Saturday, 22 August 2015

Krishna in Him

Sometimes, when I look at him,
Even though I am not great at eye contact,
I See Krishna in Him.

Sometimes, in those jet black eyes,
Sometimes, behind his dimpled,
naughty smile,
When he locks his eyes with mine,
I see Krishna in Him.

Sometimes, when his lips part
And i can hear the soft sound of his breathing,
Somewhere, I think I hear, too
The faint, fragrant echoes of a flute.
His voice, his notes find
A way inside my head-
I hear Krishna in Him.

I see Krishna in Him
When he dismisses everything-
The world, pain, love, our bond-
everything as illusory.
Because Krishna said to Arjun
Things he unknowingly says to me...
I see Krishna in Him.

While he loves everybody with similar intensity, I,
I egoistically believe
I am his favourite, though
I know it can't possibly be so,
He has so many people to love,
to choose from.
I see Krishna in Him.

Playing pranks, pulling my leg
making faces, hurting me-
He has liberties, all of them
Perhaps, he knows that, too.
I am his property, just as I belong
Ultimately to the blue-bodied god;
I see Krishna in Him.

When he hugs me hard, crushing me at times
And plants a sweet little kiss on my cheeks, on request,
I guess, I can say, I know
That is exactly how divinity is spelled.
I see Krishna in Him.

He is five-
and sometimes, in that little child,
My god tries to come alive.

Sometimes, when i look just right,
I see
Krishna in Him.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

On Religion...

Disclaimer: This piece doesn't intend to hurt your sentiments. It is just a means to express mine. Thanks for being tolerant :)

I envy people who can drape accoutrements of their religion by the dozen on their bodies. I envy their security, the surety that comes from knowing that at the end of the day, they have somebody definitive to praise for the miracles and blame for the curses in their lives. I envy how they fast on certain days and feast on others, disguising all their suffering and reveling in all the joy that belonging to religion brings.

In archaic forms that still need me to label my religion as a part of my identity, I put down Hinduism, albeit a little apprehensively.

I do not fast on Shivratri; I am perpetually confused as to why we celebrate two of them in a year (hoping my limited knowledge in this regard is correct). I like Janmashtmi for the beautiful programmes held at temples in the night, for the super cute figurines of baby Krishna, whom I absolutely adore, for the swings I get to give him- a number of times over, for the colourful balloons; for the idea that my favourite God could have a birthday, too! I do not know of the significance of the fervor and the gaiety that preceds Ganesh Visarjan on Ganesh Chaturthi. I am blissfully unaware of the varied forms that Maa Durga is worshipped in, during the auspicious Navratri.  

My routine doesn’t involve recitations of aartis or Hanuman Chalisa every morning at 5 am. I do not go to temples regularly, and even if I do, instead of actually praying, I end up looking at the serene, simultaneous figures of Krishna and Radha in awe, wondering if Krishna loves all of us as much as he loved Radha! (I Hope he does, or it will break my heart!)

Maybe, I am not a Hindu, after all.

 My mom believes in Guru Nanak Ji. The gurudwara is a place I visit daily. I dutifully kneel before the Guru Granth Sahib across my city, despite not being a Sikh in the traditional sense of the word.  If I concentrate, I can impart meaning to the soothing voice of the raagis singing the shabads- sacred hymns in Punjabi. I sport one of the 5 Ks of Sikhism, the Kada, on my wrist. It is the only outer display of belief I allow myself the liberty of, because, inexplicably, it makes me feel protected and looked after.  Yet, I cannot help but feel a slightly disparaging sense of alienation that churns inside my stomach when I glimpse men and women carrying Kirpans draped across their sides, as warriors of the gurus. I have never done the nitnem religiously because I couldn’t fathom the language in totality. I get a haircut every once in a while.

I am not Sikh, either.

Churches fascinate me with their aura of peace. The mass is a beautiful congregation- not only of people, but of attires, tongues, voices and tales. The stained glass windows hold my gaze for moments on end; the filtered sunlight surprisingly adequate to awaken the light of joy, within. Yet, I have never touched the Bible. I envy the cross that dangles from the necks of the Christians. I miss the happiness in decorating Christmas trees and looking for Easter eggs and being able to talk to Jesus as if he knows it all. I miss all of it despite having no apparent cause to.

I am neither Catholic nor Protestant, nor do I connect with any other sect in Christianity.

Buddhism and the theories of Zen find a resonance with me. I like to see monks and chant Om Mane Padme Hum- their Golden Mantra randomly during the day. The scenes of Azaans in movies bring a smile on my face. Mosques fascinate me. Yet, I cannot label myself as a Buddhist or a Muslim simply on these grounds.

I envy people who belong.

I envy that they do not go to gurudwaras and whisper prayers in English, the way I do, because Punjabi isn’t my area of expertise, exactly.

I envy how simply they purchase flowers for offering to the deities while all I seem to visit religious shrines for, is to say thank you and send a prayer for the well being of people I love.  

I envy their knowledge of customs and procedures and hate myself for not being proper in my conversations with God, at times. I wonder if they fight with their Gods, too and challenge Him/Her to prove existence.

I wonder if I am doing it all wrong, somehow.

I believe in a superpower that runs things we are far too naive to grasp. I half-agree that God is nirgun- without a tangible form. Yet, I love the ideas and myths of existence of some Gods more than others. I am not an atheist, because I believe.

The only question I haven’t figured out the answer to is what I actually believe in.

Someday in the near future, before they do away with ‘Religion’ on forms, I hope to find that out. 

‘Belonging’ may not be everything, but, ‘knowing’ just might be. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

One More Time

It amused her how people believed rains were the best time to cry. Literature was full of varying versions of the same fact, and everybody seemed to agree with everybody else- tears could mingle with droplets of rain and run down your cheeks and no one would know the difference.

It was pointless and deceptive. One could always tell the difference. She could always tell the difference. As if to prove the point, a thin rivulet ran down her already soaked face. It was hot and it pricked-the gush of liquid out of her jet black eyes. The rain was, in contrast, bitter and biting cold. There was a difference.

The rain gods were in a mood to exhibit their full fury and she was drenched from top to bottom. She hated the rains; they made her feel vulnerable, lonesome and very, very scared.

The clouds carried endless oceans within them, just like the corners of her eyes. She considered it fitting that she wasn’t the only one weeping. The least the universe could do was show her some sympathy, after having snatched away her chance at love, yet again. She was tired of the pain love brought in its wake. Was it even worth the sacrifices? No matter how much she gave, it was never enough; her very best was not enough. She always ended up hurting someone- mostly her own self. If they awarded degrees for that kind of hurt, hers would be a double doctorate.

The rain lashed harder at her back and the harsh winds whipped her face. She deserved the punishment, she thought, for having trusted, for having lived a lie, for having loved. She kept walking down the deserted street, bearing the inclement weather and the numbing pain.

All of a sudden, their eyes met- her jet black with his deep brown. And, the universe stopped.
He was walking towards her from the opposite end and they were on collision course. Instinctively, she backed off. He saw her move and stopped a few feet away.

A whirlwind of emotions coursed through her at the sight of him- longing, compassion, joy, sadness, and love. It was a trap, her mind warned her. She should know better than letting herself get pulled into the whirlpool again.

She was already so broken, so bruised. Could she do this all over again?

All the while she was battling her demons, he stood still, as if trying to gauge what she felt. He kept gazing at her with so much promise in his eyes that even the rains ceased to matter. Tentatively, he stepped forward. She let go, and gave in to her heart, once more. When you had lost so much, perhaps losing lost its threat altogether. Their eyes met again, this time in a silent vow of trust, of forever.

Slowly at first, and then with supersonic speed, he ran up to her, falling into her embrace. She held him; tears of sorrow turned into those of happiness. Love did that to you, she knew. They smiled at each other, no longer lonely.

The puppy squeaked in her arms. He had found a new home. And she, the courage to trust love, just one more time.

(Inspired by Maya Angelou’s quote: Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.)