Our maid Shabana, has been working with us since last 6 years. As the name obviously suggests, she is a Muslim by religion. My Mom who is 80 year old and belongs to the old school of thought, was not quite happy with a Muslim maid working at our home. But within no time Shabana won everybody’s hearts and became an integral part of our family. Her enormously positive and happy disposition, with a bright smile always radiating from her face made her much loved amongst our friends and relatives. She would always lovingly cater to everybody’s needs. She would fully participate in all the Hindu festivals with equal fervor. During Ganapati clebrations, Shabana would help my wife in making prasad items and very enthusiastically participate and sing aarti.
However her personal life was in deep contrast to her disposition. Her husband was a drunkard. At times she didn’t even have money to buy the groceries. Her in-laws ill-treated her. She underwent two miscarriages. But Shabana would leave everything behind when she entered our house. She was a living example of how to be happy under any circumstances. Rather she was happiness personified.
Shabana took a break of one and half years when she was expecting again, as she was advised complete bed rest. She resumed work just two months back, when her daughter Sofia turned 6 months. Now she comes to our house with her cute little daughter. Like mother like daughter. Sofia enchanted all of us with her charm and captivating smile in no time. My 80 year old mom and 8 month Sofia play with each other happily chatting and laughing while Shabana attends to all the chores. My mom makes Sofia sit besides her when she is performing her pooja, gives her Aarti, puts kumkum on her forehead, following all the Hindu rituals. The mother and the daughter have brought a wave of happiness and positivity in our home.
Today when I jokingly said, ” Shabana your daughter will turn into a Hindu very soon!”
I was astounded by her reply, “How does it matter Bhau…?(thats what she calls me..it means brother in marathi). Even my inlaws often taunt me,’ you are turning into a Hindu’, I tell them, “sirf Allah Allah karne se koi Musalman nahi banta! Insaan toh insaan hota hai na”(meaning one does not become a Muslim just by chanting Allah’s name. One is first a human being)
What a wisdom ! That too coming from a so called uneducated person like her…Isnt it amazing..?
Our religious leaders, on the name of religion create a divide in the minds of people; who very easily get influenced by them. But each of us needs to use our intellect to decide whether we want to live within the confines of religion created by a few or choose to be a part of a greater religion called Humanity. Once we decide to choose the latter, I can assure you, we will create heaven on Earth.
God Bless Shabana and Sofia…!