Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Faith .... Forever

Heated discussions were always intriguing for Kannan throughout his life, whether he was a part or no.  Many of his thoughts, actions and decisions were born out of such discussions. It is during the teens when everyone had the urge to leave the blood boil and think to rebel against anything conventional. Kannan had strong belief in God and was so devout, that he would spend hours praying even at a tender age of five. He had his own set of idols and considered them more sacred than anything in the world. The young mind of four was influenced by many instances which made him more and more intense in his prayers. The prayer time was when he used to talk to his Gods in person. Ask them what they wanted, tell them about school and friends and everything that happened to him on a day to day basis.

"Would he take a path of an ascetic" Amma thought seeing all this and shared the worry with Appa, who was alarmed but kept his cool.

He was put to drawing and painting, which was his other passion other than prayers, as that could take him away from the path Appa and Amma worried he would take. But even when he lived his passion of being in the world of colors, the faith in him was going strong. He had his own time with God in private for hours still. It was also the outcome of how he was treated by his cousins who kept him away from all the fun they had as he was too small. 

The cousins together had a game of "City City" where each one would have a part to play more like a live arcade game or Farmville. Deepika, Mohan mama's daughter, would run a mock restaurant "Rock View Restaurant" on the pile of Stones on one corner with Dosa made of Paper being served in small aluminum plates, Pachai would become the vegetable dealer with all that she could gather from the area - like the small garden huckleberries (Manathakkali as they call it), ripe guavas and jamun from the tree in front of Mohan Mama's house or even tamarind from the nearby trees, they had their own currency and Krishna and Ram, the elder ones would take their cycles and be the public transport. The city even had police and Raj would be the one with his cute police uniform with a whistle on  dangling in a rope nicely tucked in the top left pocket of the shirt.

"You are God's child and you should run the temple" said the elder ones to Kannan

He would wait for someone to come to the temple where he would have an orange colored Hanuman fridge magnet as the deity. But everyone would be busy in their work.

"Please come to the temple for darshan or aarti" Kannan would plead to the other
"Don’t come out of the temple, be there" would be the reply

The game would go on till dusk, where they would have successfully avoided the menace of handling the young Kannan. He would keep on talking to God with his bright big eyes filled with tears.

"Why don’t they let me play... Please Hanuman.. Please Maruti..." he would plead.

But this was a daily affair and he was taken closer to Gods who would listen to him without rebuke. He moved into his own world of prayers and colors. He felt safe being alone than being avoided by the others. Had that made him more secluded and remorse or is it the faith that was built through the stories of Gods and Goddesses he heard. 

Every moment of his life was spent in thoughts of Gods and prayers. He was stuck on to it for a very long time till one day. He was walking by the side of the old tiled house of Mohan mama. He was pulled by a heated argument. It was a discussion between Murugan anna and Mohan mama. Murugan Anna was doing his engineering, but had his mind in Magic. He had a green trunk filled with magic items and he would perform from time to time. The twelve year old Kannan looked up to him and thought he would be a great magician one day. His thoughts were different and were considered rebellious. 

"Mohan mama ... I don’t agree with your thought" He said and Kannan thought, how anyone can talk like that to Mohan mama like that.

It was a discussion between the past and the present, a dialogue between generations. Murugan was in his carelessly folded full sleeve white shirt and Khakis and Mohan mama was in the tradition dhoti and shirt with his forehead smeared with holy ash and sandal paste. Murugan was fair and turned red while talking to Mohan mama who kept his calm silent nature and would speak in a very low tone. 

"These temples and your beliefs all are false..." Kannan was shattered to hear it from Murugan, someone who was his idol.

For a second he thought... "Is it true, Gods, temples.... " He was more fascinated by the thought 

"You put money in the temple and ask for what you want. You pay money as offering for something in return, is that not bribe" Murugan asked in a raised voice to one of the respected personalities of the family, Mohan mama.

"These are communist thoughts and we don’t think like that in our family. You are misled" said Mohan mama.

But that was an answer not very satisfying for Kannan or Murugan, though he was not in the discussion. The discussion moved into rational thoughts and things which Kannan had never heard before. He could see Mohan mama fuming in Anger when his sister son was speaking a language no one spoke in the very orthodox family. The words like culture, tradition and higher spirituality was being thrown on Murugan, which was dealt with thoughts of Voltaire, Engels and other rational thinkers with facts and figures. The discussion ended with a decision that Murugans thoughts have been poisoned by bad influence. 

It was a turning point in Kannan's life too. He thoughts started moving astray and with no one to guide him. His choice of books moved from classics and mythology to Engels, Rousseau and more on rational thoughts. After moving to Trivandrum, Kannan's loneliness and thoughts made him difficult to manage for Amma alone. They got him a tutror, a college student, who would make him sit in one place and study. Tutored by a Suresh, an ardent Communist Marxist Leninist doctrine follower, Kannan was moving more towards Atheism and Rationalism. Their study time turned to be study classes for extreme communism. From Cuba to Chile and China to Russia. More than tutor and student, they became comrades discussing revolution and rationalism. He stopped prayers and spent very less time in them. He moved towards the world of letter and books, still alone. The loneliness built a world of his own within himself.

Kannan's faith was replaced by red thoughts. He remained between being Agnostic or Atheist till his time in Dubai in 1998. He had left his job and was about to return. With not much money left with him even to buy a square meal, the scorching summer sun, and the thoughts of why all this had to happen was dragging him into more thoughts. All he had were a few friends. The beared cafeteria shawarma make Ismailikka, Feroz, the waiter their, Javed at the restaurant on his way back, Parvez and a few other. He had nothing to tell them, nothing to give them. Kannan was leaving for good and had no idea what his next moment would be. His thoughts were as dry as his throat cracking for a drop of water. He wished he had a coin to pick up a bottle of cold water from the vending machine.

"Is there God... Why is it that I have to go through all this ..." Kannan wondered

He was walking by the wayside when his thoughts were disrupted by a call from behind

"Iyer ... Iyer..." Javed called out at the top of his voice. 

He would meet Javed on the late evening walks from office to the apartment every day. Javed and his friends worked for a small restaurant and they had not been getting their salaries for months. The chacha who used to make rotis in the restaurant used to give him rotis at times.

Javed, with his red waiters vest and black pants, came running and took a bunch of soiled notes and placed it in Kannan's hands, a few hundred dirhams in total. 

"We would have done the same if our brother was stranded here ...Keep this ... you will need it" Javed's eyes had tears of joy and Kannan's heart filled with tears which were looking for an outlet through the eyes. Kannan never new whether he would be able to repay them for the love they showered on him then. He looked up to the sky with a scorching sun or was it his mind where he felt the heat but the wind of love cooled him in an instant.

A moment can change your life for sure and this one did change Kannan's life. God’s works in ways we can never decipher. The touch on the shoulder from Javed was God’s hands for sure. Kannan never doubted his faith from then on. Every breath was more of a prayer since then ... even today.

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