Wednesday, October 31, 2007 make sense

Nazeer rushes upstairs to the cafeteria, whispering 'Got a message from a friend. There's been a bomb blast in Majestic area.' He returns in 10 minutes. 'Nothing's on tv. Must be a rumour'.

She looks worried as I tell this to her after she puts Tejas to sleep. 'Never trust him. Not any muslims. He might be a good friend of yours but Muslims are Muslims. Tomorrow he'll give you a bag and tell you to keep it in the careful'.

She has a terrible mistrust of that community. Maybe If I'd been a kashmiri pundit who was driven out of the homeland by islamic terrorism, like her, I too would've developed that rage.

Reading through Annie zaidi's post about her experiences of growing up as a Muslim, I reflect on my views..... and there's a blur--a greyness. I'm not sure--whether to trust or dump the whole community.'Urban, middle-class double-standards' said a friend, long ago. Maybe. I've had muslim friends who were just everyday people--untouched by the stupidity of their religious fanaticism. 'That's on the surface. Deep down they're brought up as jehadis'

Mom hesitates once before asserting, 'When will you get your son's ears pierced?'

I've already told her but still.... 'No Mom. I have no faith in those rituals.'

'Are you not a hindu?'

'No,' I feel sick with this argument.

'You're a member of this family, this community. You need to follow these, just as you observe festivals and pujas...'

'I follow a spiritual path, but have I ever insisted that you too follow it, or Meditate? You shouldn't impose your faith in rituals on others. I want to stay away from dogma, as much as possible...'

Mom argues. I counter-argue. Tejas looks up at both of us briefly before returning to his toys.

'What's the issue?' says archana. 'What'll go wrong if you allow your mom to follow a simple ritual, for her satisfaction?'

You never escape religion. Or maybe religion is a facade. The issue is more about deeper, hidden insecurities, fears and barbarism--finding an outlet through religion. If not religion, it comes out through language, gender, race, caste, social status.....

Day to day life...I forget that I was born in a particular religion, in a particular caste, speaking one language, belonging to one community--my struggles, fears and triumphs have nothing to do with any of these. Yet these shadows are there, always lurking behind the back, ready to pounce upon you and remind you where you belong to.

Like, 'When will Archana learn our language?'

She doesn't need to. She can manage with Hindi and English. No communication problems.

'No. She must learn and speak Kannada...'

Bull shit!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not over...Not yet.

Butterflies flutter within. I shiver-- although it's an irrational fear, it doesn't allow me to breathe easy. There were similar situations long back when, unable to face my own fears, I caved in. I escaped them, thinking that they'd go away. In the absence of my attention, they've grown strong but I remain where I was then.

I pray, ashamed to ask, knowing that it's selfish to pray in danger and forget once the storm passes over ('You never pray' she says).There's no difference between me and the devotee who pledges money to the temple if he gets a better business deal--we both are bribing God--he, with the money and I with a promise of devotion and dedication to the journey if the storm passes. In silence, I meditate and ask for strength, not sure if my faith is real.

When the storm arrives, it's a whimper. I'm still alive, I've saved face and feel truimphant. Did my prayers work? Did the higher forces pull me out of my fears or did they instill strength and focus in me? Or was I just imagining horrible possibilities and shivering silly? What happens to my faith now? Does this incident wake me out of my slumber and set me again on my journey towards light? Or will I go back to my sleep, only to be shaken up by another storm?

And does it makes a difference to the 'Whole', whether or not, a small speck wakes up from its dream? Does the Universe bother if a tiny grain of sand on a beach starts moving?

Maybe it makes a difference to that grain of sand--that speck--which is I.