Image by FrogStarB via Flickr
The knock hits my door like a splash of water on a sleepy face. I open my eyes drowsily dreading who it might be. Its already august and festivals are on us. Rakhi, Independence Day, and Ganeshotsav rise to prominence in this month of fading rains and rising humidity. I don’t mind festivals, what I mind is sponsoring them. I hate the fact that certain very enterprising entrepreneurs in our society would stoop to the level of using my liberalism as an excuse to collect money. In simple terms, I hate to pay for someone else’s party. So what if it is God himself? If he is so big, he ought to know to take care of himself.
I opened the door to see the jackass with his entire flock smiling at me. ‘Kya hai bey?’ was my first reaction. ‘For ganpati.’ ‘What for ganpati?’ ‘Collection?’ ‘What are you collecting specifically?’ I had by now made up my mind to annoy these guys, as they had annoyed my sleep. ‘C’mon yaar! Stop playing around.’ I looked at him. Is he really dumb, or do you have to be like this when you are borrowing money? ‘Listen brother! Appreciate what you are doing here. But I am not interested in paying money for your charade.’ His eyebrows knotted up ‘This is for a good cause’ ‘Really? Are you going to be donating this money to cancer affected children? To the disabled army veterans or to the alcoholics anonymous? Huh!’ ‘Eh…no but…’ ‘Well, then, no. Thank you…Check somewhere else.’
By now my dad had arrived from his shaving ritual and heard the last line. ‘ Shriram!! Stop talking nonsense and give them money!’ ‘I am not going to. If you want, do the honors yourself.’ ‘Uncle, chalega. You give na!’ Oh! Smart move a-hole… You are a salesman. My dad came to the door with his purse. He picked out a green hundred note and passed it over. ‘Sorry uncle. Fixed rate hai. 201 Rs.’ What the…!! I couldn’t resist ‘Pata nahi tha, Ganpati ka bhaav badh gaya! Sorry, we will check some other place. It’s too costly for us.’ That wiped the smirk off the face of both my father and the entire collection team. My dad was solidly pissed by now. ‘He is just like that. No respect for tradition. An anti-society mentality! Sorry re… here you go.’ He handed over the money. I smiled, BTW, that’s anti-societal, dad. Not anti-society. J
I am really pissed that morality and religiousness go hand in hand in society. It is not necessary to be a god fearing individual in order to be morally and ethically correct. But the opposite is always true. You can’t collect money for god on compulsion. You can’t tell me to pay up 200 bucks, on the refusal of which you will term me an unsocial and an immoral bastard. I refuse to be held ransom by people’s opinions. And I do not think the Elephant headed god himself, would mind not being dumped in the oil contaminated ocean for once this year! I hate the fact that what started as a social gathering to integrate people has turned into a competition between money minded groups, creating a platform for corporates to plant their names on billboards larger than the statues themselves. If there is a god, I am sure he is pretty pissed at the way we are using his name. No wonder, he does not speak to us anymore.