Wednesday, February 15, 2017


The building, where my office and classes are located, is almost forty-year old. So, efforts are on for its redevelopment. Series of meetings, heated discussions, trust and distrust, allegations and counter allegations… and, above all, the endless human greed – yes, all these make the redevelopment proposal a frustrating experience… Even though the present market conditions are volatile, and even though the condition of our old buildings is pathetic – and yes, even though many of our residents are senior citizens and are no more in a position to wait for years and years for their new-house ‘dream’ to come true – when it comes to trust and greed, it is the greed that seems to overrule trust.

Why not more?

Yesterday, one of the prominent property developers had invited us for a site-visit. The sites were around Thane’s Ghodbunder road. One of the sites bore an exotic name. The sales executive literally ‘air-lifted’ us to the 26th floor to show the sample flats… From the height of 26th floor, one side provided the breath-taking view of the mountains… and the other side provided the serene view of green expanse with water bodies and winding roads at far away distance… The members, obviously, were excited… I could hear their discussion… I could feel their excitement… It really seemed they could touch the sky standing on top of the world!

I stood near the window in one of the rooms gazing at the serene green-expanse… Yes, I was in touch with what was going on in my own mind… the roller-coaster of human ambition and greed… the swing of trust and distrust… the illusion of happiness ‘when we will reach there’ – our ‘Promised Land’… the desire to secure my future… Yes, I was no different from any other person there… I was watching the drama within my own soul… immersed in distant thoughts…

“What are watching from the window?” a friend gently put his hand around my shoulders, “Stunning view, isn’t it?”

“It is,” I smiled, “But, I am yet to overcome Satan’s temptations.”

“What Satan?” my friend asked unaware of the Satan’s attempt to tempt Jesus on the mountain. So, I recounted the story…

Time had come for Jesus, at the age of 30, to renounce his worldly attachments and do His Father’s will. So, He went to the mountains to fast and pray. After fasting and praying for forty days and forty nights, He had become physically weak… He was hungry and He was vulnerable too… At that time, Satan appeared and tempted Jesus…

“If you are the Son of God,” challenged Satan, “tell these stones to become bread.”

 “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone,” Jesus answered, “but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

 Again, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 “Away from me, Satan!” Jesus thundered, “For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”

With that, the devil had disappeared!

 “You see, I am no Jesus Christ,” I said to my friend looking towards the ‘stunning’ world down below, “I am yet to overcome my temptations.”

Pic.: Chetna Shetty

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