When a friend texted ‘Seen God’ as a suggestion for a place to visit, I thought it was an autocorrect error. But no, such a place actually existed and still does, a place of incredible natural beauty, in the Western Ghats.

The person in the photograph is Velu, whose intense face greeted me there. When I met him a few years ago, he claimed to have ‘seen God’ in that place 36 years before that time, hence the name. Whether he actually had or not was debatable, but what was simply amazing was, ever since that day, without missing even a single day, come rain or shine (there was a heavy downpour when I met him), regardless of his health or life situation, for 36 years, he came to this place and offered two hours of intense prayer between 11 am and 1 pm. He surprised me by speaking fluent English. He was a sight to behold, as he made an offering of flowers and fruit, and with arms outstretched to the skies, emitted guttural screams of prayer.

This incident happened a few years ago. When last some friends went to meet him, they found Velu is now sadly blind and confined to his home, but to me he will remain one of the most intense people I’ve ever met.

How must it be, I wonder, to do something with such intensity, consistently for so many years?