Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Of Prayers and Maharaja's

I have no intention to belittle anyone's belief or practices. This is simply my thought process that wonders why and how we do these things.

This past weekend we were invited to pray with a few friends who were doing a Pooja. Now, if you know me, you know I am religious by choice. I love praying at convenience. I pray when someone is sad, or if I need something, I pray for the world and for you (even though you do not know me), I pray when I think a prayer is due. I do not believe that prayer is strictly restricted to temples, Pooja rooms at home or to festival days. In spite of all that, when I got invited to the Pooja, I was excited because it reminds me of India, and of course, anything that reminds me of India is always accepted without hesitation.

I loved this house, the people, the singing, the prayers, and the food. I was so happy to be a part of it all until I saw a man being called Maharaj and people taking blessings from him. He, I assume conducted the ceremony which I had missed. Does just conducting a ceremony and knowing the scriptures give someone the right to call themselves or let other call him a Maharaj? People were running all around to him to ensure he was standing in comfort, moved a few women around to ensure that he was sitting in comfort. Food was brought to him while the rest of us stood in a long line, people buzzed around to ensure that he was kept in God status. Now I wonder, what did he do to deserve this?

I cannot bring myself to seek blessings from people who are not related to me or not known to me. I feel uncomfortable and definitely NOT disrespectful. I love to do namaskar to my parents and people with whom I have a very special bond but not to strangers. If knowledge of religious scripture alone provides one with the status of a King then I have wasted 21 years of education. After all those hours and money spent on education and no one still cares enough to provide me comforts without me having to move a finger. I really hope that the Maharaj gentleman has done some good things too to deserve the love and respect he received that day. A lot of good things hopefully!!

- A Skeptic ART

Of Depression and being Depressed

I think it is the most indescribable feeling. You cannot express what you feel inside while you are smiling on the outside so the world sees that your life is alright. It is most definitely not but you are too ashamed to talk about it. It happens to most of us, at least once...

I sat watching daughter play tennis with three adult women doing a tennis clinic. She was having fun, giggling, running, and playing good strokes. The coach was happy while I kept telling her to run. I sat down on the bench waiting for the coach to kick her out and say buh-bye. She had had a long evening but was still going on with a lot of gusto.

A lady sat sniffling next to me, she was busy wiping her tears, my daughter was actually warming up in her spot. I casually said, "it's a Monday, things get better closer to Friday." I did not want to trivialize her but I wanted her to know that things get better. She nodded and kept crying. This was in public view, everyone could see her, if she was crying out loud in the open then something is really off in her life. I asked her over a sip of water, "Everything all right? Do you want to talk?" This was a complete stranger and I was offering her my ears. Through her sniffles she said, "My husband, he is depressed, and he does not let me in."

"I get you," I said and she looked at me in shock. "I was there, we both were there, and I understand." She asked me, "how did you get out of it?" I replied, "I have no idea, I think we snapped out of it one fine day and you will too." She stood up and said, "I wanted to hear that, I wanted someone to say that it will all be better but no one can understand. All my friends keep asking me and are getting nosy. I don't want to talk about this with them. My life is a mess."

"No one can empathize with you, this is only your pain. Even people who have been through this forget what it was like very soon. We have a transient memory only latching on to the good times. You have no one to explain but yourself," I reassured her and she nodded her head, held my hand and said, "Now, I will go and vent some frustrations on the tennis balls." She walked away into the court as my daughter came out sweating. We walked back to our car chatting and my daughter asked me, "who was that lady talking to you, did you know her?"

No, I did not know her, she was a stranger but I really hoped that things worked out for her. That she would wake up tomorrow and her life would turn around just like it did for me. I know it was not easy and I will still not talk about it to anyone but when it does, it is amazing. The feeling of finding what was lost is something you cannot express in words. I have other friends who are going through similar issues in life and I see them and hope I can chat with them but the door is always shut. I hope they also find solace in the words of a stranger or open up to a trusted friend. Depressed or not life goes on...at least for everyone else.

Arty Art!