Tamil Nadu to Taliban Nadu

The state of Tamil Nadu entered the hospital in December 2015. Then it graduated to an ICU in September 2016 and finally reached the mortuary in December 2016. From then on, it continues to be in the same state – lying in state.

Dec 15 floods not only devastated Chennai but also wrote the preamble to the destruction of the state’s economics. When floods ravaged the state, overseas companies that had their offshore operations in Chennai took a serious hit. The offshore sites were not reachable for 4 days and that had a devastating effect on the bottom lines of many IT enabled companies.

I took it as a cue and moved a critical function to another state in India. Many had done that too, later I learnt.

Then came September 2016, when the then Chief Minister of the state Ms.Jayalalithaa was taken ill. She was in hospital until December 2016 when she passed away. The business scenario took a serious downward spiral as the state didn’t have a head of state for many months.

Later during January 2017, assorted groups took advantage of the situation and held the state to ransom by holding an indefinite strike and protest on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Chennai. What appeared to be a ‘student’s protest’ to voice opposition to the banning of a popular traditional animal sport soon metamorphosed into an ugly monster that espoused sedition and linguistic chauvinism.

From then on, periodic protests in the name of safeguarding agriculture, protecting tamil pride, opposing the ‘exploitative’ attitude of industries et al have begun to surface with no warning. Meanwhile the state government has gone into a paralytic mode with no visible activity happening in the name of governance.

This sudden vacuum in the power structure has provided the necessary impetus to the anti-social elements to wreak havoc on the state and upset the carefully built image of the state as a safe one for investment.

The LTTE money that is still available in a few hands, the religious conversion inspired and church backed activists who have seen their folk dwindling, the out of business politicians who were kept at bay by the two state political parties, the parties affected by the recent demonetization by the Narendra Modi government – mostly the hawala operators, movie producers et al – these are the forces that are behind the incremental descent into chaos.

Yet another force that is not spoken about at all by the mainstream media is the rapid wahabi inspired elements that are seeking to consolidate and bring about greater instability in the state. The late Jayalalithaa too pandered to this sect when she allowed the ‘Anti-Superstition Conference’ of the wahabi inspired elements. The elements openly asked for the desecration of the sufi shrines in Tamil Nadu, as the latter were not as per the teachings of the wahabi sect of Islam. For 100s of years, hindus and christians have visited these sufi shrines as a show of inter-religious harmony in the country. Disturbing this amity is a recipe for disaster.

Some of the leading movie stars like Kamal Hasan have found it fit to come out in the open and voice concern on the state of affairs – an attempt to enter the political scene now that the all powerful leader – Jayalalithaa- is gone. It was Kamal Hasan who had to face the music of wahabi elements when he sought to release a movie of his – Viswaroopam – that talked about terrorist elements and the US war on terror. That Jayalalithaa used Kamal Hasan to consolidate the wahabi elements to support her was an open secret that none wanted to acknowledge.

Tamil Nadu is seen to oppose any progressive central government scheme much to the detriment of its own people. Overseas investors are in two minds whether to invest in the state or not, now that there is no political leadership with clarity of thought and action.

The recent ‘protest’ in the village of Neduvasal in the name of opposing hydro carbon extraction is worth our attention. This was conducted by, again, the assorted groups of anti-India and anti-Progressive forces. No sooner were the protests announced than the communist parties sidelined with them. The recent converts into communism – the JNU radicals and his ilk – came all the way to Tamil Nadu, to Neduvasal, and ‘voiced’ their support to the cause. This, even after assurances from geologists from the Periyar University in Salem that the hydro carbon extraction in Neduvasal had nothing to do with the water levels going down in the state.

The not-so-recent Kudankulam protests have to be looked into through the same lenses. The local church organisations had gathered together, pooled their resources, and financed the fast-unto-death programme of the local residents. The fasts continued for so long that even Arvind Kejriwal, the born-again-anti-national, came all the way to Kudankulam to voice his support. It is a different matter that Kejriwal had promised free electric power to Delhi ( where he was Chief Minister) and it didn’t matter to him that the free power that he was proposing was drawn from the Atomic rectors of Rajasthan.

The Neutrino project in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu has been shelved after considerable money has already been spent. Reason – environmentalists of this anti-national conglomerate opposed it.

Tamil Nadu is seen as the only state that opposes the national eligibility tests for medical seats. Recently the state also abolished the state level qualifying tests for its engineering colleges.

The number of Tamil Nadu students qualifying in central government conducted All India Exams has come down, thanks to successive years of decay in the educational arena. The normally multi-lingual Tamil student is seen to struggle even in Tamil, leave alone English and Hindi. The student knows the next movie that is set for release than what goes into a mobile phone that makes it work.

For the average student, a movie star’s personal attributes are interesting than the issues in South China sea. One should not be surprised if a student, when asked ‘Who is the president of Tibet’, could blurt out, ‘Dalai Lama’. Such is the situation on the ground. The educational statistics of the state’s students, especially in Math and Science, paint a grim picture. While the state should pride itself in providing quality and free educations, it has stooped to the level of distributing liquor through state agencies.

The state had the gory spectacle of the top bureaucrat being raided, in office, by central tax investigators.

However hard I try, as an Indian Tamil, I cannot restrain from thinking that Tamil Nadu is marching progressively towards being rechristened Taliban Nadu.  And feel sad at it.

I plan to write more on these contemporary issues at different times. I shall write them as an Indian first and a Tamil next.

Tell me your views and share the article as appropriate.

Forgive Mother Teresa

I want to believe that Mother Teresa didn’t proselytize.

How much ever I want to believe, evidence that I see are to the contrary.

Take a look for yourself:

An interview with her in the magazine ‘India Today’ dated 31-May-1983  goes thus :

Q : As a Christian missionary, do you adopt a position of neutrality between Christian poor and other poor ?

A : I am not neutral. I have my faith.

Q : Do you believe in conversion ?

A : To me, conversion means changing of heart by love. Conversion by force or bribery is a shameful thing. It is a terrible humiliation for anyone to give up religion for a plate of rice.

To me, she seems genuine. She is a Christian, has her faith, is open about it and declares that she is not neutral when it comes to faith even when the poor are concerned.

So much so good. But the following piece is damning:

Christopher Hitchens, an author and columnist wrote a book by name ‘The Missionary Position – Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice’.

In the book he quotes from a former nun of Missionaries of Charity Susan Shields thus : For Mother, it was the spiritual well-being of the poor that mattered… In the homes for the dying, Mother taught the sisters how to secretly baptize those who were dying. Sisters were to ask each person in danger of death if he wanted a ‘ticket to heaven’. An affirmative reply was to mean consent to baptism. The sister was then to pretend she was just cooling the person’s forehead with a wet cloth, while in fact she was baptizing him, saying quietly the necessary words. Secrecy was important so that it would not come to be known that Mother Teresa’s sisters were baptizing Hindus and Moslems’.Teresa

Even after this, I am prepared to hold the Mother in great admiration. She, as a Christian, followed her faith’s dictum to convert. But she did lot more good to the dying than any other person in Calcutta.

So, what if she converted the dying after having taken care of the uncared for leper and the destitute and the like?

If she had converted people, forgive her, for she has cared for those that the other communities had abandoned.

If her organization has embezzled millions of dollars, forgive it , for it has saved at least some from disease.

If Missionaries of Charity has hobnobbed with dictators, forgive , for it has cared for the terminally ill patients.

In essence, forgive them, forgive her.

Amen.

#Rssquestionsmotherteresa

Christianity and Caste – book review

Brahmin Christians should adhere to the following :

  1. Should not eat out of the hands of Velala and Nadar christians
  2. Should not eat beef, fish and eggs in public
  3. Should sport a sacred thread
  4. Should Apply sandal paste on their forehead
  5. Should employ only upper caste Christians as their servants
  6. Should not eat or drink in public view.
  7. Should not be seen consuming alcohol.
  8. While on travel should eat and drink from behind a screen.
christianity and casteism

christianity and casteism

The above are the injunctions prescribed to Hindu Brahmin converts  who have become christian priests. And who prescribed these ?  Rev. Roberto de Nobili an Italian missionary in AD 1609. Don’t be surprised at the term ‘brahmin-christian’. These improbable classes did exist during the origins of Christianity in India and continue till date.

These and many more of such shocking truths are made evident by Prof. Sivasubramanian, the Marxist scholar and researcher in his Tamil book ‘கிறித்தவமும் சாதியும் ‘ ( ‘Christianity and Caste’)

You might think that the very purpose of getting converted to Christianity has been defeated if one still is a brahmin even after becoming a christian. That is precisely the case. Caste system has reigned supreme in Christianity in India, as it had been reigning supreme in Hinduism then and now. Caste has been a major classification even in Christianity. While seemingly opposing the caste system in Hinduism, christian missionaries have covertly and overtly converted hindus en-masse on caste grounds.

Prof. Sivasubramanian has done pioneering work in this regard. He exposes the depths of caste classification in Christianity and provides clinching evidence that spans 500 years of documentation. He is un-biased and objective and never deviates from the main point – Casteism and Christianity.

He compares the caste system in Hinduism and Christianity and concludes that caste behaves in the same manner, irrespective of the religion it is associated with.

He takes the case of a village called ‘Vadakkankulam’ in South Tamil Nadu, India and traces the history of the village church and the changes that happen to the church as time advances. We are treated to many pages of amazing evidence of the different caste based discrimination that was prevalent in the parish, how each community fought with the other on caste basis irrespective of the fact that Christianity was not supposed to have helped the cause of caste system, how different communities filed cases against one another and the case details and in the end, the stupidity of all that.

Vellala Christians file a case against Nadar Christians asking  Nadars not be seated in a particular place inside the church. Sakkiliar Christians appeal to the Fench / British authorities alleging discrimination by the Parish priest. Pillaimar Christians file a case against Nadar Christians asking them not to use their street. Prof. Sivam quotes as evidence many such cases and also provides detailed judgments to substantiate the prevalence of caste system in Christianity in India.

The learned prof also provides some interesting details on the methods used by the missionaries for conversion of caste hindus like the brahmins. He particularly quotes De Nobili, the Italian missionary who wore a sacred thread like the hindu brahmins. While hindu brahmins wore three threads across their body, De Nobili wore five – three to signify the father, son and the holy ghost and two more to signify Jesus’s body and soul. He ate out of the hands of upper caste converts, was vegetarian and sported a sandal paste on his forehead like caste hindus. Additionally he wore ochre robes and had a stick with a flag ( the stick is called ‘dhandam’ in Hindu ascetic order ). In every way, he wanted to resemble a brahminical sanyasi ( holy man) and thereby attract hindu brahmins into his fold.

De Nobili went further ahead and created a fifth Veda in addition to the four Hindu sacred texts. He called that ‘Yeasu Sura Vedam’. He wrote in Sanskrit so that Hindu Brahmins would get converted based on that feature as well.

Prof. Sivam’s book is a worthy read for anyone interested in the early origins of Christianity in South Tamil Nadu, India.

If you are encountered with a story that Christianity didn’t practice caste system and un-touchability, offer this book as answer.

The English translation of this book is available as ‘The crusade against caste domination in the holy family church at Vadakkankulam’ by Dr.Balasubramanian.

When the Book made me run

Be wary if an elderly man approaches you, especially with a young woman. Chances are he is out to proselytize. If the word ‘proselytize’ sounds like ‘seduce’, so be it. In a way that is what proselytizers do. They seduce you into another path.

‘But the Book says so’, is the common refrain. The moot question is ‘so what?’. Why should I believe in another book ? How confident are you that the book is genuine and has not been altered since it was ‘written’ ? No answers for that.

Confront them with ‘Who created the apple?’. ‘God’. ‘So why does God forbid Adam and Eve from eating the apple that He Himself has created? Is the apple not divine?’

‘God tests you. The apple is the lure. God checks if you are lured by Satan’.
‘Simple question. Why should Adam not eat the apple created by God ? If so, did God create an ‘evil apple’?’
‘It is so in the Book. Can’t question this’.
‘So, who created Satan and why is he evil?’
‘God created Satan as an angel but later he became a fallen angel. So Satan is evil’.
‘As soon as God created the world, he created Satan as well. So He should have provided Satan with the intention to fall and thus become evil. So is God not evil?’.
Keep confronting based on simple logic and the frequent reference is ‘The Book’.
‘What if the Book has been printed with wrong information in the last 2000 years?’
‘That cannot be. God’s words cannot be wrong’.
‘Accepted that Gods’words cannot be wrong. But did God himself write the book? Somebody wrote it. And in 2000 years, could the book not have been edited with ‘further details’?’
‘Oh, as that is the God’s word, it could not have been changed’.
‘I say that even in the Indian religions, no book is static. Recent research shows that the ‘Bagawad Gita’ from the epic Mahabharatha’ was written much later and added into the epic. So, are there not chances in your Book at all?’
‘That cannot be. That is possible only in Pagan religions. For us, God’s words are sacrosanct and cannot change’.
‘Ok. So, is  Earth the center of the Universe? Does the Sun move around Earth ? And is Earth flat ? The Book says so, right?’
‘Sir, you are asking too many questions. Please believe in God and his Son and start reading the Book. You will realize truth and peace’.
I scamper towards the just arrived train.No use talking to robots.

Spread His Word

The bougainvillea was devoid of its original violet color. It was drenched in the rain and pointed towards the pavement signifying a rather dull mood that prevailed this evening. However the air and the trees were fresh.

The contrast seemed to point to the current situation in Singapore. Millionaires and common men living side-by-side in the same government apartments is a regular scene in Singapore only that the common man wouldn’t be earning rent revenue from his non-existent condominiums.

The pale bougainvillea shook once. A bird had taken off from its branch. I looked inside the shrub to discover a nest. 

I proceeded further on the washed down pavement. Less traffic on a Saturday meant more walking space. The food-court nearby was the only source of commotion.

The well dressed elderly man standing on the pavement didn’t seem out of place. Only that he was handing out some flyers to passers-by.

‘Spreading His word’ proclaimed the pamphlet,

Nothing deterred the old man, then sun setting across the West Coast Park, joggers on their tracks, children in their playful mood and some crackling noises nearby signifying some hushed-up couples . He was on his job, handing out papers.

Was this Roy Ngerng stuff ? Oh no. That was dangerous territory.

‘Sir, what is ‘His Word’,?’, I said,’why the capital letter for h’, prodding him.

‘My Son, please refer the contents inside and you would know for yourself’. So saying, he handed over some more glossy colorful pamphlets.

Private Condominium’s hand-outs looked similar. But this had something to do with ‘Him’.

Inside were pictures and details exhorting the masses to turn to the holy spirit and ‘Spread His Word’. I got that.

Started yet again ? But such pompous brochures meant more money waiting to be spent.

When this could happen in Singapore, no wonder there are those gospel centers in parched Tamil Nadu villages.

Hoes does ‘His’ word spread ? More on how it happened in India  in subsequent posts.

Soul not for sale

Let me say in second person singular. Writing in Third person in passive voice is not effective.

Dear Converter,

I confess. I have not read ‘The Book’ in full. Don’t intend to read as well. But that does not mean I am game and ripe for harvest, does it ?

How do you think I am ‘available’ ? Or do I appear ‘available’ ?

Let me come to the point. How do you think you are in a position to offer me ‘solution’ or ’emancipation’? Why do you think I need emancipation ?

What is ’emancipation’ by the way ? Is that wine tasting ? If I am a tee-totatler them am I in need of ;emancipation ? Is that how you define ?

Or has emancipation got to do with the way one worships ? If you fall flat before the altar you are in need of emancipation and if you kneel down you don’t need. Is that how you define emancipation ?

Let us come to solutions.

When you think you can offer me a ‘solution’ do you think you are at a higher level than me so that you can ‘uplift’ me ? What makes you think you are placed in an elevated pedestal ?

Are you a vendor of solutions ? To offer me solution, I need to be in a problem. I am not in any problem. Why do you assume that I am in a problem ?

How do you know my problem even before you know me and my way of life. Why hasten to a solution even before you know me ?

Have I ever come to you pleading my position and praying for emancipation ?

Is it that your ‘solutions’ are canonized in a single book and available for consumption and that mine are not in just one book and are scattered all over ?

Is it because I have many God forms ? Is it because myself and my folk speak different languages, eat different foods and live different lives yet consider ourselves of one culture ?

Let me as you something. In my culture, there is no one way to salvation. I choose a way while my brother chooses another. But we believe that all paths lead to salvation.

Are you sensible when you think myself and my brother should tread the same path ? Am I not different from my brother in terms of tastes and interests ? I like a dark colored God while my brother a fair skinned one. Sister doesn’t need one. Aren’t we family then?

Why do you say ‘My way or No way?’. Let me translate that for you. Why do you say ‘Only My God and no other God?’. Why can’t you see divinity in a cow or a goat ?

Let me ask you a question ? Why should my God be human at all ? Why can’t that be , say, a Tree or a Mountain ? Don’t you see God in these ?

Why can’t you see divinity in an inanimate thing as well ? Is your vision so skewed and narrowed ?

For me, that which cannot be controlled by me, that which is beyond my creativity, that which awes me is divine. So, a Tree and a Mountain are divine. Any problems ?

Understand this. In my house, the sin is not on the lamb. And therefore I don’t slaughter the lamb to rid my sin. The poor animal is a part of me, my overall existence. What is here is what is there. Get it ?

If you don’t get this, you think you could provide me ‘salvation’ ?

So why try harvest my soul ?

My soul not for sale. Period.

Change your religion, why papa ? – Part 2

‘Sir, Are you happy in your current life?’

You are into your deepest slumber on Sunday, the only day you get to rest. You hear a knock on your door. You ignore that and try to get into your sleep. The knock persists. You try to wish away the knock that it was only a dream. A couple of minutes later when you are re-entering your sleep, you hear the knock again. You get real and pounce towards the door, adjusting your night dress, and suddenly feeling that it has dawned already.

Upon opening the door, you hear the first sentence and see an elderly man and a twenty-ish fashionable lady.

‘Sir, Are you happy in your current life?’ You hear that again.

You are really confused as to what the world has come to. You don’t want to get angry seeing the elderly person. At the same time you don’t want to look like a fool seeing the twenty-ish thing.

‘When I am not allowed to sleep on a Sunday morning how could I be happy Sir?’, you say.

The above incident happened not one but twice when I worked in Mumbai, India in the mid-nineties.

Soon after, you are confronted with philosophical questions like ‘Why is man un-happy?’, ‘What makes the after life?’, ‘How does one not enter the fire in Hell?’, ‘How to get prepared for the ‘Day of Judgement ‘?’. and the like.

I looked at the elderly person. He should have been about 60 years old. He spoke English with a slight Marathi accent. But the girl was an Anglo-Indian whose English did not contain any trace of any oriental language. Her diction was perfect. For a south indian, I was able to align with her language than the elderly gentleman’s as I was still not comfortable with Marathi then.

‘How come many who have been pious and good-mannered suffer while those who are ill-mannered live a life of joy?’, she asked.

Having had a grounding in the Vedanta philosophy, I had been accustomed to this. But said,’Yes, I have this question lingering in my mind Miss. Could you possibly explain?’

‘Does your religion not answer this question, Sir?’, she inquired.

‘Well, I don’t know. Hence could you please explain?’, I said.

‘Excellent. That is because they are not in Jesus yet. If they would have been in Jesus, they wouldn’t have had to undergo this ignominy of having to suffer while there is perfectly nothing wrong with them’, she said and elaborated further,’ that is precisely why we are here today, to invite you to be part of Jesus and experience happiness in this life’.

My Vendatic background awakened. I knew what they were for. I invited them inside and offered them tea, much to the consternation of my friends whose sleeps were also getting disturbed. By virtue of we being bachelors(then), we shared an apartment in Mumbai.

They obviously did not like my Tea. That showed. However the discussion continued.

‘Madam, let me ask you something. Let me ask you some questions’, I proceeded.

The duo seemed prepared.

‘Why do you think I am not happy?’, I said.

‘Because nobody is happy in this world. Everybody is pained at something or the other’, he said.

‘No, my question is Why do you think that I am not happy in this life?’

‘That is the general rule. Nobody is happy unless he is in Jesus’, he said.

‘Sir, I am a product of my mind. Even in difficult situations, one can be happy if one wished. It is just a matter of the mind’, I reasoned.

‘But why is there suffering in this world?’, she asked.

‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This suffering of a person is a result of some past deed’, I said.

‘Why do some perfectly reasonable and well-intentioned people who have done all good deeds in their lives suffer?’, he asked.

‘That is because of past actions. By past I mean the past lives. That is explained as ‘Karma’ in the Indian thought’, I reasoned.

‘No, that is not acceptable. Indian thought is pagan thought. And that is not the path of God. So that cannot be true’, she said and added ‘so you believe in superstitions such as previous lives?’, she inquired.

‘Madam, what is superstition becomes a fact. But what is a fact is still considered a superstition like the earth being the center of the universe’, I said knowing that I was touching a raw nerve here and continued thus :

‘Your assumption that I am not happy is fundamentally wrong.I am happy within the limited means that I have.  And I believe that what I possess is what I have been destined to possess and there comes my sense of equilibrium. My perceived sufferings are the result of actions that took place in my previous birth and therefore I am not going to blame anybody for that. That is how the sense of equanimity is brought in into the Indian life. But that does not mean one should not strive to be better. One should keep working on doing one’s duties without hindrance to others and that will ensure that the society is at peace. ‘Do your duty and I shall provide the results’ – That is the essence of the Vedantic school of thought’.

Continuing further, I had touched upon the Israel Palestinian conflict, the Irish Republican Army’s then efforts to destroy the UK despite following the same religion, the Catholic Protestant diatribes and the like and tried to show that not everything was rosy on the other side as well.

Looking back now , those might not sound scholarly or erudite anymore. But I evolved from then on and started paying attention to what the Indian Schools of Thought provided, what the great seers had said, how the missionaries had evolved in India, how the Indian society was exploited by them. how the then East India Company’s colonization of India and later the British empire’s rule followed by left-leaning socialist leaders’s regimes squandered and continue to squander the nation of its intellectual and spiritual farsightedness.

And that is the essence of this series.

Let me know your thoughts. Your words mean much in this effort.

——————————————————————————–

My earlier posts on this when I was ‘visited’ in Singapore are below :

When they ‘harvested’ me, almost

Waiting for the pastor

When God didn’t know Bhojpuri

The girl was charming. She was cute as well. Her body was so flexible that she was able to squeeze herself into the bamboo ring all of one feet in diameter. Wheatish in color she didn’t definitely belong to the place, Chennai. She should have come from somewhere in North India, probably Bihar.

I was woken up from my contemplation by a gentle touch. It was her. She was staring at me innocently. Her hair dishevelled, I felt it should have seen oil atleast a month ago. She appeared weak and fragile but her face shone with a radiance that i couldn’t miss.

‘Paisa do bhaiyaa’, she said. ( Give me some money, brother ).

Not realizing her plea, I kept looking at her. She should be all of 5 years hardly two years lesser than my second son is.

‘Paisa do bhaiyaa’, she repeated. Unknown to myself I had placed Rs 5 on her hand. She thanked profusely in probably Bhojpuri- the language spoken in Bihar –  and started talking to the next passenger for alms. I was on a local train from Tambaram Sanatorium to Egmore, from the periphery of Chennai to the heart of the city.

Last I saw her was when she alighted from the compartment along with her mother and another child. From the time she took money from me, she had performed many an acrobatic trick – inserting herself into the one foot diameter ring, allowing her younger sister, all of 3 years old to enter into the ring along with her, performing some somersaults in the moving local train and performing for a Bollywood song. Probably she had alighted from my compartment to enter the next one so as to perform these tricks again.

All the while she was dancing, there was this guy with the lastest Samsung S4 smartphone chatting in facebook with some distant acquaintance of himself while the smartly dressed girl next to him was giving directions to her maid over the cell phone, probably a blackberry, on what to buy from the retail chain and at what price. The guy seated in the front row was continuously executing some trades on his iPad while frantically trying to connect with a couple of brokers on his two cell phones.

The two elderly safari suit clad people were discussing the upcoming elections in to the local railway men’s union. The scholarly looking person behind him was advising somebody on the interplanetary positions and their suitability for filing nomination papers for the local body elections.

Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. There was this person who handed me this piece of paper and told me,” Here comes the savior that can save the world from poverty and violence end exploitation. He has come to the world to relieve you all from the worldly troubles. He is here to give you happiness. So, come into He. Join us this week for the prayer meeting and relieve yourself of the worldly sufferings”.

Image

Just one thought went through my mind. Probably He did not know Bhojpuri to speak to the Bihari girl and reliever her from poverty.

When God didn't know Bhojpuri

The girl was charming. She was cute as well. Her body was so flexible that she was able to squeeze herself into the bamboo ring all of one feet in diameter. Wheatish in color she didn’t definitely belong to the place, Chennai. She should have come from somewhere in North India, probably Bihar.

I was woken up from my contemplation by a gentle touch. It was her. She was staring at me innocently. Her hair dishevelled, I felt it should have seen oil atleast a month ago. She appeared weak and fragile but her face shone with a radiance that i couldn’t miss.

‘Paisa do bhaiyaa’, she said. ( Give me some money, brother ).

Not realizing her plea, I kept looking at her. She should be all of 5 years hardly two years lesser than my second son is.

‘Paisa do bhaiyaa’, she repeated. Unknown to myself I had placed Rs 5 on her hand. She thanked profusely in probably Bhojpuri- the language spoken in Bihar –  and started talking to the next passenger for alms. I was on a local train from Tambaram Sanatorium to Egmore, from the periphery of Chennai to the heart of the city.

Last I saw her was when she alighted from the compartment along with her mother and another child. From the time she took money from me, she had performed many an acrobatic trick – inserting herself into the one foot diameter ring, allowing her younger sister, all of 3 years old to enter into the ring along with her, performing some somersaults in the moving local train and performing for a Bollywood song. Probably she had alighted from my compartment to enter the next one so as to perform these tricks again.

All the while she was dancing, there was this guy with the lastest Samsung S4 smartphone chatting in facebook with some distant acquaintance of himself while the smartly dressed girl next to him was giving directions to her maid over the cell phone, probably a blackberry, on what to buy from the retail chain and at what price. The guy seated in the front row was continuously executing some trades on his iPad while frantically trying to connect with a couple of brokers on his two cell phones.

The two elderly safari suit clad people were discussing the upcoming elections in to the local railway men’s union. The scholarly looking person behind him was advising somebody on the interplanetary positions and their suitability for filing nomination papers for the local body elections.

Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. There was this person who handed me this piece of paper and told me,” Here comes the savior that can save the world from poverty and violence end exploitation. He has come to the world to relieve you all from the worldly troubles. He is here to give you happiness. So, come into He. Join us this week for the prayer meeting and relieve yourself of the worldly sufferings”.

Image

Just one thought went through my mind. Probably He did not know Bhojpuri to speak to the Bihari girl and reliever her from poverty.