Thursday, November 15, 2012

Losing my religion

"Kalina?", I yelled as he screeched to a halt. 

He nodded while three women and four tiny children kept popping out of his rickshaw. I was too tired to notice the expression on his face. Soon, I was seated inside with my bags - groceries and handbag and laptop bag and lunch bag and office Diwali gift. Phew.

"Aap <mumble mumble mumble>?"

"Kya kahaa?" ("What did you say?")

"Kya aap Hindu ho?" ("Are you a Hindu?")

I was a bit zapped at the question. Thinking I had said 'yes', he continued...

"Dimaag kharab kar diya. Yeh sab Islam waale... itne saare rickshaa mein baett gaye..." ("They've given me a headache. These Muslims... so many of them occupied my rickshaw...")

I cut him short. "Aapka kya matlab hai? Iss mein dharm kahaa se aa gaya?" ("What do you mean? Where did religion creep into this?")

Sensing that I was not particularly thrilled with the tone and theme of the conversation, he started apologising. "Sorry, sorry, madam. Maine bas... aise hee..." (Sorry, madam. I was... just like that...")

"Kya aap rickshaa mein passenger ko lene se pehle unka dharm poochthe ho? Bambai mein toh yeh sab nahi chalta hai. Yahaan sirf apna kaam karo. Dharm ko kisi bhi cheez mein kyon milaate ho?" ("Do you ask your passengers which religion they follow before you agree to ferry them? All this won't work in Bombay. Here, you just work. Why would you mix religion with anything?")

The rickshaw driver apologised once again and went quiet for obvious reasons. And then I announced to him, "Aur main Hindu nahi hoon." ("And I am not a Hindu.")

It was his turn to be zapped now.

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In line with the above post, here's a lovely Diwali-themed ad by a cellular service provider that I really liked. Its basic premise is "whatever be your religion, celebrating every festival is a good idea." I keep thinking of the incident above when I see this ad.


On that note... Hope you had a wonderful Diwali. May the festival of light brighten our minds and make us more understanding of each other - irrespective of religion, caste, class, ideology, sex or age.

Love and light,
~j~

(Please note: I do not endorse the brand whose ad is mentioned in this post. I only liked the concept and the emotion behind it.)

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