Angels Among Us
There are angels all around us, there’s no doubt about it. Maybe they sometimes masquerade as humans, or maybe they whisper in the ears of real humans who unknowingly act as their messengers, or both, I don’t know. However they operate, they are definitely here. How can I be so sure?, you might wonder. Because I've caught them at work on many an occasion. Like this time, for example...
The morning of November 5, 2017, I was at a train station in Ernakalum, India – Kerala’s busiest rail station – pulling a small mountain of luggage behind me. I was looking for three pieces of vital information: at which track will my train arrive, what time will it arrive (because scheduled time of arrival and actual arrival sometimes have little correlation) and where, in the chain of 25+ cars, will my coach be (because if I'm waiting at the wrong end of the track, that's a very long sprint with all this luggage to get to the right car, an experience I prefer to avoid.)
An electronic screen overhead showed train arrival times and tracks but mysteriously, my train wasn’t listed. It was currently just past its scheduled arrival time of 9:30am, so if it arrived anytime soon on the opposite track, I wouldn’t make it.
There were no uniformed station personnel in sight to ask, and long lines of people at every ticket window. I was roaming the long station looking for answers when a smiling Indian man walked up to me.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“Calicut,” I replied.
“Train number?” he asked.
“12076,” I answered.
“That’s track one,” he informed me, still smiling. (Great news! That’s the platform I was on – no sprinting and frantic stair climbing required.)
“Car number?” he asked.
“C3,” I answered.
He held up four fingers. “That’s four cars from the engine – waaaay down” and pointed toward the north end of the track.
“Thank you so much!” We parted with smiles and I continued toward the end of the track with a lighter step as the ever-skeptical part of my brain which always looks for logical, non-divine explanations for this kind of circumstance tried to guess what were the statistical probabilities of a total stranger walking up to me out of the blue and giving me every piece of information that I needed to know without me asking for it right at that moment. I’m sure I probably had a lost expression on my face and he didn't need psychic powers to guess: bewildered white girl at a train station, she needs to know which track her train is on and where her car is, I’ll give you that. And maybe he would know what track my train was on if he happened to be waiting for the same train – although the way he unhurriedly walked away, I didn’t get the impression he was. And if he was taking the same train, why would he know exactly where car C3 was when his seat wasn't anywhere near it, since he was heading the opposite direction? (The coach numbers are in a different order on every train, so you can’t just figure it out from the letter and number, because that would be way too easy.) Was he a guy who wanders around train stations for fun memorizing train and track numbers and full coach charts and then searching for people who need this information? Was he an undercover rail station employee in plain clothes with a photographic memory? Or some sort of male Mother Theresa of the transportation industry who devotes his days to preventing travelers from missing their trains? As far as I can see, the only reasonable explanation is that divine forces were involved. At one point in my life I might have either been flabbergasted by this or dismissed it as a strange, mysterious coincidence, but this kind of thing has been happening in my life on such a regular basis lately that I’ve finally accepted that this is just how the Universe works. If this sort of thing doesn’t happen to you on a regular basis, you should give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself on being a responsible self-sufficent human who does not require divine intervention to help you get through life. Knowing myself pretty well, I’m pretty sure the reason I constantly catch angels looking after me is that they’ve realized if I were left to my own devices, total chaos and disaster would ensue. So apparently they've dispatched a special team to look after me full time, which really was very thoughtful of them.
Back to the train station. A minute after this conversation transpired between me and the angelic messenger, a voice over the loudspeaker announced, first in Malayalam and then in English, that train 12076 would be arriving shortly at Track One.
I stationed myself at my best guess of what would be four cars from the engine, with the expectation that since angelic forces were watching over me, car C3 would roll to a stop directly in front of me. And that is exactly what happened.
It felt as if the Universe had just rolled out a plush red carpet just for me. I stepped onto that train full of delight, sending a river of gratitude to the mysterious unseen forces of the universe and my angel messenger for making the process so effortless, and for making me feel especially watched over while they were at it.
Feather photo by Isaque Pereira