Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reluctant Atheist

So what am I? Rather cliched to ask a question like this, but it keeps coming back to me. Perhaps it doesn't even matter, or maybe it does. But the post here isn't about everything that I am, but about an aspect of my existence.

I know I am not a theist by definition, but my interest in religion has been steadfast since the time I can remember. In fact, the first girl that I fell for was a Muslim and I was completely besotted by everything about her - her house, the swimming pool at her place, her dolls, her dad. Her dad was a doctor, and I insisted that we always visit him only for any treatments. Though, things didn't quite work out the way I wanted them to. Back then I was too small to even know what I wanted, but I wanted to know more.

We are a family of non-vegetarians and always participated in the Eid feasts of the Muslim families in the numerous colonies we lived in. I loved kebab and mutton keema the most, especially because amma never made them at home. It was at this stage that I also started learning Urdu with a friend, sadly could never go beyond the alphabets.

At this stage of life, I was a staunch Hindu too. Daily early morning prayers, loads of sholkas, regular fasting and so on. I can't remember exactly if I believed in God as such, but I guess I believed in something up there. Personal tragedies changed all this and I became a complete non-believer thereafter for a long time.

My fascination with religion never ended. Later Buddhism became my passion, and I was even willing to take a break from life and study Buddhism, again something which just remained in my dreams. Someone wanted to know then, if I would convert to another religion if I felt more at home with it? But I do not understand conversion. I wasn't born a Hindu, it became my religion after my birth. In my basic form, I am nothing, just another living being who could be anything. And I really do not have any regrets about being a Hindu, even if I am not an overt Hindu like some of the people I know. I also say a prayer at times, but my God always changes - Ram to Khuda to Issiah.

I find them all fascinating. And It seems I can't have them all, I need to chose one of them, at least officially and to be printed on some paper somewhere. And so I chose no one. And I end up being a reluctant atheist.

I do not know what it means. Some atheists prefer to call themselves humanists, and its a beautiful world, but it also goes so much beyond just religion. Can I call myself that? Its a big term and something very difficult to live up to. I also wonder if there is another category, who are neither theists or atheists. Neither superior or inferior, but something else that also exists.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


As I open my eyes, I feel the dark blood smudged vaguely over my face,
I wash it off, but the color stays.
If burns often, and often caresses me,
Sometimes wonderful like a friend, often treacherous like a fiend.

I do not wish the demons go away, they give me the strength to sustain,
Almost like the sea of joy, they wash me ashore, only to take me back within.
And I do not struggle, only wait with a dead, dull anticipation,
A lost battle, a hope long lost.

No one sees the blood on me, on my ugly wrinkled hands, in my hair, all over me,
And I continue to be invisible.
Savouring the bitterness within, and not-so-surprisingly enjoying it too,
I exist still, invisible to past, present and unknown to the future.
I hold my own hand, and guide myself,
Into the promised land, into nothingness.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's your food type?

I am in a confessional mode currently, and its a great platform to declare that I like food and I also like eating food. Water, juices, milk etc. are fine, but I also enjoy food which can be chewed, which basically means 'Solid Food'.

Of course there are different types of people. Some who survive only on water (but let others chew their food), some who chew and like others around them also chew their food (and not just sip and slurp from their cups/ mugs/ glasses), and some who survive on liquid food and also insist that everyone near and dear to them also shifts to this liquid 'only' diet, and the last one are the fanatic types! Eying solid food is met with disapproving glances, inquiring about it may result in a major scuffle, the thought of actually purchasing it would result in strangulation and certain death (of course, the possibility of an actual purchase doesn't actually exist). The definition of 'liquid diet' is also extremely strict, and breaking away from the approved items may also result in the above result. Things like choco shake (which can potentially fill one's stomach) are not a part of the list, even watery fruits are rejected (no water melons as well).

I realised to my dismay that there is no getting away from this 'liquid diet'. Its either liquid diet (water and a glass of juice for breakfast, water for lunch and water and possibly milk for dinner), or no diet. Of course, I chose liquid diet and most of the time just eyed the good looking, tempting and delicious food (which was essentially 'everything' around), while I pretended to look at the extravagantly illustrative shop displays.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"She's Too Good For Me"

She don't like to hear me sing
She don't want no diamond ring
She don't want to drive my car
She won't let me go that far
She don't like the way I look
She don't like the things I cook
She don't like the way I play
She don't like the things I say
But oh the games we play
She's too good for me
She's too good for me

She don't like the jokes I make
She don't like the drugs I take
She don't like the friends I got
She don't like my friends a lot
She don't like the clothes I wear
She don't like the way I stare
She don't like the tales I tell
She don't like the way I smell
But oh the game we play
She's too good for me
She's too good for me

Would she prefer it if I washed myself more often than I do
Would she prefer it if I took her to an opera or two
I could distort myself to be the perfect man
She might prefer me as I am

She don't want to meet my folks
She don't want to hear my jokes
She don't want to fix my tie
She don't even want to try
She don't like the books I read
She don't like the way I feed
She don't want to save my life
She don't want to be my wife
But oh the games we play
She's too good for me
She's too good for me


Monday, May 3, 2010

The White Paper

It's a crowded airport, with only limited space for seating and even little open space. Chennai is warm but the airport is sufficiently cold, I have a coat on the chair next to mine, certainly not something I would need again in this trip.

So here it is – my promised post on ‘The White Paper’. It’s a blank paper, with nothing on it. And it’s white, like snow, something, that when held in hands can just melt away. On the face of it, it’s absurd to make any meaning out of a white paper, but look deeply and an array of meanings and possibilities open up. It could be a message, the meaning of which is known only to the one who receives it. As I write this, the Kingfisher is announcing the departure of it flight to Port Blair. I wonder if I could just forget Kolkata and leave for Port Blair, it’s certainly a tempting thought.

Back to the white paper, it’s something which can be both mundane and surprisingly seductive, with many promises that are left open to the imagination of the receiver. But there could also be a white paper for oneself, something that you would like to fill up on your own and only for yourself. Like life - sadly that is rarely so white, blank and pure. The paper of life is generally scribbled with excessive notes and thoughts at almost all points of time, and we still try and add more and more layers of words, one over the other, over and over again. Some are lost, and some live, but all are there.

Ma called up to say that Delhi is extremely foggy, they are still out and on their way to Gurgaon to Guddu’s place. I had another meeting planned for today morning, but its postponed for later. Fog is also white. But it can be easily blown away and disappear, like snow which is also temporary.

p.s. this was written months ago, on a cold winter morning while my flight to Kolkata was diverted through Chennai, instead of Delhi, where I ended up missing an important rendezvous.
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