In this article, I wish to share an incident that I have narrated to countless others throughout my life but always with undying passion. Such is the significance it holds in my life. For the events of that specific night have been narrated through generations in my family. 

This incident took place in the Eastern Ghats of India, in my hometown, a place that has continued to amaze me over the years. The person who experienced it is no more and I haven't had the opportunity to see him in person. But what happened to him that day is so rare an occurrence that it has filled all its listeners with marvel. 

Muthaiya was an exceptional hunter. Those who accompanied him say he concentrated on where the sound of his target was coming from and then took a random shot. He didn't need to take an aim. He could go from one district to another through the dense forest lines with finesse. One could say no one knew their way about those forests better than Muthaiya. 

Folklore has it that the weaponry of the Pandian Rulers is buried deep within the forests of the Eastern Ghats. They had an alarm system with huge bells clinging on tress at specific distances with a trigger system such that when one bell was set off far away, the weaponry could be alerted immediately. It is said that over the years the trees have grown over these bells but they sparkle every now and then, even through the greenery. This weaponry is fabled to hold invaluable treasure. 

All these stories encouraged Muthaiya to put his skills to the test and with some luck build a fortune for himself. He bravely set out in the dark of the night with all his courage. After hours of searching through the unforgiving terrain Muthaiya was tired. He had probably wandered of into unknown territory. But still, Muthaiya knew his way about. It was time for him to head home. Suddenly, he saw a Rishi standing nearby. Muthaiya was taken by surprise. That Rishi or whoever he was, seemed all the more terrifying in the pitch black night. The Rishi asked Muthaiya to guide him to a cave further above. Lucky for Muthaiya, he knew the cave the Rishi was asking for. He was pleased to have got some company. During the journey Muthaiya injured himself. The Rishi plucked some random leaves and crushed them. He handed them over to Muthaiya and asked him to treat his wound with them before continuing their walk. In some time the Rishi said that he could continue the rest of the journey by himself. However, before bidding farewell and asking Muthaiya to be on his way, the Rishi pointed to a stream, one Muthaiya hadn't seen before and asked him to quench his thirst. While doing so he noticed a bedazzling array of stones scattered throughout the bottom of the stream. The Rishi handed over some of them to Muthaiya or at least suggested Muthaiya to take some in return for his services . 

Muthaiya returned home, complaining about how frugal that rishi was to have offered petty stones in return for his help. However, he couldn't help but wonder if there was some reason behind the Rishi's gesture. He handed them over to a goldsmith to see if they were worth anything before heading home for the night. 

The next day held many surprises in store for Muthaiya. He woke up to find out that a very substantial injury that was bound to leave a mark had vanished without a trace, thanks to the leaves the Rishi provided. The sudden epiphany that the stones might be valuable too, struck him. He raced over to the goldsmith's to find out he had vacated the town the very night he came in possession of the stones in a hurry. Till his death, the route to the cave, the stream with stones and the leaves the Rishi used to treat him continued to elude the memory of poor Muthaiya. With all his angst and fury, Muthaiya searched for the goldsmith desperately. He succeeded too. The goldsmith was then living a very enviable life. To Muthaiya's misery the goldsmith denied that the stones, which were mere trifles in his opinion, had anything to do with his sudden disappearance or exclusive life style. Muthaiya spent a considerable amount of time regretting how he had misjudged the value of the Rishi's help. 

Over the years, I have received a variety of responses to this narration. Much to my wrath, some have even claimed that Muthaiya must have hallucinated most of the happenings. However, I stay clear in my understanding. I don't wish to tie the Rishi to one particular religion. He is in my view a spiritual being of extraordinary knowledge in nature and the world we live in. I like to think of him as a person who has cracked out the truths of the universe and chosen to live the rest of his days in solitude and the incident itself as an indication of how little we know.

News about the countless sufferings the people of Kabul are going through are headlining papers and TV channels. When one seeks to understand the root cause of this and every other outrage that has made heads turn throughout history, one thing becomes evident. It is when a person in power or a community with severe belief in its ideologies wishes to force it upon everyone and remove the elements that wish to disagree that infamous occurrences of this sort take place. Miracles like the one Muthaiya experienced help us in accepting that the beliefs of every individual have an equal chance of being true .This ideology is the prerequisite to a society wherein the faith of every individual will be respected and valued.

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