I am unceremoniously startled to a new dawn by the blowing of shankh (conch) and jangling of bells. My mom has just finished her puja (prayers) and is readying to bombard me with her much rehearsed lecture on benefits of pranayam (breathing exercises) and yoga, the truth of which I deny not but am too lazy to experience it early in the morning. I try falling back to sleep but in vain. So starts my day.
I hail from a very religious Hindu family, my house is more like a temple with pictures of gods and goddesses adorned on every open space that dare expose itself on the wall, much to the hawk eyed scrutiny of my mother. You wouldn’t want to fully undress in your own room for the fear of offending one of the deities with your nudity and attracting their wrath upon yourself. If that was not enough, and evidently it wasn’t, my mother liked to write mantras and shlokas (vedic hymns) in every bit of paper she could find and give it to me for protection purpose, I had one for every occasion! I was on a high level security system which used metaphysical techniques and was heaven controlled. I was unable to clean my study because every waste paper had a little bit of god in it and you do not throw god in a waste paper bin do you? Hence you see the technique was a foolproof one.
So one day when bitten by the romantic bug i fell in love, I had literally committed blasphemy! Not only was the guy from a different community he was also from a different faith. A Christian. I give it to my mom for not going into a traumatic seizure when I told her I was going to convert. However, the ruckus she created was no less. The social issue of films and soap operas had taken entry right into our living room. I had invited trouble. To stay. Now breakfast was often served musically, not the kind with instruments but a long soliloquy interjected by tearful sniffing and blowing of nose by my mother, that was by the way of saying she loved me immensely. I was fortunate enough to miss her love during lunch time as my job would render me unavailable for the show and hence allow mom to enjoy hers watching her favourite daily soaps. At dinner, the family, which also includes my father, brother, his wife and their two and a half foot of goo goo gaa gaa and gi gi’s and my kid sister, usually came to my rescue by having loads of other topics to chatter about between morsels and mom’s effort at trying to mainstream the conversation to her hot favourite topic, God and I.
During the course of our relationship not a single day went by when I did not hear my mom lament on my choice of boyfriend. She did not have problem with the man himself, just his faith bothered the hell out of her. So she had the whole retinue of relatives try to convince me to un-fall in love with him but no amount of coaxing and cajoling could achieve that. Because not only did I love him, he was the best friend I had. Especially now that mom had given up on that role. The battle of faiths continued in my house, because for the life in me I could not convince my mother that I had fallen in love with a simple, ordinary human being and not Christ himself!
My mother apparently was the aggrieved party.
My dad pretended to be one.
The drama unfolded with all the ingredients that was needed for a masala movie, a hero, a heroine, a crying mother, an angry father, empathizing friends (we needed), sympathizing aunties (we needed not), but as it happens in reel, we too fought all opposition and stood our ground. Shortly and sweetly the story of my life was about to take a new turn which I hoped would be for the better. I had grappled long enough with one social stigma, religion, and was in no mood for another. The sun had snuggled comfortably in its trajectory between the sharp noon and far west. The dust was settling in my house, the acridity of my act had mellowed down and my mother had finally come to terms with the matters of my heart. BUT….. A storm was brewing on the other side! The drama was far from over as I was led to believe, of course by my silly mind.
We humans have a habit of seeing just one side of the story, our side, I, me, mine. Well, belonging to that same race, by biological decree, I couldn’t be any different, could I? So while I was busy trying to establish the credentials of the hero of my love story at my residential quarters, I began losing my own at his. I had devoted a good amount of time trying to get my folks to see the world through my rose-rimmed glasses, in the process I sadly overlooked the repercussions of that liberty. Hence started the next chapter of my almost happily ever after story, His family objected. I had not included that in my calculations so i found myself inadequately equipped to handle this situation, as a result I started fighting with him. Something that usually happens after marriage, we ran a tad ahead of schedule and got on with the fighting part earlier than was necessary in a normal, happy and a healthy relationship. To make matters worse I went ballistic on one of his siblings! And an elder one at that! Heaven help me! It was one of those bad hair days when I must have got down the wrong side of the bed in the morning, everything went wrong that day. It actually was a combination of factors that made me lose my cool for which I beg momentary insanity, although it doesn’t justify the act. The damage was done. I needed urgent damage control, GOD. I was not going to take any chances so I started praying to all the gods in heaven, those holding valid, invalid or intermediary certificates of identification on earth. Every deity got a copy of the prayer too, from mountains to rivers, sun, moon and stars, even a tree bigger than a mulberry looked mighty enough to solve my lovely issues. “I mean, issues involving love becomes lovely by default, doesn’t it?” No matter how painful they are. Matters worsened heaven help! (And a bit faster if you please). The fact that he was from Mars and I from Venus had never been more pronounced. The prayers were now accompanied by fasts. And if the lovely troubles of my heart weren’t enough on their own to make me miserable, the tears followed, as a silent companion. On second thoughts, not so silent after all for it brought with it a good amount of slime that had to be blown off quite loudly and at frequent intervals. It made my crying pretty unfashionable but when your heart aches the mind and manners bid adieu. And my heart did ache. Full on. My soul was being ripped off from my body and I was on the verge of becoming a zombie. I ate for the fear of falling sick but sleep evaded me completely so I did all the crying during the nights, burying my head deep into the pillow to muffle the sound lest my dear mother should hear it and take the melodrama to the next higher level.
I did not know what kind of a battle I was fighting. The lost one? For if there was any ray of hope I did not see it filtering its way into my heart. Back to my damage control unit one last time. “Our Father in heaven hallowed be thy name…..” “Hail Mary full of grace…” “Hara Hara Mahadev…..” “Jai Hanuman Gyan Guna Sagar….” “Om aa hung benza guru pema siddhi hung” “Jai Mata Di…..” “Laillahaillallaha…..” “Satnaam WaheGuru…..” I had become a beggar. Literally. But it seemed like there was a longer line of beggars ahead of me because my pleas were really taking a long time to reach His (GOD’s) ears. Could I bribe Him somehow? I was desperate. When was the last time I prayed so much? “Mmmmm??????? Mmmm!!!!!” “During my school finals!!!” No wonder He doesn’t remember me! that was, way, too, long, back. I can’t blame Him. I am the last one in the queue of beggars and have done nothing so far to reap the benefits of a VIP access. So I have to wait.
Patience, one of the greatest virtues, also happens to be the one that I lack greatly. Among many others or almost all the others, so it seemed, looking at the kind of opposition I was facing from all quarters. I was breaking down. “GOD, If you could lend an ear out of turn, this was emergency!” Thinking day and night and almost driving myself crazy, I figured a way to jump the line. The beggars line, don’t you remember, I am still a part of it, forming the tail end. Well I thought of reaching my prayers to him through someone who was quite ahead in the line. My cousin, who also happens to be a Christian, fortunately, for that would give more credit to my prayers. Goes to church every Sunday, attends all services (I presume), prays a heap each day. So I made her pray for me and since I had to be very careful, I made her fast too. For my cause, well of course with all due guilt. “Please forgive me Lord. All is fair in love and war, right? It’s for love I do it and I certainly hope to fast for her in her times of need.”
Having justified my move I wait. That brings me to my present. Still in the waiting phase and my mind seems to be a workshop right now, (I will not say ‘devil’s’ for, at the moment I am at a very delicate position with god to even utter such a name, so…) well the workshop seems to be of quite a nuisance you see, for it forces me to think what if this relationship is over after all. What will I do? I start drowning in my miseries. Of course all the romantic movies I had seen and the love stories I had read, have all the blame to take for my state of mind right now, but there I was, contemplating my next move. And you can very well infer that a long lasting sleep would seem like a perfect solution to the melodrama, I mean, honestly the idea was most appealing and when I say it I just portray the shaken sensibilities, a slowly seeping insanity which I was fighting. I did not want to let the serpent make an Eve out of me, but from the corner of my eyes, I, definitely, was eyeing the apple. So I started Googling the means by which this could be induced. Just for info you see I didn’t mean to do it. I was just curious how people did it. The hangman’s noose? Stuffy! I looked at my ceiling. Holy crap! Just a light bulb hanging by a very thin red plastic wire! It may be pertinent to mention here that I live in the hills and houses here usually do not have fans, nor does the ceiling come with a provision to install one, which definitely would have found its uses, censorable no doubt. Although this trend of architectural set up may not prevail for long, and we may soon see a revolutionary change in the coming years, due to global warming. People have started feeling the heat. But I couldn’t be bothered with such significant issues right now given to my state of mind, and already having had a tiny insignificant one at hand which demanded my immediate attention. Hence I grapple in my search for a stronger suspender. My room sadly failed to provide me the final sanctuary, in case I needed one. I would certainly bring half the ceiling down with me if I put my neck on that red wire, and not even achieve what I had set out to do, in the first place. How inefficient. Bad idea. Discarded.
I go out to survey the trees where I make an amazing discovery. The branches are almost all parallel to the main trunk after an initial offshoot! It was technically a faulty kind of symmetry to give good results to the task in hand. The rope would definitely slide down to the base carrying me along, and if I tie it at a far end, it would do so with quite a force so as to slam one side of my body against its trunk and induce a couple of fractures in my skull! No matter how well earned a slam that would be, I still wouldn’t appreciate it. And not to mention the bruises I would incur on my legs while crash landing, if the branch broke! Another bad idea. Discarded.
The drugs would do it. Yes, it definitely painted a less dramatic and less action filled picture. But the problem was I knew nothing about drugs. If I had loose motions I would take a glass of water with four spoon full of sugar and one spoon full of salt and that would cure the rumble in my sac. If I had cough and cold holy basil mixed with ginger and honey would cure the phlegm. I was in a fix. I didn’t even know the names of any medicines apart from aspirin and I had never heard of anyone dying from it. So what else could I do, I did not have a gun. But I do have a car in which to put my plan into action but then I think again, what if after having gone down the cliff I realize I have broken everything but my wind pipe! I visualize myself. Aargh! Discarded.
In my quest for liberation from my torment I thought up of some ways which if put into action would be the first of its kind, how about clamping your nose with a clothes hanging clip? Seriously, it would be a cheap and best deal. But of course the damage it would do to your reputation would be unbearable. After all I have no idea of what happens after death, what if I’d be hanging around in an invisibility cloak and be an audience to my own joke posthumously. Or if there is a society of dead who would find my way somewhat dishonorable, no gore and all that, and ostracize me for the rest of eternity. Survival strategies, in either of the worlds, forbade me to acquire a patent for the idea. So after having spent one whole Sunday afternoon imagining the gory details of the act I find the idea not so appealing after all. I guess there is no easy way out. And I feel nothing could be grave enough to justify such an act. Hence, I come back to God. Though still at the tail end of the queue. I pray.
In my attempt at saving love, I pray, for nothing in this world seemed more powerful than a prayer to save something as precious and pure as love. And then, one fine day, my turn came! and when it did I actually fell in love…… with Christ Himself.