Sunday, March 09, 2014
A very dear friend of mine, from one of the Abrahamic religions tried, in all earnestness, last evening, to open my eyes, to make me see how ridiculous it was that one of my gods was riding a peacock, the other a lion, how outrageous it was that an elephant’s head should fit a human body, what a confusion it was that there should be a god of death, one for wealth, one for learning, one for creation, one for destruction, a whole bunch of them, their wives, their children, their pet animals...3 lakhs in all...
...how on earth could an intellectual like me believe that all of them wore sarees, or dhotis, wore a bindi on forehead, ornaments, have a chakra a one hand, an axe in another, a bow in one more, ten hands in all... and all of them were born in India, what a coincidence!
And what did they do? One watched women bathe in rivers, the other sent his wife away when he knew she was chaste,...are these the kind of things Gods do? No, all of your ‘stories’ have been written by men, intelligent men, that’s not who God is, there is Only One...
I smiled through this for over 2 hours, rather amused, for he was genuinely trying to save me from damnation.
I also realized anew, something plain that I have always known.
Someone who knows to count up to ten, surely knows the number one. But to someone who knows only the number one and cannot count beyond one, it must be so difficult to understand the possibility of 2, 3,... 8, 9... and must inevitably deny any number other than one.
For the first time, I saw how genuinely difficult it must be for others to grasp what we so easily understand, an understanding we seem to be born with and therefore take for granted. How vast, how plentiful, how colourful, how multitudinous our religion is and how easily we get it all, without constantly stumbling upon this conflict, that contradiction, how that and why so and all... how much more easier it is for us to ‘get’ the Bible, or the Quran than it is for them to get a Mahabharat, or the Geetha...
There was this 3 year old child in the family that could count up to 3 and no more.
On, tu, thee.
Any question you asked, ...how many trees in the compound, how many days a week, how many idlis you want...
You always got one answer. Thee. It was yet to learn 4, 5 and the rest of the numbers.
And it’s naivette was so cute. Who ever would think of being angry with it?
I wouldn’t smile at blasphemy from anybody and everybody, but this was a very dear friend, a perfect gentleman, sincerely trying to save me from damnation.
Monday, February 17, 2014
1st July 2010
The entrance to Leh is a work of intricacy and a difficult one to photograph because you usually pass through it in a vehicle, not on foot, so you have to shoot from a moving vehicle; also, there is continuous traffic moving in and out...you have to wait for some calm to get an unobstructed view of the arch...and before you have got it right, you have left it behind... so much like so many good things in life.
As we drove towards Hemis, the spectacle of spaces stretching till the end of the world and rising into a border of mountains had lost its sharpness to the wooly mist that hung about them.
But not for long.
Those striations! I spent most of my camera on these wonderful striations.
Uniform strokes of a paint brush.
Layers of dry fruit in a sand-brown cake.
Hard jagged rock that will kill if you touch.
The lush patch of green was a novelty.
I hadn’t even imagined it possible in this setting, during the last visit.
That purple streak on the mountain was the finishing stroke of the brush, just to break the monotony of brown and beige. Without that, the picture wouldn’t have been the same.