I was about eight or nine years old at the time. Every night, between eight and nine, I would stand in the balcony of our ground floor flat overlooking a dimly lit lane across the road, waiting for that haunting voice. A Muslim beggar, blind and handicapped, sitting on a wheeled, wooden contraption pulled by a boy about my age – perhaps his grandson – would gradually appear from the far end of the lane, singing in praise of Allah, accepting alms if offered.
I never came face to face with him and never gave him any alms but at the sunset of my life, I realize that he gave me something. I don’t remember the entire verse or the song he was singing, but just one line still haunts me, pulls my heartstrings and reverberates in my ears, “Allah ka naam pyaro hai!”
I am neither a Muslim, nor a practicing Hindu in the real sense of the word, but that beggar’s voice reaching out to Allah brings tears to my eyes.
Eid Mubarak to my Muslim readers!