It was a Friday afternoon, the time was quarter to two and Eddie as usual, after downing two pegs of whiskey and gulping down two Tanghri Kebabs was lying down on the bed. Ah nice breeze! What more can a man ask for on an afternoon, that too in the coastal calm town of Kundapur? Just as he was about to close his eyes, a deep pain shot up his spine right up to the heart. The time was now half past two.
"Acidity. Should go for a walk from Monday". Thus thinking he neglected the pain and concentrated hard on the sleep which was eluding him today.
Again the same pain came back, this time more intense.
"Oh My God. This gastric problem! Should stop eating chicken in the afternoon". Again he neglected and went back to sleep. As the clock struck three, Eddie was on his way to meet St Peter, without a chance to suffer the pain again. Look what ignorance can do.
St Peter in all his glory was ready to meet Eddie. Eddie was awestruck looking at St Peter. With keys hanging all over his body, he looked more like a jailor, than a man who had the keys to heaven. Nevertheless, he held a responsible position in God?s cabinet.
"Hi Eddie, How are you?" St Peter was in his usual best.
"I am fine, Sir. Just died a couple of minutes ago. But I am really surprised to know the swiftness in which I was brought to heaven". Eddie too was in his element, perhaps the two pegs had not gone down the drain completely.
"Ah that. You see the roads here are better than your UK Highway"
"UK" Eddie was confused.
"Udupi Kundapur Highway son. I too have a sense of humor" St Peter said laughing.
"Ha-ha. That is usual back home. Every rainy season, the roads get damaged and create a golden opportunity to our garage owners, contractors and politicians" said a sad Eddie. After discussing a little more on roads, St Peter turned to some serious business.
"Eddie, I have some bad news for you son" St Peter looked at Eddie.
Eddie who was already on cloud no 9, by the talk with St Peter, got a sudden shock. But rejuvenating quickly he said "Tell me Sir, No Problem".
"Look Eddie, You have come to heaven, but I cannot permit you inside right away"
"Why?" The words slipped out of Eddie?s mouth a bit too fast.
"Look it?s confidential and I am not supposed to tell you anything. There is a waiting room over there. Hopefully by Sunday, I will admit you in, if nothing more happens back on earth".
"What? What connection have I got with the events happening on earth, that too after my death?" Eddie challenged St Peter, not knowing what kind of temper the saint had. After all, once upon a time he had chopped off Mark?s ears.
St Peter was unusually calm. He regretted to have spoken the last sentence. He realized that now, he had to tell Eddie what exactly was happening inside.
"Ok. Now that I have said this much, I?ll tell you everything. Look, a conference is going on inside headed by Jesus Christ, Allah and Ishwara. Many great souls are attending. Gandhi, Luther, Lincoln, Jinnah have all come. They are discussing about the recent attacks on Christians in India. Even Allah and Ishwara have closed down their respective gates to heaven".
"Respective! What does that mean?" Poor Eddie was totally confused. The Thangri Kebab and whiskey had now evaporated.
St Peter replied." Look Eddie, Heaven and Hell are all same for everyone. Only the gates through which they enter are different. You are entering through this gate, just because you are a Christian. If you were a Hindu or a Muslim, you would have entered from the other gate"
Eddie had not got such a huge kick ever in his life. "You mean to say, inside these gates all are together – Christian, Muslim, and Hindu? Then why are people thirsty for each others blood down there? I too spent many nights protecting our church."
"Fools. All fools. You think you are protecting God; in fact he is the one protecting you. Because of some evil influences, they built up their own group and did a little harm to you. But now everything is resolved right".
"What Sir, they have done so much harm to us and you are telling only a little trouble. They are accusing us of conversion" shot back Eddie.
St Peter was furious now. "Are you sure there were no conversions?"
"There are, but not done by Roman Catholics. Some group called New Life is doing this" clarified Eddie.
"Look son. Jesus Christ founded only one religion and now you guys have created so many groups. We must unite first and then only we can fight these fundamentalist groups, be it Hindu, Muslim or Christian. These are tests for ones faith. People might break a few churches, temples and mosques, but can they really shake one?s faith? NO. They cannot. Look there is nothing called Hindu Terrorist group or Islamic militants and all that. There are only two forces called divine force and evil force. That?s exactly what people inside are discussing. They are going to send their report to the high command by Sunday"
"High Command!" Eddie was getting even more confused.
"There is someone called GOOD my son, just one O more than what GOD has. Only when one does good deeds, he is permitted to enter heaven" replied St Peter.
"Whatever you say St Peter, I am going to find the one who pelted stones on our church and give him a thrashing" Eddie was red.
"What? You don?t have any right to stay here any longer if you do that." Thus saying St Peter kicked Eddie from heaven?s gates with such force that Eddie lost his Lungi, before falling.
Eddie fell down from heaven and when he got up, Cecilia, Eddie?s wife was ready with a broom in hand "How many times have I told you to tie your lungi properly while sleeping huh".
Author: Anil DSouza- Halealve- Kundapur