Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Anjan Mein Niranjan"

Recently I was in Washington DC, supporting our teams responding to fires and storms in different parts of the country. When I am in DC, I usually walk or take metro to get to places and very rarely do I take the cabs. However, some times when it is a bit late at night or I am not sure of the way, I take a cab. The best part of taking cabs is the conversations with the cab drivers, they are usually immigrants from India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, or Eritrea, etc. They are very respectful and like to share their story of arriving to the US and their current lifestyle.

Talking with the cab drivers can be very informative. One gentleman told me about how he struggled to get to the US, chasing the 'American Dream'. It took him several years to reach the US, during his journey he walked for thousands of miles to cross his country's border, then took a plane to a country in South America and worked their until he got the opportunity to move to the United States. In this time, he lived with different types of people, adapted to different cultures and tried to speak different languages. He now is proud cab driver and makes intelligent conversations with interested passengers. What a determined and inspiring person!

So I have several stories of cab drivers like that but what recently happened passed all other conversations not only with cab drivers but with any stranger ever. As I entered the cab, I knew it was going to be an interesting ride. The cab driver was an elderly Sikh (Sikhs are the followers of Sikhism, an Indian religion) gentleman with a big white beard, he looked like a sage. His persona didn't fit the driver's sit at all but he was very comfortable there. My heart was so ready to receive his pearls of wisdom.

I started the conversation by telling him that my great grandfather was a Sikh too and he later converted to Christianity. He asked, Who was Christ? I replied, 'Sir, please you tell me because you certainly know more than me'. So he proceeded to tell me his version of God and how he thought God dealt with  this world over the generations. I am not sure if I agreed with everything but his version was beautiful and music to my ears. Before I knew the ride was about to finish, actually way I earlier than I would've liked.

Just before we arrived, we exchanged our names. His name was Mr. Gill and when he heard my name he asked me if I knew the meaning of my name. I told him 'Anjana' is derived from 'Anjan', which means kohl (eyeliner). He said you're right when 'Anjan' is taken in a very little quantity, it is called kohl but if it is spread around, it is nothing but dirt. I kind of felt bad… but he was just about to give me the gift he had for me...

He said, 'Anjana, Anjan mein Niranjan ho jaao! Meaning this world is full of Anjan or dirt but Niranjan is God or Godlike. While you live in the dirt of this world you must become Godlike. Stop eating meat or drinking alcohol and stop doing other bad things.' He wasn't simply talking to me, he was giving me instructions with some divine authority...

As the cab stopped, I bent to see the meter but he had already switched it off. I asked him how much I owed him but he said I couldn't pay him any money. He said donate some money in the church instead. Then he said, 'You may leave now'. But somehow I didn't have the  strength or the desire to leave but I forced myself to leave the cab. I was full of gratitude because of the pearls of wisdom that he blessed me with. I was also perplexed if this was real or I was living a mystical experience…! I am still perplexed but I am holding his teaching close to my heart.


  1. God sends his angels to the darnest places. When the meessage needs to be taken, it is.

  2. That read like a dream. Was it one? Whatever, Mr Gill was the stuff evangelists are made of.

  3. Yes, I feels like a dream but it really happened… He was certainly God's angel :-)


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