You are a self-confessed atheist, I know. At first, it was a cool thing to be. I'm an atheist, you told a baffled aunt when she offered you prasadam from Tirupati. You laughed as she shook her head in weak disapproval. Them and their stupid belief in God. You wouldn't even write it that way. With a capital 'g'. Them and their stupid belief in god. You spent hours gathering evidence to support your claim. You surrounded yourselves with fellow atheists. And found a new faith in collective conviction.
Until one day, in a crowded market when, without your realising how, she slips out of your grasp. You look down and she's gone. Just like that, melted away. Your eyes dart furtively, scanning the milling crowds for that familiar shape who has come to dominate your life the past three years. With every passing second, your mind grows crowded with stories of kidnapped and tortured children. Of kids who were sold to Arab sheikhs for camel racing. Of those who were mutilated and forced to beg, to prostitute. And just then, you remember the powers you had long disregarded. Please bring her back to me, you plead in desperation. Please. Those frantic moments come to an abrupt end when a small, damp hand clasps your fingers. You collapse with relief. You tell yourself it was just a delusion. Yes, a brief delusion in a moment of dire need. Nothing more.