During the shift on 21st February evening I started with the thought that I had no knowledge of God or religion and made this clear to the Power above in case it was there: no devotion or reference to God from now on, regardless of what happened to me on a daily basis. Accordingly, I was going to behave in a haphazard unpredictable way so that I was not conforming to any religion, prescribed or that discovered by me through my struggle to find the truth. There was to be no 'being one with the truth', and no sense of duty to anyone, not to myself, not to my wife or child or to God, and no social responsibility or patriotism to UK or India. I was simply going to live and survive healthily as far as I could and observe the rest of the events of my life and therefore my fate.
Accordingly, I simply ignored the things that went wrong during the shift, sorting out the routine problems in the manner I saw fit at the time, for example a petrol pump malfunctioning etc. The shift ended with the correct figures on the sales and cash counted by me. I was not reading anything into any incident as I was used to by reference to God.
By the morning I made love to Rashmi and it was not perfect but I read nothing into it. I took Rupa to school, driving without any particular care to the smooth running of the car as I used to but at the same time not going out of my way to drive carelessly from the point of view of looking after the engine and observing the general road conditions. I ignored the 'finding' that God is present in everything so that one should take care of everything, as stated in my email to Professor Robert Winston. I was not taking any particular care of anything.
I had yet again retitled these memoirs to 'The God Delusion: Understanding the Monster' from 'The God Delusion: A Sufferer's Experience' the previous day. A marriage invitation card had come from Rashmi's uncle addressed to me and with a figure Ganesh on the card front. I ignored it, after saying to Rashmi initially that I will send £10 to them. It was my day off work and I decided that I was after all not going to live as I was created either. A year and a half ago, I had an eyetest that Rashmi arranged for me and was prescribed bifocal lenses, but I rarely wore the glasses I got and never to work. A Visual Field test on a machine at the optician had also revealed that I had some defect which the optician referred to my doctor and I had been to the hospital for detailed examination, possibly as an indicator for on-coming glaucoma. Rashmi was fearful of this possiblity because she said my father had the condition which could cause blindness and because it was genetically inherited: she did not want to have to look after a blind husband on top of everything else she had to cope with, and I was sympathetic to her analyses. On a subsequent eyetest that she had also arranged for me after our return from India, the optician said that I needed a new pair of glasses which would cost £100. I did not wish to spend this money and Rashmi too was uncertain about spending it on the grounds that I rarely used my existing spectacles. But for whatever reason I had ended up paying the deposit for the new pair of glasses and this morning I decided that I should go and collect them. I asked Rashmi to drop me near the place and she reminded me to go in for a repeat Visual Field test with the new glasses on. I went in for the test which again revealed the same defect.
During a discussion in the car about God and our lives (she lived for the service of others: to bring some happiness to others if briefly) I reminded her that years ago when we had visited India, Prashant, my elder sister's son had said cynically to me, 'Mamu, are you a philospher?', and that this was indeed what I was. I also told Rashmi about a job advertisement I saw at the Shell Garage window during the shift last night and said that I would be applying for it. This after initially throwing away the piece of paper on which I had jotted some of the details for it. Walking home from the optician I got good exercise and checked our Bank balance and reminded myself from time to time that none of my acts now were anything to do with God in any way. I was going to do what I pleased without any consultation with God, imagined or real.
I went to Shell Wigmore and wrote down the full details and with my Line Manager asking what I was up to I informed her that I was going to give it a try. I came home and drafted the following letter: VACANCY: SERVICE ADVISOR. I am writing to apply for the position of Service Advisor that has been advertised. I was educated up to the University level and worked as a Agricultural Project Developer for 18 years at the Natural Resources Institute (later to become part of the University of Greenwich) situated at Chatham Maritime, Kent, but in 1998 was made redundant during a period of staff cut backs by the organisation. Since then I tried to get back into similar work but found that the UK Industry had shifted its emphasis away from the agricultural sector of my specialisation, and I could not get similar work again.
I decided to retrain myself in other areas to meet the new employment opportunities, and had a brief period of work on fixed term contract at a school as a Cover Supervisor (Robert Napier School in Gillingham). I also worked for an Employment Agency doing manual work and worked for 2 years at Total Britannia Service Station (217 High Street, Rainham). Although I had part-time sales experience working for a Department Store in my youth (I am 50 years of age but much younger looking!), last year I got the opportunity to work for Shell Wigmore Service Station, that is situated alongside your premises.
Six months of intensive shift work (AM or PM to suit my employers requirements) have given me a renewed interest in life in learning the skills of Customer Service that meet the demand of the Employer in terms of profit generation from increased sales. Whilst at my level I am not involved in strategic issues, I saw that there was a great responsibility on the shoulders of the person at the frontline of Customer Service to meeting the challenges of the Business, and I have adapted myself to meeting these needs in all manner of ways and activities. These include:
(a) grasping the Inventory and looking after stock so that it leads to sound and smart discussions with customers and customer satisfaction;
(b) listening to customer queries carefully to determine what satisfies them and bringing their likes and dislikes to the attention of the Manager so that considered action is then taken promptly;
(c) mastering the computerised Till System in operation for various forms of Cash and Card payments and ensuring that Management can keep its records in order;
(d) dealing with routine equipment maintenance so that problems are ironed out quickly in order that total sales does not suffer;
(e) working speedily and accurately at the Till while serving customers;
(f) maintaining the goodwill of customers with politeness as well as a helpful attitude especially when they need something out of the ordinary;
I have not missed a single shift or ever been late to work. In my present job I need to wear a Company T-shirt, but I believe in smart appearance (tie and ironed shirt and trousers, and proper shoes) not just as a matter of personal habit but also so that I appear smart to other people. Although my experience in sales is limited I have enjoyed my work and am enthusiastic about it from the time of arrival at work and even outside normal working hours.
I am organised by nature, take careful notes of details of the work I conduct, and do not have problems in prioritising my work to meet the needs of the Business. I do not have knowledge of Kerridge Autoline, but I have used computers extensively with numerous software packages and will work hard to master the operation of this system to reach the required standard of work quickly.
I have learnt that in Customer Service the idea is to behave and do that which is necessary to bring customers back into our shop time after time and actually buying goods. This requires constant focus on ones job during a shift, with motivation and commitment to the Business. I will bring these characteristics as well as my general knowledge from previous job experiences to the Service Advisor position at Sherlodge Skoda if I am successful with my application.
For my Employment References, I wish you to contact
(1) Total Britannia Service Station, 217 High Street, Rainham, Gillingham, Kent, ME8 8AY, Tel. No 01634 269892; and
(2) Iain 'Flash' Gordon Enterprises Ltd, Shell Wigmore Service Station, 26 Hoath Lane, Wigmore, Kent ME8 OSW, Tel No. 01634 269880.
I put on a good coat and shoes and walked over to Sherlodge Garage, handing it to a member of staff to pass on to the General Manager. After my mid-day meal, prepared with the usual care by Rashmi, I decided to start this new chapter of a fresh start in my life in order to maintain my memoirs truthfully and updated it first before considering what to do with the rest of my day. My mind felt clear and worry-free.
By late afternoon as I filled in the Kent Police Application Form and prepared Rupa her food, I changed the Title of these memoirs again to: The God Delusion: Understanding the Monster', to reflect the belief that there was an anti-God equally powerful whom I might have referred to as Dog during my earlier communications with the Universal Being, and that this had led to my abandoning the Personal God and a religious basis for the rest of my life, for the Personal God is not more powerful than the anti-God. There was no point to devotion to God for there was no chance of anything positive to emerge from such an association for the living being.
As I was pondering over the last statement the thought of Brahmaloka flickered in the mind. It was around 5.45 pm and Rashmi came home so I quickly left the memoirs document and resumed work on Application Form document for the Kent Police job, because I did not wish Rashmi to catch me working the memoirs. Still she entered the study room and started having a go at me thinking I was working on stupid things on the computer like the memoirs. It went on and on, and at first I responded saying that I will do things as I please in my own time, meaning that the Kent Police Application will go when I feel ready. I protested for her to keep quiet for I did not wish to hear as I could not concentrate on what was coming to my mind for both the memoirs or the Application. But she went on and on, saying she will call the Police, meaning to take me back to the mental hospital to which I gently said to her, 'That is evil! It is happening again like the last time. I need to get away from you.' I put my jacket and shoes on and went out for a walk. After returning I lay on the bed in elective mutism watching TV in numbness. The TV programmes, dramas and news discussions all felt meaningless. At dinner I gobbled down the very good food that Rashmi had again prepared and returned to bed unsure of anything. What a day of fresh start I had made.
During the nights sleep Rashmi came closer to me but I did not respond in any way. And then the old sensation of the mind being sucked into a dark hole from which I had to wake up to survive surfaced during a dream. The last I experienced this was in my early twenties. It dawned on me that God-Divine had come to wake me up. I did pranam, and went back to good sleep.
By the next morning the mind was refocussing on the Divine as I drove Rupa to school. I was determined to live productively and felt that the Divine was reinforcing my understanding in some way, and that I must rejoin the fight for survival based on devotion to God. I telephoned the optician for the result of my field visual test, and came to work on the Application Form for Kent Police, while Rashmi was still in the house. Strangely, it had disappeared from the computer! I immediately asked Rashmi if she knew what had happened and she said, 'No. Don't blame me, for your games, etc. I cannot take it anymore.' The silence had been broken. I read into the disappearance of the document that I was not to send the Application Form, but only the letter suitably modified at this stage. I worked on it with God in mind. The final draft was: KENT POLICE COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICERS AND OTHER VACANCIES. 1. I am applying for the vacancies for Police Community Support Officers, but wish to point out to you my earlier application for the position of Public Enquiry Officer at Rochester Police Station so that it may be given due consideration before my suitability in terms of qualifications and experience for the present post is judged.
Your records concerning my earlier application are held by the Personnel Department at Rochester Police Station (Cazeneuve Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1XT, Tel: 01634 884249) and at the Police Headquarters (Sutton Road, Maidstone, Kent ME15 9BZ. Tel 01622 636174). These will show that I had successfully passed the interview stage of the Police Enquiry Officer post and was offered the position pending your security and medical checks on applicants. I was disappointed that I was considered unsuitable for that post for a medical reason which was based on a lengthy, irrelevant and ignorant report by the Consultant Psychiatrist who had examined my case file at the time. This doctor was subsequently replaced and a new Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr P Shobha, has assessed me a few times since, and her decision has been to discharge me from requiring any form of medical care. You have my permission to approach Dr Sudhir Patel, my General Practitioner, at Wigmore Medical Centre, 114 Woodside Road, Wigmore, Kent for confirmation of this outcome.
Please also note that I have now been working full-time (with overtime when this is available) for 6 months in a quite demanding Customer Service job at Shell Wigmore Service Station (at 26 Hoath Lane, Wigmore, Gillingham, Kent ME8 0SW, Tel. 01634 269880) but at the same time feel that my talents, knowledge and experience, motivation and commitment should be brought to better use in a demanding role and a better paid job. Having faith in the system in operation, I have therefore decided to apply again to Kent Police for a Police Community Support Officers posting (and for other suitable vacancies that exist now or may appear in the future) based on the information that I have previously provided to you and the present update.
Please advise me whether my application for a career with Kent Police will be medically cleared now and if so, what I need to do to progress this matter further.
I placed a Union Jack first class stamp on the envelope, as if to indicate that the fight to save my reputation was back on. That was the end of the attempt to stay off God, and I was relieved that I had not taken off my janeo and the necklace with the murti of Ganesh during the day of abstinence. But I was not going to go back to the clock check mode, which had been too tough a time and had landed me in the mental asylum: He will have to find other means of guiding me.