Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The God of Small Things
It started with a journey in the middle of the night. A night, so terribly cold that my entire body had gone numb. I seriously thought I could die (No Really !) Travelling in a tempo traveller without a heater is not THAT a good idea after all. And after eight hours of journey on the Delhi Jaipur Highway, I made it. I was finally at Ajmer, a city which mesmerized me with its small alleys, kachori stalls, women selling colourful bangles off the streets and architecture which takes you several century back. Be it broken beams, elaborate gateways or monuments , you cannot help but gape at those pristine structures which stand as a testimony to times, old and new. And yes, there was a man peeing away to glory, facing one of the gateways. (:/) How disgusting.
Anyway,Ajmer Sharif. My first visit to an Islamic or should I say Sufi Shrine. The roads leading up to the Dargah were filled with people wearing skull caps and with children and handicapped men seeking for alms. There were shops on both sides selling clothes, shoes, sweets and what not.I made my way to the shrine touching the silver walls and the beautiful engravings which were truly a treat to the eyes. As we stood in line in the premises to enter the main building, there were religious guards coming up ordering women to cover their heads completely. After standing under the desert sun for over half an hour with people about cribbing shafts of hair, I thought it might not be my day after all. And then I saw him.
The last time I looked in that direction there were men and women with huge brooms cleaning the open space in front of the dargah. But now, there were a host of people sitting with harmoniums, dhols all ready to sing. And amongst them sat he, eyes dreamy, with ruffled hair peeping out from underneath his skull cap. The next time I saw him was after coming out of the Dargah. He was clapping his hands , singing loudly following the lead of the main singer. And almost immediately I knew that he could not sing. His voice was so out of tune that I almost smiled as I turned to look at him. To my surprise, he was looking straight at me without even bothering to blink. Meanwhile, several members of the group I came with apparently got lost so I took the extra time out for shamelessly gawking at handsome stranger who continued to stare at me off and on.
He stood up once. Looking brusque yet vulnerable. And boy he was tall. AND considering the typical girl I am, I couldn't hep but notice that his peach color kurta happened to seamlessly fit his muscular self. What I could not understand was that even when I feigned a smile , he continued to look at me, expressionless. The writer in me was intrigued. I thought, - "There must be a story behind such a young man being in a Dargah trying to serve the Lord while most people his age dream of conquering the world entire." As I left the premises, I could feel his eyes, following me. I looked back for the last time, and walked out, with the sound of music getting drowned by the cacophony of the urban squalor.
Prior to this experience, I had a certain discord with God. But now I felt as if he exists. Primarily because it is always easier to relate when you find someone closer to your age group completely surrendering himself in the presence of almighty. True, his benign self can't be restricted to some supposed shrine, as he resides in every individual who is in search of new things, places and a new self. But for someone like me, who is a dreamer, who gets lost in bright daylight, who is often found to stare at strangers for inspiration finding or at least looking out for GOD was certainly not on my to do lists. But now I feel it should. For he is the God of small things,of fond memories, incessant cravings, of greed, lust, passion, hunger, strife and such varied emotions which makes life so special. No wonder every religious book in the world talks about the same thing. "To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget."