'What is your name?' I asked. He said, 'Faruq. Please save my number and call me whenever you want Auto-rickshaw. I will pick you from the same place'. He was a lean young man and he told he hails from Etawah. He drove about a KM towards highway and there was a huge traffic jam. We stuck there just at left turn.
Suddenly three saffron clad young macho sadhu, sporting trade mark beard, appeared and moved aggressively opposite to traffic. They all have a strange idol immersed in vermillion. The idol looked like that of a komodo dragon. One of the sadhu came to me and started asking for 10 rupees. The other caught hand of Faruq and quickly pasted handful of vermillion on his head. He got terrified but couldn't move his rickshaw as the third one was standing just in front of the wheels. I said, 'Chalo aage badho.' The first one started shouting, 'Jai Shiv Shankar, You are asking Naga sadhu to move. You are denying Naga sadhus. Look at me.' He confidently uncovered his modesty. I got perplexed and thought to give him a 10 rupee note to get rid of the drama though I knew they didn't match to the definition of Sadhu that I consider true.
The movement I took my wallet out he held my hand and started coercing me to take all the money out and put it back after touching with his idol that was not of lord Shiva for sure. This time I got pissed off, freed my hand and shouted, 'I am giving you 10 rupees what else?'
He said, 'Are you angry my son? I am assuring some of your big work will be done. Swear on Lord Shiva, do offer Rs. 500 prasad to Him.' I didn’t reply, gave 10 rupee note to him and asked Faruq to move. All the three sadhus, well covered earlier but Nagas to play bad man negotiation tactics, moved quickly for hunting the next prey.
Faruq told me that once the similar conditional Nagas caught hold of him in a traffic jam and extorted 600 rupees. I was speechless at this demonstration of Shiv bhakt conditional Nagas.
- Amit Roop