Dear God, I’ve been meaning to write to you for quite some time. In fact, I thought about it during the second week of September, when I came to meet you at the Malur temple. At that time the #IceBucketChallenge was at its peak and I saw you participate too, except it wasn’t voluntary. You were not only doused with ice cold water, but also ghee, milk, curd, honey, sugar, banana pulp, turmeric and so much more. You were in the form of Lord Narasimha that day, the lion-headed form of Vishnu, mythically known for ripping out Hirankashapu’s intestines. I was wondering why people were feeding you, a carnivore, with things that I eat as a pure vegetarian. It struck me as bizarre. But Su offered me another explanation that those were not for you to eat, but they were used to give you a nice snaana so that you can have glowing skin – like royalty, is what she said. But for all I cared, it was just a waste of a packet of Nandini milk and curd, because you were just a rock, sitting there with a poker face, not responding to the beautifying treatment one bit. Instead of wasting it, I could have eaten it, or given it to one of those poor people outside the temple, who would have relished a rare meal delightfully.
Nevertheless, I had a pleasant time at Malur anyway amidst nature, the farmlands, the gigantic shady trees and the stray animals there. Also, at office yesterday, we also did a pooja for you. This time, you were in the form of Saraswathi, the flawless, calm Goddess who plays the veena. Or at least I’m guessing that’s who you were, because I couldn’t see the idol the poojari was dressing up. You were hidden beneath all those flowers and clothes. I was standing way at the back. You might not have seen me either. That pooja was like a test of patience for all of us in office. It went on for half an hour, and 30 people stood before you, shifting restlessly from one leg to the other, sending text messages to postpone meetings and waiting for the final aarti so they could get back to their chairs.
Now, you may wonder why I’m telling you all this. It’s just that every time these kind of mass prayers happen, I never get to talk to you enough. Besides, I’m more comfortable writing to you than talking to you. And I don’t get the point of mass prayers anyway, because at the end of the day, it’s just that one faithful person really praying to you. Everyone else is in their own world, mentally distracted. I don’t mean to offend you by saying you have just one guy praying to you, and I know you know what I mean because you can see right through me, through everybody. That’s what I’ve been told ever since I was born anyway. I don’t see a point in trying to make a conversation with you, because I need to have my eyes closed to concentrate, and a few people find it amusing when I keep my eyes closed. I have been through that phase of course, where I giggled when people tried to concentrate. It just doesn’t make sense. There’s too much distraction. The point of praying to you is to be able to talk to solely you, to thank you for everything you’ve given us and ask you for everything else that we want, right?
I wish you’d let people know that one doesn’t have to travel a thousand kilometres to see you and pray to you. Chumma you let these people do what they think will please you and you laugh at them inwardly. Don’t think I don’t know. It’s not cool, God.
Please somehow let people know that you don’t care about that hundred rupee note that they put in the aarti, or the silk saris they adorn you with or the thousand shlokas they chant without knowing what it means. (I myself can chant the entire vishnusahasranama and I have no clue what a single word means! This blogpost is way more meaningful to me.) Tell them that they don’t have to waste precious resources on idols, when there are a million poor people in this country who don’t have a single rupee. Tell them that all they have to do to please you is be good people. Tell them they don’t have to go out of their way to be good. Even a simple act such as picking something someone dropped and returning it to them is good, right? I sure hope so. It was nice talking to you, God. Thanks for listening.