True to Form


Having a child sometimes makes you want to go back to your roots, especially during festivals.

A strange thing has been happening in my household for the past few months. Re pulls out a shrine, usually a Ganesha figurine or a framed deity (duly inherited from my mother), joins his palms, closes his eyes and recites an incantation. Sometimes he asks me to join in, sometimes the cats are asked too. One day he noticed that my three-legged cat Bravo had a leg missing, and came up to me with a problem.

– "Mamma, Bravo cannot join hands."

– "Yes, he lost one of his legs when he was a baby. But he has three good legs, and he can do anything he wants," I tell him.

– "I am going to buy a new leg for him. A pink leg."

Re loves to pray. It's a thing he has perhaps inherited from my mother. It's something he has brought back into my life. It's something the husband, the resolute atheist, has also begun to accept, and I often find him and Re crosslegged, palms joined, eyes closed on the sofa, praying to a sometimes imaginary, sometimes real idol.

I don't remember when I stopped enjoying festivals. Perhaps it had something to do with my never-ending singledom. Or the fact that I never had any "good news" to share with the extended family, other than the work I was doing or the places I had been to. Perhaps it was because every ritual or festival was tangentially intended towards finding a good husband or keeping the one you had, or at best, creating more wealth.

But since I had a child, I have begun to look out for, and often find new meaning in rituals. Why do we light diyas during diwali? Why does Ganesha have to be immersed? Why do we draw Krishna's footprints on Janmashtami? Why do we play with colour on Holi? I need the answers, because Re asks the questions.

... contd.

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