The words tumbled fast and passionately – like the staccato cough of a Kalashnikov, (as seen in Hollywood movies - I have never seen this gun in real life, or it being fired - just love the analogy).
“Think of what will happen to you when you die. Who will save you. Who is your savior? You will have no salvation because you don’t believe in the ‘true’ faith. Don’t you fear the searing fire of Hell which will burn you for eternity?”
I clicked back a few of the best laughing smiley I could find on my Yahoo Messenger. And typed “In my religion there is no Hell.”
Another incident. My friend thinks I am seething in wrath because I have started to feel disconcerted by the constant and incessant debasing of Hindu religious rituals and practices by a section of the media. It has almost become a fashion.
So I am not a freethinker. To become a freethinker, what will I have to do? Deny my Gods. The temples. The traditions. ????
Even this justification, is my Karma.
For a few years I lived in Mattancherry at a place called Cherlai. People of the Konkani community called Moopans live here in large number. Next to my house is a temple dedicated to Sindhoora Bhagavathy, popularly called Manjha Bhagavathi temple.
The annual festival at the temple has processions where people commit sacrifice to please the Goddess, by piercing a steel rod through their own tongue and dancing through the streets in a procession.
In the procession are many people with a steel ‘shoolam’ through their tongue (very much like those done at Muragan temples in Tamil Nadu). And many with it going in through their left cheek, through the tongue and out through the right.
Then there are people who stand shoulder to shoulder in a row, 4-5 in a batch, and are strung together through their tongue. Each one of them in excruciating pain or ecstasy, one has to experience it oneself to really know.
Dancing through the streets - people singing songs in praise of the goddess - the rapid beat of the ‘Chetti Kottu’, a unique style of drum play of that community, on a drum which is also unique to them.
Some may call this barbaric. My mother does.
Cut to another scene. Many years before Mattancherry, we used to live at Trichur (now called Thrissur). The festival at Koorkencherry Shiva Temple (near Trichur) is very famous for the “Kaavadi-Attam”. People carry tall, steeples (decorated frames of wood) on their shoulders and twirl round and round to the beat of music by a band of musicians.
No liquor, no drug can give one high like twirling a “Kaavadi” for an hour or so.
My father has done it. He says that they would also pluck ripe juicy mangoes from Mr.Kumarettan’s tree, twirling their Kaavadi while they pass through his courtyard, in his youth.
This has been happening. This is the way things are. I don’t know why. I can’t understand why do people do such things? I really don’t know.
I am a convent-educated gent. Before I ever saw the inside of a temple, I had been to church about a hundred times. I had been to rosaries, christenings, Christmas and New Year celebrations …. Enid Blyton’s England was more familiar to me than native Kerala.
My childhood was spent amongst the Goan community in Bombay (Mumabi). My early readings on religion was books for children on Christian Saints like St.Thomas, St.Francis, St.George…. in the Library at the Christian seminary run by Malayalee Franciscan priests, which was close to our house then.
But then, I have to fear the Matrix. I have to run. I have to choose a pill. A red one. Or a blue one.
If I choose the red one, I am a right wing Hindu fanatic fascist BJP/RSS/Bajrang Dal moron.
If I choose the blue one, I am a freethinker, there on bright green fields with fellow peaceful, saintly, intellectual, sane people with John Lennon’s “Imagine” playing in the background.
Now the problem is, for me there are not just two pills. For me there is a million other pills in a plethora of colours promising a multitude of choices.
“"The Matrix is a parable of the original Judeo-Christian worldview of entrapment in a world gone wrong, with no hope of survival or salvation short of something miraculous.””
My religion already gives me a million choices and ways of exploration. Hinduism is already a search for truth, without having to break from the bondage that Christians or Muslims (or in short people belonging to Semitic religions) face from the dogma of the book and Church/Ummah.
How strange. I was already born a freethinker. And still am.
But I still wonder at the beauty of this world as if from afar. Is it the kind of education, the reading… whatever …. that makes me so un-participatory, so aloof, so questioning.
The Matrix is very typical analogy of a religio-philosophy that shoves the soul of man in to a heaven or hell after he dies. (I really don’t know what is in stake for woman (mostly Hell), or if there is a possibility of God being a woman).
It is the ultimate fear psychosis-expression of materialist, fascist, religious world-view that has to fight out neo Jehads and Crusades. The Jehadis and the Born Again Christians. Someone fervently wants me to add “Hindu Facists” to that list. (Why I won’t is another Blog yet to be written).
One does not have to jump buildings and duck bullets in slow motion to find the truth. On just needs to look within. Each person has the answer. It has always been there.
I know you know. I know you know I know.
I am not going to run. To escape from the minions of the Matrix.
I am going to sit
A dry leaf waft
Down down down
It falls on the pond