Rachna

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Rachna

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:29 am

(i made this post in 1998 in sulekha CH in a thread about local mandirs. it is purely fiction.)

When I was in college, I visited a temple once. I was in a deep emotional state of reverence and devotion then. The girl I was going out with was Hindu. And I worshipped her. She wished to go the temple. I followed her.

At the mandir, she broke a coconut. I broke one at her feet. She clasped her hands in prayer and I too clasped her hands in prayer. She bowed in reverence. I bowed to her - no, not me, them, them, she urged, pointing towards the pantheon, and I quickly changed postured. I bowed to Rama and Sita and Durga and Kali. The Madir was a highly romantic place, I felt, and a woman with such religious devotion in her heart would no doubt make a devoted companion. Twice she took me to the mandir, once to a religious play, once to a Durga festival and once to a Gita recital. I could never imagine myself in any of those situations without my lifeblood, my Rachna, my devotee, my Virgil, my eyes, my guide, without feeling a trifle lost, a trifle outcaste, a trifle paraiah. Alone, I'd feel all eyes turn at me at once, if I ever entered a mandir, as if I were wearing shoes or as if it was too late: too late now to seek penance, at least in this life. Without Rachna I would never have dared.

Rachna was my license to the world of diety and piety. It felt good to be clean and in love.

I don't know if Rachna ever loved me or if it was simply her zeal to proselytize. Needless to say I was born a Hindu and no one need have converted me to Hinduism. But I was never the bells clanging, barefoot walking, coconut breaking types. I accompanied Rachna on all her pilgrimages, whenever I was invited, and tasted, first hand, the coconut-milk like purity of religion, its edifices, its rocks and marbles of ecstacy, peace, fervour, and I felt ashes to ashes, dust to dust; I felt the web of maya whirl around me, I felt after-life, I felt Rachna, pure, clean, un-menstruating, draped in a starched clean sari, tikka on her forehead, smelling of sandalwood, standing before me, looking in my direction (for I always stood in the direction the gods faced).

Later I'd find a flaw in Rachna's character. She loved her gods and goddesses more than she loved me. This never struck her as incongruous. I did not care how much she loved me, for she loved me a lot (as I loved her a lot), but she always loved me a trifle less than her gods, always, always, a notch less, or so I felt. She'd die for me, but she'd die a litle bit more for Durga. I couldn't deal with this less-love. It was not her love that was important, but her relative love, her e = mc2 love. Despite loving her, I tore myself away from her. I was not content being second fiddle in her life. After all, she was my goddess, and I wished to be bestowed with the same status in her life. I sulked, I pouted, I withdrew into a shell. Puzzled, perplexed, she pursued me, demanding an explanation. I could not explain to her precisely what was it that I wanted or what was it that bugged me. I couldn't say it without sounding like a silly child and I couldn't live with it either. I wanted her to say, to shout, that she loved me more than her gods; but it just wasn't done, that too I realized. I couldn't demand of her such a thing, for it was cruel, inhuman, anti-god, and then, even is she did say it, would she be saying it sincerely? I'd think. And then what was the test of such love? how on earth could I, or she herself, test, who she loved more, her gods or me? She, probably, couldn't see the big deal in loving the gods and in loving me, or probably, she didn't even think about such things in such a way anyway. I don't understand what you want, she once said. She continued to love me hoping the winds would blow. I continued to unlove her. I hoped that with her gentle persuasion and gentle loving, my feelings would eventually take the form of words and I would be able to explain to her precisely how my profound love for her felt insecure. Then the Pujas fell upon us. She embarked upon a Nau Devi Navratri fast. It was her way of battling with the crisis. The gods would come to her rescue, no doubt. Preoccupied with her gods, she gave up pursuing me. I waited for her. After the Pujas, she resigned herself to the lack of me in her life - it was her fate, she felt, perhaps. Disheartened, I gave up waiting. We gave up each other.

Later, I watched her from a distance. I noticed no change in her. She still visited the temples and wore starched saris. It broke my heart but firmed my resolve to give her up. I watched myself in the mirror now. My face was scarred, ghastly, inhuman. I had been burnt. I was an athiest, once again, or always had been - at sea, rocking, bobbing, floating, rudderless, buoyless, Rachnaless. I had been banned from the temples once again.

She suffers from an obsessive compulsive disorder, I muttered to myself under my breath once: banging her head on marbles, applying sandalwood and offering puja twice everyday. A case of lack of serotonin in her silly brain. I was furious with the gods. I kicked my foot against a pillar - why couldn't I be as religious? I'd show her then what it felt like to love someone more than one's beloved. I'd break into a Durga prayer when she kissed me, retreat into a mandir when she fought. I'd like to see how she felt then.

So many years later, I wait for the gods to come visit me. I have tired of going to the temples now. At the temples, the gods never show themselves to me. They never beckon me to leap. Sometimes they visit me these days, though. Sometimes the goddesses do visit me these days. But only very rarely. I wish they'd stay. I wish they'd engulf me, hold me in their arms, nurse me, take me in their care, show me their selves, stroke my hair, caress my forehead. I believe in them. But they do not believe me in me, at least not yet, I fear.

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Re: Rachna

Post by Maria S on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:22 am

Huzefa Kapasi wrote:

So many years later, I wait for the gods to come visit me. I have tired of going to the temples now. At the temples, the gods never show themselves to me. They never beckon me to leap. Sometimes they visit me these days, though. Sometimes the goddesses do visit me these days. But only very rarely. I wish they'd stay. I wish they'd engulf me, hold me in their arms, nurse me, take me in their care, show me their selves, stroke my hair, caress my forehead. I believe in them. But they do not believe me in me, at least not yet, I fear.



Fiction or not..it's personal..seems quite honest, and it's a good read about your faith journey, no matter which faith you belong to..the questions, the frustrations, the acceptance of "divine" powers..
(Can't comment on the personal relationship with Rachna!)

If I may..the larger question is perhaps..do we believe in ourselves..and what are you/we are doing to "*engulf/touch others (when we can in some small way)..hold them in our arms, nurse them, take them in our care, show them ourselves, stroke their hair, caress their foreheads"..there are plenty of people who need that..desperate for that..and as long we are "alive"..the God(s) believe in us..to do our share:) When we try to do that..think it is reciprocated for the most part!

*This was kind of morning inspiration, nice Mr.HK!
Made me think about a lot of people (close and strangers)..who influenced my faith..think in the end it's my own journey and realizations, which continue to weaken or strengthen me!

Maria S

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Re: Rachna

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:57 am

thank you maria. yes, personal it is. my relationship with the gods is exactly like as described in the piece. i am not an atheist but a forever struggling believer.

Maria S wrote:think in the end it's my own journey and realizations, which continue to weaken or strengthen me!
very nice.

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Re: Rachna

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:58 am

well written!

Seems like atheists are selfish, self-centered, egoistic and much agitated ppl Smile.

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Re: Rachna

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:01 am

lol kinns.

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Re: Rachna

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:07 pm

Huzefa Kapasi wrote:

So many years later, I wait for the gods to come visit me. I have tired of going to the temples now. At the temples, the gods never show themselves to me. They never beckon me to leap. Sometimes they visit me these days, though. Sometimes the goddesses do visit me these days. But only very rarely. I wish they'd stay. I wish they'd engulf me, hold me in their arms, nurse me, take me in their care, show me their selves, stroke my hair, caress my forehead. I believe in them. But they do not believe me in me, at least not yet, I fear.

Who are these goddesses? Friends of your wife? You shouldn't have spurned them married aunties, you know. Forget about engulfing and caressing now.

On another note, you had a much better writing style back then - you were more careful and edited it many times perhaps?

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Re: Rachna

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:14 pm

whether as rachna or mohini, u have made quite a few cases to NOT want to love your wife Razz

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Re: Rachna

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:46 am

blabberwock wrote:Who are these goddesses? Friends of your wife? You shouldn't have spurned them married aunties, you know. Forget about engulfing and caressing now.
Razz

On another note, you had a much better writing style back then - you were more careful and edited it many times perhaps?
interesting! no, there wasn't any editing. i wrote it in one go as a sulekha post. i guess i was younger then and closer to my college years (when i read avidly).

Natalia Romanova wrote:whether as rachna or mohini, u have made quite a few cases to NOT want to love your wife Razz
ha ha!

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Re: Rachna

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