My day starts very early. It was even earlier today; being a pious day. Mom told me it was a full-moon today, Kartik purnima. This day we are supposed to go to
(River Ganges) and take the holy dip. I have been feeling very cold lately and
shivering at nights too. Perhaps I would be spared from dip in cold waters of Ganga; thinking such I approached my mother. “How can you
even think like that; it is up to the women in the house to keep the religious tradition
alive. Just one dip is going to wash away all your sins! Look at your
grandmother and look at you. Shame on you!” came the reply. My 70 year old grandmother
was fighting with my father to take her to Ganges
for a dip. She has been on bed for many years now; and somehow has stopped
growing older even. My mind kept running with thoughts that what sins have I
done to wash away in Ganges? May be my
grandmother needs the dip more than me.
Anyways after the dip I was allowed to eat; not the usual vegetable and roti but a special dish made of rice and gur (jagerry). As my younger brothers eat it with interest; I cant help but wonder whether we would be able to eat at night or not. It has happened earlier this year too, when on chatt we had to pray to Sun god offering him a lot of sweet dishes and fruits (wow! That’s the only time we eat fruits). It was only after my mother stood in water fasting whole day that we ate. Why did she do that? Because her religion wants only her to do so. I wonder why?
We completely enjoyed ourselves that day; but the whole family had to go without food for the next three days. My grandmother tells me life is ephemeral in nature; enjoy today, do not think about tomorrow. But I wonder how sensible is it eat today and not tomorrow? This way we would remain poor all our lives!
Sitting at my doorstep, all my hair wet; I look at storms of people passing by. All have taken their holy dip and returning to their houses. What surprises me is that there were hardly any cars present at the Ghat. Only poor could be seen everywhere. Do the rich not celebrate this? It is a festival of poor, when the ones who can afford such a luxury are spared from it. I kept on wondering…..
Orange sindur (sign of a married lady) right from the nose till deep into the hair makes me giggle. The women almost look like Orangutans right out of the jungle. Do they actually feel they look good in it or they just have to follow it because their mothers did it too? Again the tradition comes up here!
Recently I came to know that the guy who lived 3 houses down the lane was a criminal! Do you know how? Police had come to his house yesterday. His mother and wife were abused! Then his wife was taken to Police station for the night. She came home next day, looking horrified. Her hair was disheveled and even her clothes were torn. The reason she was taken because her husband has committed a murder; she kept on blaming herself for that. But I wonder if a person has absconded from home and committed a murder; what sensitivity would he have about his wife being tortured?
Why is that all the women are the final victims? Of traditions and of cruelty? Who would break this chain, when we ourselves feel that we are responsible for such acts of others? If we feel tradition is our burden, who would like to lift it off our shoulders? I keep wondering as my grandmother waits for the next Kartik purnima for the dip in the