Tag Archives: Faith

The unseen face.

PST

 

They could not afford the granduer of the Durga Puja pandals which were stretched across the length and breadth of the city. Their idol had none of the splendor associated with the city’s most festive days. They were five women praying to the strongest woman deity they’d ever known, celebrating her stories, wondering if she still existed somewhere among one of them.

Not many of them prayed anymore. Over the years, the numbers at the Puja had dwindled. She didn’t blame them. After all, how long can you fight against your own destiny and hope that things will change, tides will turn and the unthinkable will happen? But she hadn’t been able to forsake praying. That is the one thing that she had wholeheartedly learnt from her mother – to pray.

They weren’t a part of the privileged – if she could put it lightly. Goddesses and prayers couldn’t be an element of their daily living. Far from it, in fact. They lived in areas, the others called red light areas. She never understood where the name came from. She always wondered if the red light signified danger – and if yes, then were they a danger to society or was the society a danger to them?

She seemed to have lost herself in the sounds of the conch shell and the bells. The fragrance of the incense sticks devoured her into a trance.  Someone banged on the door. Snapping out of her trance, she opened the door. “How much longer will you all be at it? It’s almost sun down. You need to get to work,” the lady at the door, said strictly. The lady was not a bad person, but she wasn’t necessarily good either. She was, unfortunately, just right.

“We’ll be downstairs soon,” she said ruefully.

Closing the small 10 by 10 feet spare room which housed a small idol of the Goddess of the season, the five ladies trooped to their respective rooms downstairs. Taking off her red and white bangles, she kept them carefully in a velvet clothed box. Her mangalsutra* lay beside it. She’d never worn it after her wedding day. Tears welling up in her eyes, she kept the box tucked far inside her wardrobe. She removed her red bindi and stuck it on the top of the box. They were to be used again after a long time. Slowly she took off her red and white sari, an attire which held no significance in the life she was living, an attire that was to be kept hidden away from her ‘customers’, an attire that shouldn’t remind them in any manner of the life that was awaiting them outside the red light area.

She was faceless to them. Nameless to them. They wanted it that way. And she wanted to keep it that way too. She didn’t want to think of what her life meant – either to her or to them. She wanted to keep her dreams locked away in that velvet clothed box.

She was a devotee of  the Durga. But she couldn’t harness the Goddess’ strength in herself. They were devotees of the Durga too. And they didn’t want her to harness Her strength.

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Prashant from Just Spoken Thoughts. Thank you for coming up with the beautiful sketch in almost no time! Hoping that this post will allure you into further creative collaborations! ;)

*The black and golden beaded necklace that signifies marital connection and is a part of the married Hindu woman’s attire.

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We, the Indians?

A New Zealander’s view on the reasons for corruption in India:

Indians are Hobbesian (a culture of self-interest).

Corruption in India is a cultural aspect. Indians seem to think nothing peculiar about corruption. It is everywhere. 

Indians tolerate corrupt individuals rather than correct them.

No race can be congenitally corrupt.

But can a race be corrupted by its culture? 

To know why Indians are corrupt, look at their patterns and practices.

Firstly:
Religion is transactional in India.

Indians give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward.

Such a plea acknowledges that favours are needed for the undeserving. 

In the world outside the temple walls, such a transaction is named a “bribe”. 

A wealthy Indian gives not just cash to temples, but gold crowns and such baubles.

His gifts cannot feed the poor. His pay-off is for God. He thinks it will be wasted if it goes to a needy man.

In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth Rs 45 crore to Tirupati.

India’s temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it. Billions are gathering dust in temple vaults.

When Europeans came to India, they built schools. When Indians go to Europe & USA, they build temples.

Indians believe that if God accepts money for his favours, then nothing is wrong in doing the same thing. This is why Indians are so easily corruptible.

Indian culture accommodates such transactions morally. There is no real stigma. An utterly corrupt Jayalalitha can make a comeback, just unthinkable in the West.

Secondly:
Indian moral ambiguity towards corruption is visible in its history. Indian history tells of the capture of cities and kingdoms after guards were paid off to open the gates, and commanders paid off to surrender.

This is unique to India.

Indians’ corrupt nature has meant limited warfare on the subcontinent.

It is striking how little Indians have actually fought compared to ancient Greece and modern Europe.

The Turks’ battles with Nadir Shah were vicious and fought to the finish.

In India, fighting wasn’t needed, bribing was enough to see off armies.

Any invader willing to spend cash could brush aside India’s kings, no matter how many tens of thousands soldiers were in their infantry.

Little resistance was given by the Indians at the Battle of Plassey.

Clive paid off Mir Jaffar and all of Bengal folded to an army of 3,000.

There was always a financial exchange to taking Indian forts. Golconda was captured in 1687 after the secret back door was left open.

Mughals vanquished the Marathas and Rajputs with nothing but bribes.

The Raja of Srinagar gave up Dara Shikoh’s son Sulaiman to Aurangzeb after receiving a bribe.

There are many cases where Indians participated on a large scale in treason due to bribery.

The question is: Why do Indians have a transactional culture while other ‘civilized’ nations don’t?

Thirdly:
Indians do not believe in the theory that they can all rise if each of them behaves morally, because that is not the message of their faith.

Their caste system separates them.

They don’t believe that all men are equal.

This resulted in their division and migration to other religions.

Many Hindus started their own faiths like Sikh, Jain, Buddha and many converted to Christianity and Islam.

The result is that Indians don’t trust one another.

There are no Indians in India, there are Hindus, Christians, Muslims and what not.

Indians forget that 400 years ago they all belonged to one faith.

This division evolved an unhealthy culture. The inequality has resulted in a corrupt society in India where everyone is against everyone else, except God ­and even he must be bribed.

Brian from Godzone

NEW ZEALAND

A friend sent this to me a month ago. And all I could say then was, “If I think he’s right, it makes me less Indian. If I think he’s wrong, it makes me untruthful to myself. Undoubtedly, his is a very Western point of view and I’m sure there are cases in non Indian countries where bribes have won them wars and treachery for money wasn’t unfamiliar. But I neither have the information right off the tip of my tongue nor do I intend to look up for it because that would just result in mud slinging and digressing from a thought process which deserves a second thought, at least.”

A month later, I think it’s time we gave it a second thought. What are we doing to ourselves? Are we so afraid of failure that we will keep kneeling before idols? Don’t we want the chance to retrace our steps to find out our mistakes? Or is the ultimate goal always money? Isn’t that what makes us corrupt? Isn’t that what has always led to wars, be it Indian or non-Indian? How does it matter what the other person’s religious beliefs are? How does it matter if they pray five times a day or once a week? How does it matter if I am an Indian or an Irish? After all, country borders are nothing but ‘shadow lines’.

Yes, Brian from Godzone is right in a lot of ways. He’s right when he talks about wealthy men giving more to Gods than to other poor men. He’s right that temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it. He’s right that our caste system separates us.

But he’s wrong if he says all Indian men are self-centered! India is a large country. 1.25 billion people out of the Earth’s 7 billion live here. If we were all equally selfish and vain, the world would be far from over by now.

He’s wrong if he thinks only Indians played underhand in wars. “At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War.” (And it took me just 30 seconds to lay hands on this information.)

He’s wrong if he thinks it’s our Hindu religion which makes us worse as humans. No. We are the ones who choose to pay to the Gods. They didn’t ask us to. Let’s not sling mud on Them. I wouldn’t want to point out how many controversies the Churches are embroiled in.

He’s wrong if he thinks only Indians have divisions in their societies. At least we don’t pick people on their skin colour. Oh wait. We do. Fair and lovely. Fair and handsome.

This isn’t about WHO’S RIGHT and WHO’S WRONG. This is about WHAT’S RIGHT and WHAT’S WRONG.

And corruption is wrong. War is wrong. Dealing with religion in money is wrong.

But so is intolerance. And mud slinging. And generalizing!

Let’s just try and make the world a better place to live in. There can be nothing more right than this. Would you want to agree, Brian?

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Friday post! Because Saturdays were becoming too predictable 😉

Abounding Passions.

Abounding Passions.

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You made me write when I lost the touch,

You made me smile when my mind was thinking too much,

You brought me closer to the real me,

You made dark the new sexy!


Your soft touch paled my pain,

You were my rainbow in the rain,

We moved away with the time due,

Now and then, I still miss you.

Graciously Yours!

Of angels and demons.

Jacob walked away one fine sunny morning. No explanations, no answers, no smile and no acknowledgment of her existence in his life! Sarah was left baffled and groping at the blank expanse her life had become without him. But in that tough lesson which life gave to her to learn, she exceeded expectations. She became excited about learning – learning about herself, learning about finding solace alone and most importantly, loving herself before any one else. Because until you don’t know how to love yourself, your lover will be as lost and confused as a chicken in a bull fight.



Today, basking in the glory of the sun and her beloved’s gaze, Sarah wondered how different her life would have been if Jacob hadn’t walked out that day. She silently thanked him for being a jerk. Because of him, she stopped looking for angels to come and fight her demons.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Izza, this is inspired by your #SeptemberPosts! She’s been writing abstracts so beautifully that I couldn’t help not writing like that. I give in. I hope you like this.

At God’s Door. No more…

Two months ago, I’d shared the plight of a poor, homeless man.

Today, he’s missing. For the past two weeks, actually. Should I rather say dead? Because he was barely being able to walk twenty days ago. A friend, on the man’s request carried him two feet away to where he wanted to sit. Then we saw him take out a packet of smokeless tobacco (Wiki pages lead to dipping tobacco being the most suitable variety) and consume it.

My concern for him suddenly vanished when I saw the pack of smokeless tobacco (commonly called khaini in India). I hastily concluded that he must have brought this situation upon himself. You must be wondering why I was concerned in the first place?

Jump to a month ago. For many days, I’d routinely noticed him and his actions. Those five seconds when I crossed him almost every day. He had a plastic bottle suspended from a rope and he would be moving it in a circular motion. I’d have put up a picture of it, if I had one, but I deliberately chose not to click his picture. I didn’t want to intrude into his privacy or whatever was left of it at least. Out of curiosity, the aforementioned friend asked him one day what exactly was the man doing. You know what he said? In a clear voice, in English, “Life is a circle”.

Another day I caught him muttering something. Seemed a little foreign to me. I heard more carefully, and it took me back to my seventh grade science classes.

He was muttering :

You must be wondering that he must have picked up the formula from someone, somewhere. Or that he must have been hit with early school days memories. Or that he may be a man of good education befallen to such hopeless and helpless times. I don’t know which one it is. And I’ll forever keep wondering.

Coming back to khaini, today it dawned upon me that maybe that was all he could afford to eat! Or maybe that was his escape from reality. Harsh, but true. Unacceptable, but needs to be accepted. Painful, yet routine.

Once at God’s door. No more…

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Every one has a story waiting to be said. We never spoke. But he still compelled me to wonder about his.

In love!

My soul sister and me, were wondering the other day ~ Why are we happily single? Is it a phrase we simply use to conform to the world’s standards of the opposite of committed? Or is it something we say aloud to pacify ourselves that we really are happy looking at our friends getting lost in each others’ eyes? Does it have something to do with being afraid of commitment and the innumerable troubles about space and time and attention that ensues?

None satisfied our quench and hunger to know!

Until… We finally hit jackpot!

In love

We’re already in love. Not with one single person, but various parts of various people! And of late, it’s staring into my face so much, that I can’t avoid writing about it any more.

I’m in love.

I’m in love with the strength of the female who reminds herself each morning that her parents are as important as her boyfriend.

I’m in love with the endurance of the sister who manages to accept me just as I am!

I’m in love with the resilience of the friend who knows how difficult the path is, but keeps at it while people around her do nothing much to pull her up!

I’m in love with the care of the brother who stands by me through thick and thin, making sure my smile never fades. Yes, all you brothers.

I’m in love with the faith of the friend who bared his life’s biggest secrets to me.

I’m in love with the promise of hope my mentor exudes.

I’m in love with the positivity of this blogger who encouraged me to transform my works from that of a little girl to a young lady!

I’m in love with the love my friend has for his better half!

I’m in love with the ‘chemistry’ I share with a blogger, our thoughts meshing effortlessly each time.

I’m in love with the innocence of my friend’s baby niece! And also his love for her.

I’m in love with how understanding that friend is who never once complained about how my complaints bore him!

I’m in love with the humour of the friend who I’ve never seen without a smile to share!

I’m in love with the passion of that domestic help who  went on to join an NGO and is now learning English.

I’m in love with the intelligence of the friend who is as modest about it as one can be!

I’m in love with the inquisitiveness of the cabbie who wanted to know why my destination was named so and what was its historical significance.

I’m in love with the concern that crops up in the friend’s eyes each time my own are welling up.

I’m in love with the compassion of that shopkeeper who feeds those stray dogs and lets them warm themselves in her barely successful shop.

I’m in love with myself for being so much in love, for finding so much to love and for trying each day to love!

Each day I come across beauty, rawness, hope, love, strength, smiles.

Each day I also come across hatred, anger, greed, stealth, deception, frowns.

It is my choice which ones I choose to imbibe, cultivate, remember and fall in love with!

There isn’t lack of love. We just have to know where to look.

I know why I’m happily single. And now you do too.

Graciously Yours!

His Smile, For Her.

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HIS SMILE, FOR HER.

The day she saw him,
She knew that smile was for her,
The warmth that touched their hearts,
Brought them closer together.

Those eyes that glittered her way,
Could see her inside out,
His hand that touched hers,
Touched the soul within.

Hands clasped, rushing
Through the surreality,
Like two little kids,
Exploring the world together.

In the gleam of their happiness,
They didn’t see,
The brazen darkness,
Coming their way.

Before she could place herself,
In the safety of his arms,
They drifted apart in silence,
Lost and never to be found.

She didn’t know where to look,
She didn’t know what to do,
She thought he would wait,
Like she had all along.

Times later, she saw the smile again,
Not for her this time around,
She felt empty and blown away,
When those eyes treated her like a stranger.

The winds rose inside her,
Causing her fluttering heart,
To bang hard against her ribs,
Throbbing with pain.

She looked away from those eyes,
Not ready to bear their ignorance,
She told her heart to calm down,
“At least he was smiling, even if not for me.”

Graciously Yours!