I was born a hindu, or so they sayAnother addition to the majority
My caste gave me power,
and my religion, authority.
Saffron was the color of my heart.
I was taught to pray with my hands folded
And eyes shut.
I had to chant mantras, which had the names of my uncles
Narayana, narayana and Om namah Shivaya.
Temple is the house of god,
my grandmother said,
But, I couldn't see god anywhere.
All I could see was a stone idol,
dressed up like a doll.
The image smiled at me,
and I prayed fervently,
"Where is god, is he hiding?,
or, is he a 'she'?
Does god have a gender?"
Pujas were performed to please the deity,
Prasad was given after, chandan and kumkum,
with appam, plaintain and flowers.
sweet smelling sandalwood evoked
a motion picture of images
that trailed my eyes and arose
a sense of imagination.
red blood color the kumkum
tortured me with pain and thoughts of suffering.
both intermingled to give solace on my forehead.
As my eyes darted left and right,
I saw old men
seated on a stage
talking about worldly matters.
before me, there were women
middle-aged, some old, others young.
it doesn't matter what age,
women at any can still gossip.
and I thought only devout worshipers came to the temple.
All the men and women were guests,
at the temple of God.
Come, let's have a cup of tea,
chat and then go back to your illusioned world.
robbing us of our individuality,
binding us to society
like poison to the body.
religion is like an iron chain that rusts,
chortles my throat,
neither can I spit, nor swallow.
Like a shot of morphine,
that brings delirium,
the disorder, that gives birth to violence.
Burn all these faiths,
the cross, the star, and the idols
what for is this faith,
that hides you from the truth.
God is not a religion,
s/he is a be-ing, you and me,
break away all ties,
and raise your hands and say yet,
"Yes, I have a religion,
the religion of mankind."