Thursday, November 5, 2015

Belief in God!

I have never really known my father as a religious man.  He has never been one for the ceremonies that surround, and sometimes take over, a religion.  Yes, he would participate in them. More because he was asked to, not because he initiated them.

For ever so long, I have known him to wake up in the morning, sit cross-legged on the bed and pray.  When I have asked, "What is the prayer you say", he had responded with, "I meditate." On my trips to visit him at my sibling's homes, he would light a diya and agarbatti (incense stick) every day after his bath.

So when I brought him to Delhi, I created a small place in his home with a couple of photos and idols, thinking he would want to continue with his prayers or at least with the ritual of lighting an agarbatti and diya. But he didn't. I kept asking him why till one day he told me that he wanted a photo of Thirupati Venkateshwara (our family deity).

Given that I am not a religious person, it took me some time to find a photo for him. He still would not continue with his prayers or lighting a diya and agarbatti.

The Sparkler Exhibit
at Select Citywalk
On this weekend's outing, we talked about Diwali. He loved the decorations, especially the sparkler exhibit. He insisted that I get a snap of him smiling in front of the exhibit!

So I thought it was a good time to see if he would want to go back to praying, or even just lighting a diya and agarbatti every day after his bath.

He patiently watches me as I clean the mandapa and photos, and lay out the diyas and agarbatti stands.  He listens to me intently as I tell his attendants what to do.  And then......

Me:  "Anna, I have set up everything so that you can light a diya and agarbatti after your bath.  Its 10 days to Diwali. You should do this every day.

Anna, with little interest: "OK"

Me: "Anna, why have you lost interest in doing this? You used to be so regular"

Anna, giving me a sideways glance: "What is there to pray for now? Nothing can change. There is no need."

My heart stops.

I don't have the heart to ask him why.

I don't have the heart to tell him that it's OK if he doesn't want to pray.

I don't have the heart to tell him I will put away the mandapa and paraphernalia if he wants.

I don't have the heart to ask him to pray for no suffering and an easy end.

And then, yesterday morning, he lights a diya and agarbatti after his bath.  I think he does it for me. Because I told him to.  Because I put in the effort to set things up for him.


  1. The faith still remains. Am sure. He is a great man... I can relate with it.

  2. Pradyum - he would not call himself great. He is very amused that I "write on the internet" and there are so many people who read it! :-)
    I truly think he is doing this for me more than himself at this point.