Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2010

Well, first of all I should warn you all, that this is not a discourse on how privileged we are, and how unprivileged the poor kids in ‘Uganda’ are, which they might still be, but that is not what I want to speak about. What I want to tell you all, is an incident that happened a couple of days back, which to me seemed important and significant in some ways. How was that, I shall tell you, but in a while. First, the incident.

.

I am not exactly a religious man. In fact, i believe that I am more of an agnostic , rather than an atheist. To me, it means, that i believe in energies and shit, both positive and negative, and I prefer to believe in them rather than in a superficial GOD for my own benefit. Consequently, I am not a big fan of temples, especially for the general purposes of worshiping.

.

However, it’s just my own view. And i have got  nothing against people/friends who DO believe in GOD, and hence go to temples occasionally/regularly to ask favors from GOD/worship GOD.  So, a few days back, i simply accompanied two of my good friends to the temple. For me it was just a casual visit to a place, with two friends. Temples just don’t evoke that respect or sacred feeling in me.

.

It was a Hanuman Temple and we reached at the time of the Aarti. We were happy for that. My friends were happy ’cause they came at the right time. Me because it meant, we were about to get prasad and damn, i was hungry and could swear i could eat 100 people’s prasad alone that very moment. But that was only after a brief session of worshiping by the pujaris , and we folding hands and bowing heads in some sort of sacred sentiment. I am not exactly very good at that, and have a tendency to become unusually restless in such ultra-peaceful situations. There was the incident when i was called out as a “spiritual terrorist” by a pujari of  some temple here, for not much of my fault. After that i preferred to stay outside and smoke pot with a couple of sadhus, when we visited another famous temple. Those are different stories though and lets just focus on the present here. My friends were probably conscious of my particular restlessness and were keeping a keen eye on me from a corner of their eyes, noting any signs of anything stupid that could happen.

.

In any case, the worship session was soon over without any nuisance, much to the relief of myself , my friends and also the temple authorities secretly. The prasad was what interested me more. Of course the real prasad came only after being offered sacred fire and sacred water. But i swear by god, it was of some wonderful taste when it finally came. Now I don’t exactly remember what the first two items were, for they were gone into my stomach faster than they came on my plate, so i did not exactly notice what they were. The third item was flavored rice and this i could notice , a bit relieved of my hunger by now. And then i saw them.

.

It’s a common sight at any temple in India. The sight of those small roadside children, flocking to the temples for the prasad. For many such children that is perhaps the only nutrition they get in their entire day, or perhaps even for the entire week. And so, they flock to these temples to get whatever good food they can get for food. And they are just kids. Small children who don’t really know what GOD is, and what a temple is. All they know of and care about is the food that they get there, and for them perhaps that is much more important than temples and gods.

.

What stuck me, even shocked me, was how the person who was distributing the prasad, was ignoring the many outstretched hands of those small perhaps dirty, but hungry kids, and was more eager to distribute stuff to the so-called civilized people out there, to the “not-so-unprivileged” people. As far as I was concerned, those kids deserved the food more than any of us out there. They should have been the preferred ones and we should have been made to wait till after them. And only when they are done and their hunger satisfied, should we be given any of it.

.

But instead, they were being ignored. Even shooed away, scolded , frowned upon with disgust with an air of nuisance. In my eyes, that was not what a temple should be. In my eyes, a place where you don’t respect a human being, where you don’t respect the hunger of a small kid, and instead chose to stand with hands folded and heads bowed in front of a stone idol, should not be a temple. And it stuck me.

.

I was just standing there, wrestling my own hunger and also these thoughts, looking at those children and the people distributing the prasad, in mute amazement. I was half-wondering whether I should give my own share of food to those kids. Not as an act of kindness or anything like that, but more out of guilt. But i was only thinking all this, when the most amazing thing happened in front of me. Almost as if reading my mind, one of my friends actually proceeded to give her share of food to those children. She gave her share of prasad to one of those kids, who did not really thank her, and it wasn’t even needed. He was more busy in collecting more prasad, from whatever source possible. Of course, after that, we also gave those kids our share of prasad and all that is not important here.

.

What’s important here, is that how i simply kept on thinking, while someone else actually did the act. What’s important here, is at that moment, i developed a certain love and respect for my friend which shall never go away. What’s important here is that, for a brief moment I felt, I did something good by coming to the temple that day and was better than the other not-so-unprivileged people in the temple.

.

We then came out of the temple, and went on to satisfy our own hungers. And I had a story, I wanted to tell desperately.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »