I hated my job and I hated the office. My colourful love for life seemed a tad unclean. I was heftily digging into a shelf of patient notes when I overheard a conversation between two people discussing GOD, specifically Jesus Christ. My neurons upstairs threw up stoically. Distressed and moaning, I cursed them for being another couple of morons setting up more examples of talk to convince-show not in doing lifestyle
Three days into my job, on that fine day, I realised that in a hurried morning I had left behind my mobile phone and wallet at home. Very often in the media we come across images of hunger struck human beings specially children, all malnourished and bony and on the edge of their lives. I had hardly ever before imagined how it would feel to not have a meal to eat. I had skipped breakfast that morning and was not carrying my mobile phone too, which added hunger and loneliness in the city of London.
On that cold afternoon at Russell Square, I walked not knowing how to overcome hunger. I had all the money in the world that I need, yet not a morsel to feed myself. This predicament made me aware of an aspect of life largely not thought of. My hungry heart went out to the impoverished and malnourished.
Stirring up my brains for ideas, I walked up to SOAS (School of Oriental and Asian studies) to get food at the ISHKON devotees who I heard give away food for anyone who wants to eat. To my dismay, they were missing since I was probably a wee bit too early for lunch at 12:30. Then I strode towards ULU where a pretty face supposedly gives koffee to thirsty souls at Koinonia, a student outreach program of a Christian group. As it has always been, she wasn’t there.
Heavy hearted sigh. I walked back to my office, a good 700 metres of meandering mind and a hungered body. As a last resort, I had to borrow. I had a friend in office. Adrian. [Good Morning- Bye- see you tomorrow] kind of friend. He was not there too.
Enter. JULIANA. The protagonist of this story. A stranger. Oh wait. She owes me something. My curses. I had given it to her the previous day for her conversation about GOD. A mouthful. De Facto Plenty, sufficient to keep me warm for the rest of the evening. With my AAIDU acquired crocodile skin, I approached for some money. 5 pounds maybe. She warily gave me 2P+2P+50p+20p+20p+10p not bothering to even acknowledge my three thankus. I happily ran out of the office and picked up some food and ate heartful. I then promptly returned to work and went home at 5 PM. All through this failed to realise someone watching me carefully, my darting about in the office and eating like never before.
I came to office next day, guarded with my wallet and loads of confidence. During my lunch break I went out to the money machine, took money for myself, brought lunch and a galaxy chocolate bar for JULIANA as a token of appreciation and came back to office. I went up to Juliana and give her the cash and the chocolate. She promptly told in her African big momma accent that she doesn’t need the money back. I persist saying that I will be eternally thankful for her help, but she need not refuse to take it back. But the African steadfastness came to the fore and she told that she appreciates the chocolate and would take that, but pleaded the other way with the money. She said, “You are younger and I can buy you lunch. Please”. Then she gave me a hug. Although not the one to be emotional in public, I had to fight hard to keep my eyes dry, that moment. I went back to my desk.
An avalanche of impulses were criss-crossing my central nervous system and I realised I had not stopped committing the sin of judging people. I had also temporarily lost hope for a few weeks in humanity and the abundant mercy of God. I have it back now.
Juliana, I still remember you fondly. God bless.
ps:I left that job after a week.