Thursday, March 05, 2015
Saturday, February 07, 2015
My most favourite idea of holidays was us, her grandkids and children that are our mothers, huddling around our chubby grandma on a large bed and generally having a blast with her wise cracks and snuggly hugs thrown in ample measures. One of us would ask her, a firebrand leader of the Communist party in its early days, whether she believed in god. She would smile her signature naughty smile and say: Whether I believe in him or not, he loves me for sure!' If Ammachi was here today, she would have laughed at the idea of a god who would love someone more since she chose to return 'home'!
People have asked me where do I go, to a church or a temple, by virtue of my mother being a 'Christian' and father, a 'Hindu.' I have often been amazed at their inability to understand how someone can just be without 'going' anywhere.
God, and religion, were never part of my psyche when I grew up, but certainly were religious people and places. And I have never felt alien around them. I have never noticed a truly religious person harbouring some kind of hatred towards those in other religions. I like to imagine that, for them, religion is matter of the heart. And I understand matters of the heart. You don't have to pray to, or believe in, an almighty to understand matters of the heart. You only have to be human.
The lovely Celine in Richard Linklater's soulful movie Before Sunrise tells her partner, Jesse, as they visit a Vienna church, far away from both their homes: "I can't help but feeling for all those people that come here lost or in pain, guilt, looking for some kind of answers. It fascinates me..." It is fascinating. To think about huge masses of people united by a single entity, or many entities in certain faiths, and trying to find solace. I respect the human urge to do that. But arbitrarily terming a particular religion 'ghar' and pushing reconversion in such scales in our country, a crucible of so many faiths and ideas, simply feels absurd. It is equally absurd seeing people hurting each other to avenge perceived insult to their religions.
I can only say that if anyone referred to Ammachi "that old hag," I would definitely be outraged, but that feeling would soon turn into pity and I would just put the imaginary dagger back into its sheath, most heartily!
* Ammachi: my grandmother Koothattukulam Mary, she went through unspeakable police torture while building up the Communist movement in Kerala. A person of unbeatable spirit.
**All-religions: My father was born a Hindu, mother a Chrstian, both non-practising. My husband is Muslim, and says he is still searching...
Monday, November 07, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Saturday, July 02, 2011
And I am glad I have company.
Monday, May 24, 2010
It was getting dark when they left, after enrolling me into one of the best colleges in the South. I stood there waving away to them, braving the stinging tears that had already started pounding the depths of my chest. When they finally left and I looked within, I was surprised to find how badly bruised I was -- with a terribly old-fashioned homesickness. I was alone, and somehow I had already planned to be aloof, probably to escape some typical teenage insecurities bound to surface in friendships made and broken...
But I did make friends, rather, some great people made friends with me, and through nasty spells of illness, agony and bouts of anxiety, they saw me through. For the first time, I realised how it was to choose a family outside your home. (I was such a secure kid all through my school days, sharing a special bond with those at home, especially amma. Had it not been for hostel life, I never ever would have dared to open up to 'outsiders'.)
But that evening is still etched in memory, in colours of twilight. Something was broken inside.
Like shattered glass, the pieces reflected enlarged images of happenings-tangible and imaginary. But life only adds to it. Some are replaced by fresh wounds, some healed by people, places, smells, sometimes even by a falling autumn leaf.
It will always be there. I know. Everyone carries them. Each soul has them. Yet, however painful , however ugly, I know I am not going to trade them, for anything in the whole world.
Sometimes I can feel them poke through. Enough to miss a heart beat. Enough to make me hold breath and check whether they sweep me off the present. And no, they don't. they don't anymore.
Yes, ten years have past.