Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Innocence Lost

The steel box hurtled on, up and around the treacherous hairpin curves. Deep inside it I sat crushed between my mom and sis, and elsewhere seated were my other family members including uncles, aunts and cousins. I cursed my dad for forcing me to come on this trip, 'I hate bus traveling, it makes me sick' I had pleaded but to no avail.

I was about five or six years old when I visited the hill shrine of Malai Mahadeshwara. That was my first long-trip as far as my memory goes. The journey (changing three buses) was puky, tedious and strenuous, but arriving at the hill top pilgrim centre was exuberating; the lush greenery, cool weather and rolling hills every where around elevated my spirits as much as the thought that finally I was out of the steel box with eight wheels.

The exuberance of being in such a beautiful place turned to devotion when I went to have a darshan of the lord of seven hills. All grown-ups were singing paens of lord Mahadeshwara and his eagerness to fulfill the desires of his devotees. My young innocent mind was taking in all I was hearing. The faith of many a devotees there were convincing enough, but when I heard that the place was so holy that even the soil possesses divine powers, my innocent belief turned concrete.

After a couple of days, before catching a homeward bus I surreptitiously scooped a fistful of soil from the temple premises and saved it as a holy treasure with divine powers.

Returning home I tucked away my sacred souvenir with my other treasures which had toys, beads, coloured glass pieces, marbles, etc., and forgot. Returning from the school, a few days later, I heard that my favourite grand uncle had passed away earlier that day. The news was overwhelming. I sprinted to my treasure box, took out the small packet of sacred soil and dashed out of the house.

The hope was not lost yet, for I had the most powerful thing in the universe. I will certainly bring back my grand uncle from dead. I took the magical and divine soil in my hand, closed my eyes, started praying the Lord to reverse the tragedy. 'Hit ctrl+z,' I was pleading. In the heart of hearts I was sure that the divine soil has performed the miracle and I was glad.

As it turned out, I went to my grand uncle's place only to find him in the hall, lying motionless under a heap of garlands, surrounded by wailing ladies while men stood outside refusing to see each other in the eye. That sight shredded my faith. I lost my innocence forever.


Bit Hawk said...

Very touching post. Loved it. You have been bookmarked!

Rubic_Cube said...

Mmmm... Death is deliverance that we humans do not know to celebrate. One celebrates being released from jail. But one does not celebrate dying. Instead of remembering our loved ones on their death anniversaries, we should remember them on their birthdays. That way we can celebrate them and their lives rather than ruminate the loss that their death brought. What say?

Raghu said...

@ bit hawk: Hi Vasuki, thanks for bookmarking. Keep coming back.

@ rubic_cube: No one knows what happens to a person after his/her death. This mystery makes death fascinating as well as scary at the same time.

Also, humans observe certain anniversaries that mark major milestones of life. When alive the first major milestone is birth which is joyous, so celebrate it. Death is the final closure so it is logical to observe this milestone rather than the birthday of a dead person. Hence it is observed by paying respects and remembering the dead. It is also beneficial in the sense that death anniversary keeps the knowledge, that death is the ultimate truth, alive.