About religion and faith

Concerning religion and faith... I'm a Hindu, not by choice but by birth, and nevertheless I'm happy (not proud 'coz there's nothing to be proud of something you never achieved. I can be proud if I had invented a new gadget that would make human toils easier) to be one to belong to a much inclusive (not the superior 'coz there logically cannot be a "superior") faith.

And I'm most unhappy at what is now being projected now as 'Hinduism'. Hinduism is not about 'cow protection' while ignoring the problems of 'child marriage', 'rape', 'honour killing' and many more. Hinduism is not about hate or rebellion.

Anyways, that aside, this is an incident that happened about 10 years ago. I was travelling alone by train - from Mumbai to Kerala. It was a long journey and to get imprisoned inside a metal container rolling on metal in the Indian summer for hours together is nothing fanciful. I had already finished the Agatha Christie I carried with me to kill time and I was bored.

There was this family of a mother, her few year-old son and his father in the next compartment. The kid, I suppose, was even more bored than me and so he was running around and climbing the births in the different empty compartments and shouting incomprehensible things at his parents, while the mother was on her knees behind her son.

I took fancy on the kid and tried to entertain him with a little jibber-jabber. I had a packet of biscuits with me and I shared it with him. His mother was happy to find that I could hold him in one place and so she came and sat with us.

Then she started talking...

Turned out that she belongs to some Christian faith and her father had apparently seen Jesus walking in their garden. She was very curious to know what my religion was and I just humoured her with a tale of how I'm a Hindu married to a Christian. Did I see her eyes sparkle or did I just imagine it?

She started asking me questions about my faith and I pretended I'm an atheist.

She finally asked me: "Have you seen God?"

I asked: "What do you suppose God is?"

She said: "God is all about love, protection and security."

Then I said: "Yes, I've seen God."

She was bewildered by my answer. She kept looking quizzically at me.

I said: "Well, I've seen my dad and he has even hugged me, kissed me, played cricket with me, bathed me, fed me with his hands and even paid my school fees!"

Then she said: "That's so sweet but it's not that God I was talking about."

And I said: "But you said there's only one God and how can you be referring to another God now?"

She just smiled, handed over a flyer talking about some prayer meeting to be held at some place and left with the last words: "I think you might consider this."

I said: "Of course sister!"


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