That miraculous evening with johnny bhai
Ali Peter John
We were sitting at his large apartment at Oxford Towers and exchanging memories of our drinking bouts and the boisterous evenings we had spent together. We had both stopped drinking now, and we were looking at ways of having a fruitful evening. I don’t know how or why I asked him if he would come with me to the Holy Spirit Hospital. He immediately agreed.
We got into his huge car, whose name was “Duster”, a car name I was hearing for the first time. We continued talking as the driver kept driving, and arrived at the gate of the hospital. As people saw him, they started running excitedly after his car, shouting, “Johnny Bhai, Johnny Bhai”.
I had informed the Superior about our visit, and there were at least 6 nuns waiting for him with bright smiles on their faces. They greeted him with a huge garland, which he returned. The Superior asked him if he would like to go around the hospital He agreed, and walked through every ward, with the nuns and other hospital staff following him. When he finally came back, the Superior requested him to have tea with them in their parlour.
He was still drinking his tea when he suddenly stood up, raised his hands and said, ” I donate 10 lakh rupees to the hospital.” I looked at him, wondering if he was up to one of his witty tricks. And the nuns looked at one another with all kinds of meaning in their eyes.
The meeting got over and we were driving back home. He told me he did not have a rupee on him, and that he had made the announcement because he had got an “order” from above. He also told me he was not sure from where the money would come.
I forgot all about that evening, and so did the nuns. A week later, Johnny called me and asked why I had not got in touch with him to ask for the money. He called me over for idli-sambhar at his house. When I got there, I saw a cheque lying on the table. It was for 10 lakh rupees, and was for the setting up of a cancer ward in the Holy Spirit Hospital. I was a bundle of surprise and even a little bit of shock.
How could this man, who once lived at Dharavi and performed on the streets, do something like this? I asked him, and once again he raised his hands up. When I took the cheque to the nuns, they too reacted in the same way I had. They asked me if Johnny would mind if they added his name to the list of donors. When I looked at the list, I saw Amitabh Bachchan’s name on it, and he had donated 1 lakh rupees.
I went back to Johnny and asked him if he would like his name on the list of donors. He said, in Hindi, “Jo deta hain, woh dil se deta hain, naam ke liye nahin deta hain.” That was only the beginning. He sent four more donors to the hospital who made huge donations, all on condition of anonymity.
It was only after what I call the “miraculous evening” that I realised that Johnny donated huge sums of money to different causes. And that he had worked other miracles like curing his own son, as well as Hrithik Roshan, both of whom had been diagnosed with cancer.
And even in these lockdown times, Johnny has a crowd of people in his house every Sunday morning, expecting him to work miracles for them. And all he does is go into a long session of prayer, telling the people that all he can do is pray to Jesus, and they have the choice to believe or not to believe.