Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good God! I'm Blond!

It is that time of year again. As the religious festival season rolls around again, I can feel the onset of slight pangs of anxiety that will no doubt become more frequent and intense as the months go by. Okay, I am just going to have to come out and say it. There is no other way to do so. I am not religious. Pause one moment for the gasps of horror.

Now that that is done, and before the saffron brigade and the Bible bashers begin to roll down roads or hold prayer conventions for my rotten soul, here's the meat of the matter. This is a country where 'the guy upstairs' (who I know exists because I hear footsteps and rolling marbles at night) has around 40,000 different names, avatars, and forms of accepted worship. So, life for someone who chooses to remain an agnostic (note: vastly different from atheist, so let's not get our saffron knickers in a knot already, okay?) is not easy.

I had a good and lasting taste of it while driving to my Spanish institute with an equally religion-clueless friend on what could have been a peaceful Sunday morning. I stopped at a traffic signal and surveyed my surroundings. There was something odd by the side of the road - in my defence, it was odd by my religion-ignorant books. The conversation went something like this:

- OMFG, who the hell left so many Ganesha idols on the side of the road? (Brownie points for naming the idol correctly)
- Oh, yeah! There are so many!
- And they're all PINK!
- Strange!

Before we could act any more blond than that, the lights changed and we trundled along to our class with our brows furrowed. Once there, we decided to update the others about our strange sighting that morning. Our 'dramatic' revelation was met with a moment of silent disbelief and then a lot of eye rolling, before the following outburst (I have omitted some of the choice expletives and stinging name calling):

- It's Ganesh Chaturthi!
- How could you not know? Seriously?!
- They're selling idols on the road because it's GC!
- How could you not know that?
- How long have you lived in this country?
- Are you guys even Hindus?
- It's GC.....
- Yadda, yadda, nag, nag, gasp...

You get the drift.

Tears of utter shame and repentance sprang to my eyes and I ran from there and threw myself in front of one of those pink idols, ripping my hair out, beating my chest, groveling for forgiveness and salvation.

Okay, I made that last bit up entirely (that's another black mark for lying, tsk, tsk), but if my life were portrayed on a Hindi soap on Colors, that scene would be played out in slow motion, three times over, with a lot of tan-tan-tan music.

In reality, my ignoramus friend and I just looked suitably ashamed, giving our best I'm-the-dog-who-peed-on-your-floor looks, deciding that there was nothing we could say to justify our blond moment.

Now, we keep our 'religious' discussions between ourselves and helpfully give the other the heads-up whenever one of us hears hints of some festival around the corner in other people's conversations.

{Note: No offense meant to blonds, anyone religious, pink people, dogs who pee on floors and tan-tan-tan music composers.}


  1. Quick ? what's the plural of ignoramus btw? Ignorami,or Ignoramusses? Just sayin' ;)

  2. Ignoramuses. Just butting in! :p

    @ Blah: Would that be Saffron Blasphemy, or Pink Heresy!?!

  3. @ Kaotic: or frying pan...??

  4. Fun! :) I tried being agnostic for a while but I really needed to blame someone for all the fuck-ups that happen. So now, I'm back to, "So, dear God, you fucked that up good and proper, didn't you?"

    Oh shit, do you think they will frown upon my using profanity in my conversations with God? Hell, God taught me to swear! So there.

  5. @Bhumika: Lol! I think your profanity is excusable.

    Well, I do believe in the guy upstairs (to blame, to bicker with, to beseech etc, but I reject the idea of religion because I think it causes more problems amongst mankind than anything else. So I choose to say "I'm spiritual, not religious".

  6. Haaahahahaa. Loved the last sheepish 'Note' esp.


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