Humans of Himachal

Stories • Destinations • Motivation
Humans of Himachal Stories

I used to be an Atheist

I used to be an Atheist. 
Now I don’t know what to believe.

The year was 2016, and here I was, flying Air India to Delhi for a tiny vacation. Now like any other kid, I demanded a window seat, and was seated next to a young Catholic priest. Now this man was chanting non-stop since we took our seats, and it was getting on my nerves. I smirked mockingly as he paused for a breath, and said, ” You know sir, you don’t really need to pray this much, the plane’s quite sturdy”. Now I don’t know if Air India got flattered, or if it was a divine reply, but the plane violently shuddered. No, it wasn’t the generic “turbulence shudder” as  we weren’t that high up yet, but it was a flock of birds colliding with the plane. Now which birds they were don’t matter, because it was a premonition of catastrophe all the same. I felt like I was going to slowly lose my sanity. The man resumed his praying and weirdly enough the plane stabilized after a while. I said, too cocky to accept my defeat, ” You see sir, the engineers built a fine plane after all. All Thanks to Science”. The priest could tell I was the generic atheist and asked me ” So you must subscribe to the infinite parallel universes theory too right?” and of course, I said yes. 

“Well you’re lucky I am sitting beside you in this one”.

 That was a strange reply. 

And he went back to his silent chanting.

But soon enough, we heard a commotion towards the front of the plane. Turns out a lady had the tapioca pudding and had an allergic reaction to raisins or something.  And sure enough, we ended up making an emergency landing in Ranchi.

When we resumed our journey in another flight, I joined the priest in praying because two scary incidents was all my teenage heart could bear in a day, and I wanted an uneventful flight here on. 

And that I got. 

As we deboarded, I looked at my co-passenger cum priest one last time, and asked ” Well in all the other parallel universes where you’re not sitting next to me, does that lady still have an allergic reaction and delay us by 4 hours?”.

Almost all too knowingly, the priest answered, ” It doesn’t really matter, because in all those universes you die.”

That was weird.

But sure enough, I found out later on through my uncle who worked in ATC, that when the flock of birds hit, one of them blew up the fuel cover appendage, and another shorted the fuel base indicators, which meant that the pilots wouldn’t have known if they ran out of fuel prematurely, as the fuel tank would have leaked very slowly and the indicators were shorted.

The priest was, in all seriousness, right!

And now I am confused.

But what do I know?

I used to be an atheist, but now I don’t know what to believe.

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