Monday, January 17, 2005

Hidden vestiges of suppressed superstitions

Lata flung her duppatta carelessly across her shoulders as she heard the door bell.. there were two women at the door, one a rather apologetic looking skinny female and the other a rather prosperous looking, with a wide smile plastered on her face…uh…oh…its one of those door to door requests for donations- offerings to some renowned temple…even though she was not very superstitious , she was weary of taking risks where family health and safety was concerned..after all it was just the matter of a little bit of change -, in the face of other things, she reasoned…she listened impatiently to the skinny woman out as she babbled of the story of some brother in law whose marriage got fixed due to the Goddess’s benevolence, and how the favour had to be repaid with the help of devotees like herself…and how it would bring blessings to her, her husband and kids… if it was not a delayed wedding, it would be a long awaited off spring… she did not understand the connection but oh well..

She came back with 10 rs, they asked for 1 re more, there was none, she gave them 2 rs…and then the plump woman started behaving most awkwardly…like she was going into some sort of trance …the skinny woman explained that The Goddess was entering her and was asking for a kilo each of turmeric and Kumkumam- vermillion- and she-Lata- was The Blessed One to be chosen by the Goddess to make this offering which would surely bring untold prosperity and good fortune to her family…and if she chose not to accede, well the consequences…the threat was left un uttered and yet resounded in silence…

Now Lata did not believe in rituals, or offerings as such…she believed in the Universality of a Superior Power irrespective of religion, caste, creed, but at this moment it dawned on her that she was not strong enough in her convictions to just shut the door at the face of the two women…just in case, you see, after all the well being of her near and dear ones were at stake…how can one take the risk…her faltering was so obvious to the women they realized that here was a very gullible victim whose weakness could be well utilized… She felt exploited, emotionally blackmailed as they eked out of her some more money though much lesser than what they asked…she felt like a fool after they left…tears of impotent rage and humiliation coursed through her cheeks…as she realized that she was such a gullible fool… She could not fathom how she who had prided herself to be such a rational woman fell prey to such an obvious ploy…sometimes the fear of the unknown just assumes impractical, illogical hues…she had only herself to blame… she wished she possessed “powers” to “curse” those women who identified and untapped the hitherto hidden, illogical, irrational vestiges buried deep within her…

Sometimes education, information, technology just does not suffice in the face of illogical insecurities especially when the surroundings, the environment, the people around are also steeped in orthodox traditions and beliefs…it is a solitary struggle and nobody listens anyway…it seemed so pointless on retrospect, so silly…and yet it had happened….a long way to go, and she had thought she was almost there…sigh…may be it was easier just not to answer the door..

No comments: