Ave Maria, gratia plena,
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at
the hour of our death.
There are a few reasons why I am penning down my thoughts under such a heading. I'll cover them in no particular order.
The word Ave Maria forms part of the email id of one of my friends geoffrey anthony thomas. whereever u are ultimate psycho, 'Hi!!!' from me, the 'penultimate psycho'!!!!
The second reason is the cranberries, specially darling Dolores. What a voice!!! and that too considering the fact that this song came about as a solo for that classic movie, 'The passion of the Christ'when the Cranberries had decided to go quiet for some time. The way her voice moves along in an undulating fashion, filled with utmost devotion, tingling that special feeling in the grossly unused religious corner of my heart. Sometimes i wonder, why is it that i am so non-religious. Don't get me wrong here. I am not an atheist (Except when my project is not running or i don't get enough marks...). I generally visit temples on festival days. Churches I have visited i Goa and the only time i have been inside a mosque is when Rajesh, Nithya and me stepped into one thinking that it was the bada Imambara of Lucknow. The fundas that we got from the maulvi there about 'Angreji and Amrici Dusman', 'Hindu Muslim unity' etc increased my respect tremendously for Lucknow. My dear warring Hindu-Moslem brothers in other parts of the country, you have an example to follow.
Anyway, coming back to the topic on hand, its only when I go into a church that i have observed the strange hush that falls over the assembly. everyone talks in whispers, why, even the usual boisterous, PJ cracking bangies of NITK Surathkal were reduced to mute admirers of the murals and the stained glasses of the Bom Basillica, Panjim when we had gone there (there as in Goa) on a 'refreshing, mind stimulating erotic' trip. Of course we did see the nude babes and 3 of us- me, MSK and Bhatta even went out at 2 AM to verify if baga beach was awash with prostitutes. (any female reading this, please note that this was a kind of journalistic expedition and not a carnal one, I am not a sex crazed maniac.)
OK, the church.....i feel all the hushed tones arises from an inborn feeling in mankind to respect the dead. The church, though is a symbol of hope and joy for many a person, the 'foundation of its foundation' i.e. Christianity is built upon the principle of sacrifice, bloodshed etc. Add to this the fact that every church has some patron saints buried or encapsulated in their vaults or premises to be general. And the dead, are considered to be more powerful than the living.
temples on the other hand are built upon the deeds of Gods/dedicated by men to Gods in return for some favours and they generally don't go into the details of how the deeds were accomplished. For example, Raja raja Chola built the Brihadeeshwara temple to commemorate his victories, which were no doubt achieved by bloodshed, but u will hardly find people brooding over this fact. instead, u will find pattu-podavai (silk saree) clad mamis (aunties), pattu-pavadai (silk skirt) clad girls, veshti (silk dhoti) clad mamas discussing issues like the latest gossip, the latest Hindu editorial or in case of the girls discussing some latest handsome sensational guy who might have moved into the neighbourhood, with coy glances thrown in his direction. Add to this the guys with the 'I dont care' attitude, but at the same time trying to impress the female whom he has set his heart on and more important her parents....
to be honest, i used to have a very negative image of islam. but all that changed with a documentary titled 'islam, The Empire of faith'. this beautifully tracked the growth of the religion from the time of Mohammad, through Saladin and the Ottoman turks. The exploits of Saladin, Mehmet and Suleiman filled me with wonder. The capture of Jerusalem and Constantinople helped me frame many a strategy in AOE and what made me realise that even islam is a religion with heart is the action of Saladin in not harming the people of Jerusalem who were not Muslims, when on the other hand the crusaders had butchered muslim men and ravaged muslim girls and pillaged their towns!!!!
i have had very less exposure to Other religions.Sikhism is the only other faith i have seen from close quarters. I am very impressed by the service mindedness of th Sikhs at the Golden Temple. A lack of close friends among parsis, buddhists and jains has certainly hampered me from experiencing the innards of those religions. Hope i get a chance sometime!!!!
Signing off for now.............
PS: In the early days of the babri masjid demolition when as young kids in the 3rd or 4th standard, we were fed a lot of bad propaganda by the media, a refreshing concept in secularism and acronym formation was introduced by my friend Ganesh, who transformed his nickname GANIS to read as George Abdul Narayan Iyengar Singh!!! He was different then, and still is, being one of the few who had the real guts to say no to science and instead took up the arts.. way to go pal!!
This rubbed off on some mischievous, restless kids like me and one more fella called Ashwin who started introducing league cricket with teams like Qutubia, Mohammads, Sanskrit Scholars..with even wierder players like Qutubuddin, Mark Deepak, Tobacco-del-Piero, Jupiter Jones (i know, i flicked this from the three investigators),Pepsi Khan, Allauddin Khilji, Maha pandita, koti pandita, manketi rama,kamasutra sharma (beat this name)..those were the summers which involved home and away series in each others'homes with varying pitch and ground conditions. The gala cricket came to a sensational close in the summer of 2000, when the students of SKA (Ridham, if you are reading this, u know what u missed out on) used to assemble in the Milk Colony Ground for some high voltage cricket. Ah, the days when people used to sit down and watch my batting and respect my bowling.....All this fell apart when the 'Band of SKA Brothers' went their own ways.
More on the Milk Colony and Lepakshi cricket in another blog......all i can say now is, u have to play there to believe the quality of the matches.