Bathing Bal Gopal After Fajr Namaz

About Hanadi Falki

Hanadi Falki is an Indian storyteller born and brought up in Saudi Arabia. Bitten by the travel bug early on in life, she has had the opportunity to live and observe life in various countries including the USA, New Zealand, and India, and explore a part of the Gulf region, Europe and Singapore. Her experiences are reflected in her writing and make it relatable globally.

Along with her career in the field of writing as Editor, Digital Content Specialist and then a Communications Director, she has worked with various organizations trying to combat extreme poverty and polio, raise awareness on various social issues and bridge a gap between people of different faiths and income groups. Her debut novel, ‘The Price of Our Silence’ was well received and now she is trying to raise awareness on social issues through a collection of short stories, ‘Women Around Us’. She has also contributed a short story in India's first Urban Horror Anthlogy, 'City Of Screams', which is an Amazon certified bestseller.

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I find myself more religious whenever I am by myself, away from my family and out of my country. I tend to be more conscious of following certain rituals, offering namaaz on time, dressing more modestly and conducting myself in a manner that will make my parents proud. All of a sudden, I become that ‘Tall Indian Muslim girl’ wherever I go. (I can’t help the tall part though.) And that’s why I try my best to be a good representative of my religion and my country too.

So you can imagine the slight awkwardness when I stood in front of the Hindu couple who rented me their room in New Zealand when I went to study abroad. Since there wasn’t enough space in my room, I was seeking permission to offer my namaaz in the common hall of their apartment where they had a beautiful mandir. To my relief, they had no objections and I settled in comfortably in their apartment. Believe me, there were times when, due to their job and my classes, we would all be praying together in the same hall before we headed out. It was such a peaceful feeling that is still fresh in my mind.

I loved to observe how they prayed together daily. They considered the baby Krishna as their child and I was fascinated when I saw that they treated the idol like one. They performed the rituals of waking up the baby Krishna, bathing it with milk, then dressing it up before lighting the dia and incense in front of it. It was then followed by the aarti. Similarly, at the end of the day, the baby Krishna was put to sleep by changing clothes, tucking it in a tiny blanket and turning off the lights. When the couple went away on holidays, they requested my Hindu roommate to carry on the ritual in their absence. I was constantly amazed by their devotion towards baby Krishna.

Once they were going away on a trip and were disturbed because my roommate was unavailable that weekend. They were surprised when I offered to conduct the rituals for them.
“But isn’t that against your Islamic views?”
“Islam teaches me to do the best I can for everyone around me. Of course, I consider Allah as my only God, and won’t be able to perform the aarti, but I know God will be pleased if I took care of your son, baby Krishna, for you.”

And believe me, there was such a divine feeling in my heart when I offered namaaz next morning and then went to sit by the mandir and got the Baby Krishna ready for the day. At night, after Isha prayers, I covered the idol in the tiny blanket, turned off the lights and slept with a peaceful smile on my face.

I had lived with the couple just for a few months during which we celebrated Rakhabandhan, Eid and our birthdays together. They guided me at every step, encouraged me to try new things and eased my move to the new city. They made sure I felt loved in that distant land away from my family. To this day we keep in touch and I know I have a home away from home in New Zealand whenever I visit next.


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19 Response Comments

  • Bishakha Moitra05/02/2019 at 9:05 AM

    What a lovely story. It evokes sentiments of a different kind. The way it has been narrated is so simple yet so intriguing. Loved it to the core.

  • Swetha Amit05/02/2019 at 9:36 AM

    A brilliant story which sends out a beautiful message of acceptance and coexistence of 2 different faiths. It’s much in need of the hour. We need more stories like this to promote communal harmony and peace.

    • Hanadi Falki05/02/2019 at 4:54 PM

      Thanks Swetha. Totally agree with you about the need to promote harmony, especially now.

  • Nidhi Jangid05/02/2019 at 10:24 AM

    What a great message the writer gives here! The true meaning of religion! Everyone needs to understand and embrace it! Then the world will be beautiful and peaceful place to live in! I really admire the writer’s narration skills and thoughts!
    Loved reading it!

    • Hanadi Falki05/02/2019 at 4:52 PM

      Thanks, Nidhi. When I look around, I find myself surrounded by people who love to live a simple, peaceful life. The ones trying to rip us apart are a handful and we shouldn’t fall into their trap. Live and let live.

  • Shibaji Bose05/02/2019 at 11:58 AM

    Simple narrative as an anecdote that transcends the present day chaos.
    I found it very honest and calming.
    God bless you.

    • Hanadi Falki05/02/2019 at 4:47 PM

      Thank you Shibaji for you blessings 😀 I am glad you like the story.

  • Aparna Mondal05/02/2019 at 11:38 PM

    Beautiful story Hanadi ! . It’s so nice and beautiful to read . It absolutely soothed the soul . It’s so lovely and satisfying in respecting each other’s religion and coexisting like the way you have described .
    Lovely !.! Beautifully penned with soul touching expressions . 👌👌👌

    • Hanadi Falki19/02/2019 at 6:33 PM

      I am smiling after reading your comment. Thank you dear for your kind words.

  • Preesha Reddy11/02/2019 at 9:09 PM

    While reading this it felt like all the loose strings inside my brain have been tightened and the train of thoughts started working again. It’s beautiful and thought provoking.

    • Hanadi Falki19/02/2019 at 6:35 PM

      Thanks Preesha 🙂 The way you describe how you felt is so vivid that I ended up imagining the whole thing… Thanks a lot for your encouraging words 🙂

  • NANDANA DASGUPTA15/02/2019 at 10:41 PM

    This is such a beautiful experience you had! Truth that whatever religion one follows, every religion preaches about spreading love & care for people! May be we all worship God in different forms, but the passion with which we do so is same through out. Thanks for creating such a serene effect among your readers. Keep it up.

    • Hanadi Falki19/02/2019 at 6:43 PM

      I agree with you completely, Nandana. I believe that religion is such a personal aspect of our life that no one should have the right to interfere in the way we worship our God. Let everyone do as they please without adversely affecting anyone else. Let us all be positive representatives of our religions and help to maintain peace and harmony in the world.

      Thank you for your encouraging comment.

  • NANDANA DASGUPTA15/02/2019 at 10:41 PM

    This is such a beautiful experience you had! True that whatever religion one follows, every religion preaches about spreading love & care for people! May be we all worship God in different forms, but the passion with which we do so is same through out. Thanks for creating such a serene effect among your readers. Keep it up.

  • Chetna19/02/2019 at 7:58 PM

    I think I knew this part of your life. When you were in the Auckland city at your house owner place. How they asked you. How determined you were doing hindu ritual. I imagined each and every bit of this story when you were telling us about your the wonderful experience which you had there. That’s makes you successful Hanadi. Doing right thing without thinking to much. You inspired me anyway.

    • Hanadi Falki04/09/2019 at 3:56 PM

      Thanks Chetna. Yes, I do remember sharing this incident with you years ago 🙂 I am glad you feel inspired…

  • Divyanshi05/04/2019 at 10:48 AM

    A beautiful masterpiece. Very well brought in the idea of respect for all religions. No matter who you pray or worship its always the passion and devotion that matters . What a lovely soothing story.

    • Hanadi Falki04/09/2019 at 3:59 PM

      Thanks Divyanshi. It’s nice to see that every one of us can connect with the feeling of oneness that transcends the religious differences. I agree with you that devotion is more important than the name we give to God. No matter who you pray to, if you truly believe in His existence, you will be blessed with more strength to face whatever it is that you were praying for.

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