The Egg February 19, 2008Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, Family, india, Lifestyle, Random, Religion, Thoughts, Travel, Urban, Writing.
Tags: atheist, Bhimashankar, Bombay, brahmin, eggs, jamshedpur, mushroom, pune, shiva, trance, Urban
We know not who we are. Seems a cynical statement. World weary, sick of life and the only way to redeem oneself it to condemn, reject and obliterate. Could be true.
I met my parents after 9 months. Like all families our family too is happy and sad in their own unique way. We are what people call traditionalists. Brahmins. Brahmins in India assume to be a superior breed. Some of them do, most old-timers did. Supposed to be the highest in the Hindu pecking order. Obviously that’s not the case.
My family too has its shares of believes, customs and more importantly opinions. I am a vegetarian. Most of my clan is. Most of my friends from childhood have been meat-eaters. I could have easily become one but didn’t. That’s a different story. I don’t hate them etc. I can wash their plates if that proves anything.
Me and my parents met in Pune. I like Pune. It reminds me of my hometown Jamshedpur. After a family function it was time for religious tourism. Bhimashankar is 3 hours from Pune. We hired a car. The owner who also drove was very courteous and cultured. The kind of valet that a gentleman will kill for. Pre-empting, reading the mind of the person with him. So Ratan was good.
I proclaim that I am an atheist. I don’t go to temples etc on my own. But when I accompany people, I pray sincerely. Very confusing. Bhimashankar is devoted to Lord Shiva, one of the most-powerful Gods of the holy trinity. He is also the one assigned the dirty job of finishing evil so that good can take birth. So Shiva is ‘The Destroyer’. He is also favoured by people who smoke pot or any other intoxicant. Many a trance lover has worn a t-shirt with Shiva, either dancing ‘Tandav’ or meditating in a yogic pose. So I like Shiva.
En route we spoke on a variety of topics. Mostly religious from my parents. The stories, legends and myths that they know and can tell. An eye-opening experience. You realize the many things that you don’t know and your immodesty in proclaiming otherwise.
Some religious places can give you a religious experience. Even an atheist can experience a ‘religious experience’. Following branded religion has nothing to do with it.
So I entered the sanctum sanctorum and the prayers began and it will be enough to say that I was touched. In the midst of all the God-intoxication when my eyes were shut, I heard the flute. The Flute is the preferred musical instrument of Lord Krishna, the most famous of the holy trinity. I thought I was hearing things and decided to check and here was this old man whose eyes were shut, lost in the music he was playing. All things came together.
We had lunch and slowly entered the chaos of Bombay (Mumbai). My parents who had more than an idea of my girlfriend were received by her. It was very cordial. They also knew that we all were supposed to stay together. For a conservative Hindu family this is almost sacrilege.
But my parents are strange in a strange way. They never imposed any of their ideals, respected my privacy and never interfered. So they entered the house, didn’t say a word. saw our cat called Fish and wondered if it would bite. So far so good. Everything was cool and the question of sustenance came up. What for Dinner?
She suggested ‘mushrooms’. Things have never been the same.
At the same time that these magical words were uttered, the fridge door was also opened to give my mom a picture of neatly arranged eggs, almost smiling back at them.
Affront. Belief. Custom. Tradition. The Hindu burden came crashing down. She asked me if I plan to feed her food cooked in the ‘same utensils’. When the dreaded word is not spoken but hinted at you know that the portents are not good. Even Macbeth shied from saying ‘murder’. I thought she was over-reacting but suggested that I will buy new utensils. We have a maid who cooks. But mother said no, I will cook.
Since then all talk has been few and far between. My girlfriend is pissed. Her high hopes of meeting them have come to a naught. I tried to express this twice to my parents, that we can all talk and have a good time; what else is life for? They are convinced that I was trying to impose cordiality deliberately. Now there is no such thing.
My parents have gone off to a cousin’s house. They had to anyways, but now it seems as if they have in anger. My girlfriend has decided that she will stay at her friends. She is convinced that it’s because of her.
Life’s wonderful. Fish is meowing like never before for the last 2 nights. Both of us wonder if she is sick. we still have to take her to a doctor.
In the meantime I am getting a hateful toothache. There are presentations at work. My parents who had plans of staying for a month, might leave in a week.
What for? I wonder. Because of me staying in with the person I love. No, not that. Because of the ‘mushroom-egg’ combination? Evidently yes. But that got solved I thought with the purchase of new kitchen equipment. Because it was all too sudden for them?
God knows. I know, laugh.