We’ve all seen the movie ‘Life of Pi’. It’s an amazing movie with awe-inspiring graphics and a heart-lifting soundtrack. The resilience displayed by Pi instils within us the belief that if you have faith, anything is possible.
However, one inconsequential thing which would have leeched onto our minds like a parasite would be Pi’s Religious Plurality.
His religious plurality is evident in the fact that he visits the temple, attends mass at the Church and never fails to pray in the Mosque on Fridays. This is reflected in his calm demeanour and serene attitude. Indeed, religion and the concept of God play a very integral part of the movie.
This particular post is a memoir of how I became Piscine Molitor Patel for a day; an evening to be specific.
Of my voyage into 6 major religions in the space of a few hours.
Of my fledgling attempt to understand the minds of people.
Of my attempt to escape the throes of boredom.
Let the voyage begin.
Okay. I’m being brutally honest here.
It was the Boredom.
Extreme, mind-numbing boredom.
Boredom is a fickle thing.
It sometimes brings out extreme creativity within a person. Creativity as never experienced before, assails us, bashes into our minds, possessing us to almost mercurial levels, never leaving us and constantly bugging us until we end up doing something.
Or sometimes, we fall dead to the world and enter the intoxicating mind palace of slumber.
That particular day, I had one of those rare mo’s where I had a choice.
Or doing something crazy.
Crazy I chose. xD
A germ of an idea grew in my head.
I wanted to go around Bangalore, an uncharted territory by me, alone, with no idea where I was going. I hopped on a bus.
And off I went.
I went to the temple first.
Temples are wonderful structures which most people don’t appreciate. A look into the seeming intricacies into the architecture will leave you spellbound. Every single pillar is carved out of a single piece of rock! One. Rock! Just imagine the difficulties in transporting a huge piece of rock over tens of hundreds of kilometres, carving it with precision and fitting it. Now imagine doing that for a hundred pillars. Add to that the need to make the Temple structurally soundproof so as to make it stand for hundreds of years.
An Architect’s nightmare.
A king’s dream.
A city’s pride.
This particular temple is called Kempamma Devi temple. Kempu
In Kannada means ‘Red’. The founder of Bangalore City, Kempagowda, used to love this temple so much that he named himself after the temple!
Serene and calm, like a ripple-less pond, the Temple beckons us.
Hinduism is a way of life. You see different kinds of people at the Temple.
Devotees prostrating themselves before their God.
Foreigners taking pictures.
A priest going about doing his Pooja.
A child running around.
Beggars going about doing their occupation.
Hawkers outside the temple selling their wares.
Indeed, this seems chaos. This doesn’t seem like a ripple-less pond! More like Ranganathan Street at peak time. However, there is Order in this Chaos. All the activities of various people are centred and dependant on the deity. To the close observer, a symbiotic relationship is visible.
Hawkers. Priests. Tourists. Devotees.
All of them require or desire the Temple.
And the Temple needs them.
As I stood and watched this bustling spectrum of life,
I felt fulfilled.
*No picture of that particular Church available in the net. I’ve been let down by the net :'(*
My feet carried me to a Church.
This particular church was in the grounds of a school. A little apprehensive, I entered the Church. I half expected a man to shout at me and say that I can’t enter the Church since I wasn’t a Christian.
Nothing untoward happened.
That’s the first word that comes to my mind when I think of a Church.
The familiar architecture, the open arms welcoming you, the feeling of Belongingness… you feel Part of.
Sitting there, I listened to a priest sing prayers and preach in Kannada.
I didn’t know the meaning of the words.
But I understood them.
No matter which religion it is, being in the presence of a God; an idol people perceive to be a higher power, I automatically say One Prayer. Just one. This may be because I’m an Agnostic, or maybe because I don’t want any wishes, but I don’t ask for anything.
My prayer has always been,
Thank You for everything you’ve done to me.
So after finishing thanking this higher being,
I left the Chruch,
With wholesomeness and satisfaction trickling into me,
Shridi Sai Baba Temple.
To be frank, I don’t know anything about Shridi Sai Baba. I don’t even know if he’s an extraordinary man or a God. If it’s a religion or anything.
I went for the PRASADAM *Eeee*
Prasadam. Prasadam. Prasadam. Prasadam. Prasadam.
I was fulfilled :’)
*No image of that particular Mosque available in the Internet. The internet has failed me :'(*
I admit it.
I was apprehensive.
I had no clue about this religion. A lot of my best friends are Muslims but I had a very vague idea how the religion as such worked. How to pray. What to wear. Should I wear that cap? Is there a specific way to pray?
No idea. Chop chop.
I consulted with my friend on the phone. Removed footwear.
In and Out. As simple as that.
What stuck on to my mind was a plethora of Greenness.
A blur of Green.
In and Out.
I have taken a small step to understand another religion.
And that effort left me fulfilled.
Wine Shop. xP
This is a religion right?
Millions of people are hooked onto it and can’t go on without it. Check.
The thought of it gives them motivation to go through the day. Check.
It gives them a sense of community bonding. Check.
Yup. Wine is a religion.
I pulled up a chair and saw the people walking in, buying bottles of wine, beer and an assortment of drinks and walk off.
I learn that they sell wine in tetra packs. xD
I learnt that they also sell Cavins milk, God knows why O.o
I learnt that people from all walks of life come to the roadside and buy wine from a simple shop. Wealthy businessmen. Simple coconut vendors. Old people. Mid-20s. Tall. Short. Fat. Thin. Dark. Dark.
All for a Quarter.
I learnt a lot that day.
In a weirdly garbled way, I felt fulfilled.
This is MY religion.
I have many gods.
Basketball. Cricket. Football.
These are my Religions. And the balls are my Gods. _/|\_
I went there and I finished off my highly fulfilling day with a game of Football.