Monday, September 12, 2011

Being atheist

So. You are an atheist eh? Do you claim this in front of your parents as well or only your peers?

Food for thought? Courtesy: Very Demotivational Posters
Which one of the following lines do you agree with?

1. I don’t believe in religion.

2. I don’t know if God exists.

3. I don’t care if God exists.

4. I don’t believe in God.

You are an atheist only if your answer was 4.

If you don’t believe in religion, you are just not religious. If you don’t know or don’t care if God exists, then you are agnostic. There is a huge difference between saying, ‘I don’t care if God exists, I don’t believe in him’ and saying, ‘I don’t believe in God.’

In recent years , the number of people claiming to be atheists has risen. The reasons remain dubious though. How many of them are truly atheists? Your guess is as good as mine.

When youngsters claim to be atheists, their parents try to discourage them, send them on guilt trips, force them to attend religious events ( I know a friend who was forced to chant verses from the Gita in his missionary school when he told his parents he wasn’t a believer.) and if all this fails, then they dismiss it as a rebellious phase.

Being an atheist is not a walk in the park. For one, people don’t take you seriously if you are young. If God forbid (pun intended), you are taken seriously, then you have to face disapproval from all sides. Parents, people and general society. They treat you with a condescending attitude and say ‘May God bless you’ to you whenever you meet. Not to mention feeling like an outcast during each and every religious festival.

I almost agree with this line I came across on Facebook : ” Being an atheist today, is like being homosexual in the 1980s”.

But this is just the others’ reaction. What about you yourself? Can you accept the fact that there is no superior being watching over you? Can you live with the fact that there will be no Judgement Day? No Big Brother to right all wrongs? No 72 virgins waiting for you? People like the idea of faith. They need something or someone to believe in. To depend on. God is the most common object of dependence for people. Here is an excerpt from a Mitch Albom book which I read recently.

The rabbi is talking about his doctor, who was an atheist.

“I had a doctor once who was an atheist.”

“This doctor, he liked to jab me and my beliefs…(irrelevant stuff).”

“Anyhow, one day, I read in the paper that his brother had died. So I made a condolence call.”

“So I go to his house, and he sees me. I can tell he is upset. I tell him I am sorry for his loss. And he says , with an angry face, ‘I envy you’.

‘Why do you envy me?’, I asked.”

“‘Because when you lose someone you love, you can curse God. You can yell. You can blame him. You can demand to know why. But I don’t believe in God. I’m a doctor! and I couldn’t help my brother!’.”

“He was near tears. ‘ Who do I blame?’ he kept asking me. ‘There is no God. I can only blame myself.’ ”

This is worse than an unanswered prayer. It is far more comforting to think God listened and said no than to think that nobody’s out there.

Because of religious warfare, people have started renouncing God instead of renouncing religion. God might not be a creation of religion. Religion might have been created to define God. There again is the difference.

I think people cannot be trusted to do the right thing. That is why we don’t have anarchy. People don’t understand the concept of live and LET LIVE. That is why we have religion. I think religion was invented with the aim of guiding the people to understand the difference between right and wrong through the medium of God who is portrayed as an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent being. Earlier people feared Him and did what was said in the scriptures. Now the purpose of religion has changed. It’s interpretation has changed. It has become a factor of your identity. It has become a cause of war. To top it all, science came in to put God’s existence in doubt.

But you know what this means? It means the people who introduced the concept of religion were the original atheists. Ironic eh?

P.S.: I just wished they’d had some foresight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A leap of faith

I have been travelling for a month now. So this is one of the incidents that happened during one of these trips.

I found myself at this deserted bridge. I don't seem to recollect what brought me there. I had heard tales of people jumping off this bridge. Of people who chose to run away forever from their troubles than facing them. All in all it was a morbid place. Exactly like a place you wouldn't find me in.

But the reasons didn't matter. I found myself walking towards the centre of the bridge as if in a trance. The past didn't matter. The future didn't matter. Nothing mattered except the next few moments which would require me to be my bravest. I slowed down as I neared the edge of the bridge. I slowed down as much as I could. My footsteps started dragging. Even as I shuffled, the edge loomed nearer and nearer. And beyond the edge, the free fall. Each step brought me closer.

6 steps to go...
I felt my heartbeat increasing.

5 steps to go...
I never thought I had acrophobia. So, I had no explanations for the sudden vertigo.

4 steps to go...
I have no idea, why I felt as if I were walking to the gallows. I haven't commited any crime yet that would lead me there.

3 steps to go...
I think I started hearing voices in my head. Conflicting voices. Some questioning my sanity. Others encouraging me to take a leap of faith.

2 steps to go...
I never thought I would hear voices in my head and the fact that I would consider that the least of my worries. Then again, being a couple of steps away from the edge of a bridge changes your priorities.

1 step to go...
My feet falter. I didn't think I could do it. I turned around. Despising myself for being a wuss.

Suddenly, I saw my cousin waiting where I had been just 5 minutes back. All the 6 steps I described earlier took maybe 45 seconds. But life seems to slow down when you are about to make important life-changing decisions.

So coming back to my cousin. To say I was very surprised would be an understatement because he is supposed to be in Germany on his research internship till July. So, I couldn't for the life of me figure out, what he was doing on the bridge. Holding a pair of my nike sneakers. As I saw the logo, I remembered the nike tag line as if from another life. 'Just Do It.' My cousin worded what my shoes were telling me. 'Just Do It.'

I made the choice. With a huge smile on my face I turned around and took the last step decisively. I hurriedly leapt from the bridge. Hurriedly because I wanted to get to the part where I yelled Tom Petty's 'Free Falling', while bungee jumping. Hurriedly because as soon as I saw my cousin there, I realised in my dream that I was dreaming.

My dream of going bungee jumping and screaming 'Free Falling' is still a dream. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Of Dreams and Surprises

I find it very difficult to express my feelings by spoken words or even written words. So, you might have noticed, this blog mostly contains impersonal posts. But something happened yesterday. I just HAVE to blog about it. I turned 21. Big deal? HELL YES!

I never ever make plans for my birthday. I don't even celebrate them most of the time. Just go out with parents or something. Last year, I was working. Well, yesterday started the same way. I was asleep before it was midnight. My morning started with my dad's call waking me up. My birthday present - Nokia E71. Since, everyone feels charitable on their birthdays, I dropped my brother to his class. This was followed by lunch with my parents, aunt and cousin. My parents and aunt were going out in the evening, so I was supposed to have dinner with my brother and my cousin. This birthday was turning out to be bad. First, my girls at A D Bawla had their exams, so I couldn't visit them. Now, my parents were going out. Usually, at least, my family is around. On top of it, I even got sick. I couldn't meet my best friend, because she had her exams.One silver lining was my friend Priyanka's visit. We danced just like the old time. Soon, she also left, saying she had her mid sems and that her mother was expecting her home. My phone wasn't working and when my parents left, my aunt took my phone by mistake. I wanted to go to Dynasty for dinner, but my brother had his homework and by the time it was done, it was too late to go anywhere but McDonalds. I'd got a dress for myself for my college farewell and it got cancelled. So I decided to wear that dress and my slutty 4-inch heels to McDonalds. To hell with the fashion police.

When I got ready, the doorbell rang and I see my three best friends in college standing there. Abhishika, Shweta and Rajeshree and Abhishika's brother Aditya. Abhishika is the aforementioned best friend. They brought cake. They also got me a beautiful keychain for my guitar and 3 more dogs for my canine collection. I now have 9 dogs. They also got me a frame for my glasses, because the ones I currently wear have a broken frame and I have been meaning to get the frame changed. See, why I love them?

So, now suddenly my brother says he will complete his homework later. So, I realised he had been waiting for my friends to arrive. Already in a better mood, my mood improved when my cousin returned home with my cell. All of us and my neighbour Charlie left for McDonalds. When we reached the station, I called up Abhishika to ask where she had reached. She comes up with something lame like " hey, you go on towards McDonalds. Our rickshaw broke down and we can't find any other rickshaw. So we are walking. You go on ahead." On the way, I almost fell down the stairs. Typical clumsy me.

When we reached McDonalds, my brother and my cousin start acting weird. They kept insisting on a table inside. Right before I went inside, I saw this huge grin on my brother's face. At the door, I saw all my friends waiting for me. I was greeted with spiderman spray on my face, hair and dress. Before I could get my bearings, they started singing the birthday song. Yes, I don't know what to do when they sing Happy Birthday either, so I started looking around to see who had come. I saw my friends Rajeshree and Abhishika with other college friends : Akshat, Ankita, Gaurav, Sandy, Aniket, Rohan, Saideep, Dipesh, Abhishek. Madhura and Aditi came in later. I saw my school friends : Priyanka, Shreya, Maitri, Vritika, Geenisha and Ramesh. I saw my cousins: Siddhi and Harsh. Satish came with me and my other two cousins, Sagar and Siddharth came in later. I saw my friend Monil and my MAD friends : Ashish, Karthik, Tanmay, Pari, Ronak and Smriti.

This was beyond my wildest imaginations. Certainly beyond what I deserve. I didn't know what to do or what to say. I hugged each and every one of them and the party started! It had always been my dream to dance on top of the table. I did that yesterday. Twice. Forgot the first song, but the second time, I was accompanied by Priyanka for the Las Ketchup song. I wasn't drunk while doing that, so I remember and will always remember what I did. It had also been my dream to be with all my friends at one place at one time, some day. I hope you get the drift about the title now. What a combination of my favourite people and my favourite food! The best part was, everyone seemed to be enjoying. I didn't have to divide my attention between different sections. It was so cool. I got a shoe-shaped pendant and one more pendant, a huge box of chocolates, more chocolates, a mug to replace my broken Manchester United one, crazy nail paints for me to experiment. My school friends made placards which said something nice about me. These are already on the softboard on my desk. Here's what they said:

Priyanka: Hey amla, Hope you always get what you want in life. Right now it is to
become a great Pilot.
Shreya: I like you because you saw me without make up and you didn't scream.

Maitri: Sorry, couldn't write anything for you because it needs a brain and I'm like you, BRAINLESS. Advice: please park your bike at the right place.

Geenisha: My dear childhood friend, you have been with me since our Mahabaleshwar trip till our Hyderabad trip. It is amazing seeing you succeed so well in life and will soon see you flying in air!!!

Vritika: Dear Lani, never seen a crazier, funnier and sweeter person than you.

Dear Daryl, Simmi and Minesh Jiju : Thank you so much for the cards. I love cards and have carefully preserved every card that I have received till date.
PS: Minesh jiju, Liverpool still sucks donkey balls.

Dear Kunal, thank you so much for that letter. It means a LOT to me.

Dear Abhishika, thank you for everything. You are the best thing that has happened to me.

Dear Madhura, thanks for singing the song.

Dear anonymous sender, you crazy fellow! You sent me an original Scholes jersey and won't even accept my gratitude for it. If that's what you want, I won't pursue the subject though I think I have a very good idea who you are.

Every one, just thank you so much for making this the best day of my life so far. Who the hell needs booze to do crazy stuff, when you already have crazy people like these!

PS : I shall put up the photographs here too.