When yours truly was hitting the eight year past twenty, my mother decided to take me to a ‘Shiv Mandir’. She was getting paranoid about my single status and started to resort to pandits. I generally gave in, because I knew how worried she used to be. We were instructed by a priest, that we should make offerings of milk and money and feed a cow/bull some grass. Not knowing the protocol we decided to be led by the people we find near the temple. No milk was bought because the nearest vendor was next to a masjid. My mother decided that might not be the best source to please the above mentioned god. The temple was being washed and prepared for devotees like us. When the pandit, swept up some water that washed the ‘lingum’ and drank some himself, my mother almost reprimanded his actions. We were told to make atleast one round around everything that was in the center. So we did and I walked out. By this time I was done with the sham. My mother trying her last bit of good luck, asked me to feed cows waiting outside. Since there were two, I fed them both. It just didn’t seem right that one should go hungry just because I only wanted one husband. This incident remains my favorite story to tell people, when they ask me what they should do to find a good husband.
I wish I knew better. But I don’t. I am jealous of people who know when to bow their heads, when to touch the feet of the deity, when not to, how to cover their head, how to put two hands together and pray. I often wonder what people are saying when they close their eyes and appear deep in conversation. I have mentioned before my inability to do what ‘others do’ in a temple, at a place of worship or homes where ‘mandirs’ are put together.
A part of me thinks it is arrogance. I don’t want to do what others do. I don’t want to mimic. I want to do my own thing. My faith should be palpable. I shouldn’t need offerings, money or incense to prove anything. Part of me thinks it is ignorance. While I learned to have faith, I wasn’t taught how to converse.
I have been told that I should converse in the language that best suits me. I should freely and openly verbalize my thoughts. I should if needed repeat my wishes, dreams and desires.
Today being Sunday the husband and I decided to trek to the temples. We make a stop at all the three temples in the area and finish off with a sumptuous South Indian meal offered in one of them. While I watched people including the husband bow, pray, and meditate, I for the first time verbalized my thanks to Shiv Bhagwan for the wonderful man next to me. I felt that even though my mother and I may not have known what to do in that temple then, he had answered our prayers.