This question is inspired by the movie OMG – Oh My god that I watched last evening. I don’t particularly care for Mr. Akshay Kumar, but my son was most insistent that I must watch this movie. He even tried to motivate me by saying that Akshay Kumar’s role in this movie is very limited, and the movie is all about how we perceive God, and carries some important messages.
So, here’s what I understood from the movie – God exists – everywhere. We don’t need to segregate God into special places like temples, masjids, gurudwaras, and churches. God exists in everyone, not just stone statues. God doesn’t want to be appeased or bribed – making another human/living being happy would be an excellent form of worship too.
And this vibes with my thinking very well. I am not just being lazy when I don’t feel like going to the temple. I don’t mean to be uncharitable to the priests at the temple. But something inside me does not agree with the entire concept of having rituals and customs for everything to prove that we believe in God, and are good people.
A dialogue from OMG stayed with me – “Indians are not God-loving, but God-fearing people”. Very true, and that’s why we don’t feel free to do what we want. Instead of listening to our consciousness and ensuring that we do the right thing, we confine ourselves to doing the right thing as defined by our religious interpretations. And that does not make much sense to me. For example, if eating non-vegetarian food is wrong on certain days, why is it alright on other not-so-well-recognized-by-Hindu-religion days, like a Sunday?
And after the movie finished, I was very sure – my Mom, an extremely religious and, more importantly, a very ritualistic person, must watch this movie. My cousin, daughter, everyone agreed wholeheartedly, in fact a little vehemently.
Then, I went about doing my routine tasks, and took a warm shower. I don’t know whether it was the comfort of the routine or the calming warmth of the hot shower, but I started to question myself. My mom has lived by these ritualistic procedures all her life. In fact, she has changed her life constantly in order to include more and more of these customs into her daily routine. I could always trick her into watching this movie because it’s a hindi movie which she loves. But I wonder what’s the point? What will I achieve?
After all, this is how she plans to deal with whatever problems life chooses to mete out to her. This is her way of maintaining hope and her future dreams despite all the troubles that hit us everyday. This is how she recovers from her pains. Would i really be helping her by taking this support away? What would this intervention leave her with? More questions? Is that how I should help her – shake her beliefs and leave her wondering?
Somewhere, I realized, I just couldn’t do this to her. I need to indulge her whims, and not begrudge her anything, irrespective of how I feel about the rituals she chooses to follow. Somewhere, this movie helped me accept my Mom more than anything else could have done. How very ironic!