Everything was dark. A thick peaceful silence. I was in pain. The air was chemical. And I was in chains. I opened my eyes, but I was blinded by the sudden rush of bright light into my retinas. I closed them and opened again. This time slowly, adjusting to the light both welcome and disturbing at the same time. Everything I saw was white, pure white, like milk. I tried to sit up but I couldn’t move. I was in chains.
My dazed vision could only see a blurry image. It was just plain white. I tried to gather my thoughts, my brain working with an unpleased half approval. “Where am I?” I was lying on something soft, fluffy and white. Like a cloud? I was drowned in it. “What is this? The Milky Way? Or am I in heaven”, I wondered. In the pure, serene and plain heaven, sitting on a cloud. It couldn’t be. There is no heaven. Even if there was one I certainly wouldn’t be there. A fog started filling up the place. A thick white fog, getting thicker and heavier and then suddenly everything was dark again.
After an unknown time period, I opened my eyes again. My vision was still blurry and I was still in pain and chains. I saw something moving, a silhouette of a person. I tried to focus. A lady was standing there dressed in white. On her face was a concerned, tired and excited smile. Over her head I saw a white ring, a halo. She was beautiful. I saw her lips moving but there was no sound. Something was moving on both sides of her ribs, like flapping wings. “Is she an angel? Is this heaven after all ? What heaven? No heaven. No angels. They are all fairytales and make believes”. I look at her again, to make some sense out of this mystery but she was not there, shewais gone. Vanished.
An eternity of time passed and my foggy eyes saw people walking. They were coming towards me, lead by a tall, fair and well built man, followed by the angel I met before and another lady, all dressed in white. I looked at that man with a face yelling authority and confidence, radiating assurance and kindness. A black and shiny snake was curled around his neck, like on a demon god. He moved towards me while I struggled to cast a defence against those strange looking strangers. He lifted the twin bodied snake from his neck. With his one hand he cleared the cloudy cover over me and placed the snakes open mouth on my bare chest. Even though it had been years since I had taken the path of rationality, ditching the gods and myths of my upbringing, I started praying again. For the first time in years my belief in disbelief was shaken. I closed my eyes and braced for the painful encounter with the fangs while I mumbled names of Hindu gods.
But it didn’t bite. The sudden fear cleared my head. The adrenaline, pumped as a survival mechanism, cleared my dazed vision and focused my thoughts. I looked again desperate for an explanation to all the madness. “Wait. That is not a snake, I have seen it before”. Then it all came to me, like the realisation after a dream, that it’s just a dream, sometimes saddening, sometimes relieving, and every time kicking in the sense of reality. The bloody snake was a stethoscope. He was a doctor not a crazy demon god accompanied with snakes. Heaven was a damn white and tidy hospital room and my cloud was a fucking sick bed.
“How are you feeling now?” The demon god doctor guy asked me. I parted my lips to answer but nothing came to my head, so I just smiled. The doctor turned to the angels and mumbled something I couldn’t decipher. He turned to me and said, “You are fine” like he was answering his own question on behalf of me. He pointed to the bandages and said something about fractures. Bandages and fractures, which explained the chains. He turned to the angel and again mumbled something and walked off the heaven. The nurse walked towards me and without any courtesy one might expect in heaven, forced a thermometer into my mouth, without even asking me and started preparing the BP apparatus. I started my thought factory, which was working on overload in no time.
I was taken aback by my own reaction to a crisis. I was unpleasantly surprised with myself for taking immediate refuge in the easy path of faith, albeit helped by my physical and mental conditions. I finally realised why, even when Reason stares at their face, Logic tells them otherwise and Evidence points in a different direction, people still hold on to their faith, instilled in their child hood assisted with fear and magic. It’s easier to do that. It’s much more comforting to just believe in some unknown power than to leave our life to time and fate, to chance. It feels better to believe, even if it’s without conviction, that some god will take care of everything. It does not take effort to disbelieve. That everyone can do by default. But it takes effort to discontinue believing in something. The path of a sceptic is not an easy one. Conflicts of interests and childhood indoctrination can prove to be too much of a blockade. But if anything, I realised that reason and science has a big fight in hand. My doubt was stronger, my disbelief deeper. I found out my enemy’s secret weapon. Fear of the unknown. I will be better prepared.
My thought train was broken by the nurse who retrieved the thermometer from my mouth and stared at it for a few seconds. Satisfied with whatever she saw, she smiled a half smile and walked away, promising me that she will be back later. “Excuse me!” I stopped her on an impulse. Not knowing what to do next, I asked her rather sheepishly, “what is your name?” She smiled and replied, “Angel.” I looked at her in amazement. She seemed to be offended by my stare and quickly turned around with her over coat flapping about like wings. The nurse cap of a halo was still on her head.
There goes Angel. Walking, not flying.