heart’s song is sung?