It has been an ordinary Saturday, nothing to be done through the entire day, sitting at home flipping through TV channels, watching odd videos and the day almost got over by 7:30 P.M. Yes I don't have any night life to look forward to. Boredom breeds frustration and anger. I took my Royal Enfield out and rode to no particular direction. Sooner the empty road passage of my small town ended and I was in no mood to negotiate the chaos of too many people on narrow road. I turn my bike and decided to go to my favorite place in the town. This is a ghat on the bank of Hooghly river. There is a small Kali temple on the ghat, very peaceful temple unlike the ones always crowded and devoid of the most divine experience of peaceful praying atmosphere. You can sitt at this temple, listen to the aarti and feel the calmness of the temple.
I reached the ghat and realized the aarti has already been performed. Instead of getting in the temple, I went and sat on the well kept stairs of the ghat, leading into the river. Every evening people come and sit on this river ghat chatting with family, friends and very good friends. I looked around for a place to sit and found one, closer to the water. There were couples of all ages, young love birds, married ones and elderly ones having a quiet time listening to one another. I sat alone looking into the darkness over the river and the twinkling lights on the opposite side of the bank. As I relaxed, the cool breeze slowly flutter my hair and passed through my ears. The breeze blowing across the river calms you down, I felt refreshed, the stuffiness of the idle day left the mind to make way for fresh thoughts.
I was sitting through the evening hours, a group was performing their rituals. My first guess was, it must be something to do with last rights of a funeral as the mortuary is very close by and often people perform their rituals on this ghat but the number of women in the group didn't confirmed my guess. I saw some women emerging after performing the rituals from the river, it was a very usual Hindu rituals but what I saw next, made me think and question. I saw the women, instead of climbing stairs, were lying and performing namaskar on each stairs. They were lying on their stomach, doing the namaskar, getting up to the next stairs and repeating the whole act again. These religious custom often question the whole believe system and its ways. How and why these act of penance first came about? Ain't these acts nothing but the mockery of human spirit? Rather it is glorification of one's cowardice? These customs have been my contention to accept my faith in religion and I am not been able to surrender to the belief of religion as I have been taught. I rather prefer to close my eyes than to trap myself into the tapestry of questions. The sound of the river water slowly hitting the shore has music to it and I preferred that over the question.
My eyes were close and I heard the sound of the dhak. I turned to look back, from where and why the dhakis are playing. I saw the same group of people dancing to the tune of dhakis, It was a way of celebration and this too was an facet of religion. I smiled and closed my eyes once again. The sound of the river and dhak created a bliss. I thought. isn't the whole purpose of religion to celebrate humanity. My answer was yes, I rather accept this celebration of religion than the creepy customs. I let the sound of the music calm my soul and look into the darkness covering the river. For no specific reason the eyes were fixed on the darkness avoiding the world around me and I enjoyed the rest of the evening.