Whispered Prayer

As I watch my baby sleeping
And stroke her soft hair
I can’t help but say
An earnest whispered prayer –

I pray you know you are so loved,
And are always surrounded by people who care,
That you have friends
Who will always be there.
That in this scary world
You are always safe
That in the arms of loved ones
You can always find solace
That you grow up to be kind
And help those in distress
That you experience heartbreak
And learn the power of forgiveness.
That you always have a roof
To cover your head
A meal at your table
A pillow and bed.
That you are always gentle
With those not as strong
That you have courage
And fight for those wronged
That you know you are beautiful
No matter what anyone says,
That you chase your dreams
And do well – all your days.

There is so much I pray,
For you, now sleeping so peacefully
But what I want most of all,
Is for you a good person to be.

Advertisements

The Innocent

They came out to join her as she waited, hands on her tense shoulders. It’d been ages since she’d been allowed to meet him. Today they’d finally given in to her pleas.

When she saw him coming, she ran to him sobbing, “Dada!!! I miss you so much!” He swallowed hard, holding her tight in arms that were ordinary except for a band of lighter coloured skin on one finger. There once was a ring there; matching one the woman at the door used to wear.

Looking upwards, bitterly he asked, “Why, God, are the innocent always the hardest hit?”

******

Written for Indispire – 68 hosted on Indiblogger.in – “Do you have questions for God?” #QuestionsForGod

Tying the knot

In India, did you know that there are more places of worship than schools or hospitals? Did you know that religious pilgrimage accounts for a sizable percentage of the total tourism every year? Did you know that studies have shown that the more educated we get the more the fundamental aspects of religion appeal to us? You may not have been aware of all that but you do know that everyone from cricketers to celebrities to politicians give generously to temples and other places of worship in the hopes of successfully bribing God into assuring them a good sporting series, movie or term in office. Right? So, does religion matter to us Indians? I don’t think I even need to answer that question…

VNY_4999Moving to marriage now, it’s a big step. It’s one of the most important responsibilities that a good number of parents believe they are entrusted with – making sure that their offspring are well settled so that they always have companionship and love in their lives. Most parents believe that that love will come only if the other person shares the same religious beliefs as their child. Perhaps, in a way, they’re not wrong. Any married person (unless they are really lucky) will tell you that marriage requires some amount of hard work. Even if you have matching horoscopes or have said the same prayers to the same God all your life; you’ll still have days when you want to wring his or her neck because you just can’t seem to agree on anything. It’s normal (I think). But, when you add religious differences to the mix, things can get dangerous. Remember, wars have been fought in the name of religion.

Being in love is beautiful. Finding someone who can make you happy and is there for you when you need them is a surreal feeling. I doubt that until things get really serious, religion even plays on your mind. But, when it does, suddenly knowing that there will come a day when you won’t enjoy the freedom to go to the place of worship you’ve gone to all your life seems like a frightening reality to me. The idea of having to compulsorily take a bath and perform a small religious ceremony before entering the kitchen in the morning, or having to wear a burqa and never venturing outside without a male chaperon, or eating with people who have no qualms about what kind of meat they are consuming or how the animal has been slaughtered becomes a very real future and one, which if it was me, I don’t know if I could handle. But, that’s just me.

Perhaps, all of it can be overcome if the couple is strong enough to face whatever or whoever opposes their union. Liberal enough in the way they think to adopt a lifestyle which is perhaps more spiritual than religious, in the conventional terms, and accept that their children will by default be registered with the same faith as the husband. Be willing to make compromises of a degree that I don’t think other marriages normally require, especially in our pretend-secular-tolerant India. Finally, to be so in love that the idea of being without each other is unfathomable. Without all of that, to my mind, the outlook of inter-caste/faith/race/whatever marriages succeeding in a country of such high religious fervour is not that bright.

So, I don’t think the concept of inter-faith marriage is entirely taboo. But, I feel that for it to become accepted as routine or normal, we need to abandon being religious and become spiritual instead.

******

Written for Indispire – 25 hosted on Indiblogger. – “Inter-religion marriage still taboo among Indians. You’re take.”

UBC13: Prayer

I’ve never been able to pray out loud except with my parents and brother during our evening prayers. One of my most embarrassing memories from school is stammering over the “Our Father” when I was asked to lead the rosary one week at my church. It’s a prayer I’ve known since before I could fully appreciate the deep meaning of the words, but I still drew a blank and had to be prompted. Since then, every time someone asks me to get up behind a mic and recite a common prayer, I’ve made sure I’ve had a copy of it in front of me. (For those of you who know me personally, I’m sure you don’t really believe me considering you are aware that I quite enjoy getting up in front of a crowd and talking…but, I promise you, it’s true).

I had pushed that childhood memory to the back of my mind but it came right back when my husband suggested becoming more regular hands-304398_640with our daily prayers and that I should lead. I did what anyone would do…I panicked. Me lead?? Erm… Even though I know in my heart it is a good idea, I still haven’t been able to get around to doing it.

So, I’ve done a lot of thinking and reading and I now realize that I’m uncomfortable, embarrassed and a little scared too, simply because for me prayer is a private conversation with God and not a group chat. Even if the group is just my husband and I. See, when I pray, I talk…like God is my buddy…I don’t usually say the prayers I learnt by heart when I was a child. I simply talk about my day, what I’m afraid of, what I’ve done and how I would like to be better. It’s not a conventional prayer in any sense. I admire people who can not only pray out loud with ease but also include everyone in the room in their prayer as well. As of last night, I still wasn’t one of those people. So, even though my husband suggested it and I know it’s a good plan, I still carry on with my silent prayers, hoping to be able to sit down with my husband and pray out loud in my own style one day. (I really hope that day is today).

What is your take on prayer? Do you deviate from the conventional recitation? Do you think you can pray out loud? Or like me, do you prefer private conversations?

******

/