When Man Created Religion and Religions created Gods
Saturday, September 24, 2016
It’s been a while since I sat down to pen down a part of my life and published it. It feels strange now as all I’ve penned earlier were inspirational stories – where I covered common heros from day to day lives. But now this one is different – both in terms of turning me to hate and respect religion at the same time, to be awestruck and frustrated at the same time. Reminds me of one of the poems-turned-film songs of the olden golden times by Vayalar in 1972 that truly struck a chord in me. It meant somewhat like this – “ Man created religions. Religions created God / Gods. Man along with religions and God/ Gods divided the earth.” What I witnessed in 2 different occasions put me off balance – to verge of realization that Man often hangs on that thin line of “Humanity” versus “religion”, unable to often comprehend which side he should stand on, which side would be right. And hence I write now, I write and I lose a part of the pain the memory holds. I share this one with you now – to break free from this shackle where I constantly ponder back to this event knowingly or unknowingly being in pain every second of its memory.
As usual Vijo, Lil Eva and me moved on to the Sunday evening English Mass at the Holy Family Cathedral in the city after our work at 6:00 pm. We often arrived early – too early for the Mass at 7:00 pm. Often it gave me enough time to comprehend and think about all that I’ve been upto in the past one week, while I make sure Lil Eva’s bottle of milk and snacks are ready at her disposal, just to ensure that I had them ready at the slightest whimper or act of restlessness from her end. One such evening almost 4 weeks back, as I was preparing her milk in the small room besides the altar (especially for parents with little kids); I hear a whimper. I look up startled as I’m sure that not my baby. I look around to ensure that Lil Eva is ok – and infact she is more than just ok, playing with that other little girl who came with her parents for the mass as well. I continue with my task – I have to get things ready quickly – and at the same time thinking about that one mail which I failed to send while in office – which might have its own consequences when – I hear the whimper louder this time. I turn in the direction of the cry and I see – a lady of about 40 at the maximum, fair, thin, with thick black long straight hair clutch on to her stomach and whimper. She looks like she is from Philippines. Within seconds, I see other ladies from Philippines approach her and enquire. Vijo looks over at me and enquires if everything is ok. With a shrug of my shoulders I show him that things should be ok – ofcourse she is flanked by many other ladies from her own native land – all enquiring if she was ok. I turn around and finish preparing Milk and Snacks for Lil Eva. I sit up straight and the commotion in the last bench increases. Being extremely and stupidly sentimental enough to the verge that a “Strangers tear” would tear me up uncontrollably; I look over to Vijo. Reminding me of the thousand and one reasons why I love him; he motions and asks me to go over and enquire if she was ok. I get up, walk over and ask the ladies what was going on. They all had been offering her water to drink and by now she was sobbing uncontrollably clutching on to her stomach. “She has stomach pain”, “She is sick”, “we don’t know”, “We need to call a taxi and send her home”,“Please ask her, she isn’t replying to us “ – were the many answers that came in. They moved aside, giving me a chance to ask her, “ Are you ok? I drive, I can drop you if you want to go home. Are you in pain? Do you want to see a doctor?” She looks up at me, shakes her head and sobs uncontrollably and hysterically. Unable to fathom what she meant, I kneel down so I can look up at her face and I tell her, “ Don’t worry, we can drop you home. My husband and baby will come along.” To that she says, “I stay far – in Salwa” and continues to sob. “That’s ok, we don’t mind. But are you sure you are ok? Do you want to go to a doctor?” I ask seeing her struggle to control her pain while she sobbed hysterically clutching to her stomach. I was beginning to get concerned if she was very sick. I get up and motion over to Vijo that we would leave with her. Lil Eva who was standing right besides me watching this commotion, was being taken away by Vijo so that she wouldn’t keep on pulling at my sleeves in confusion and worry at what was happening. But I needed to make sure she wasn’t in any medical emergency, so I forcefully turned the lady’s face to mine and said, “ I will drop you home, but I need to make sure you are not in deep pain or in need of medical emergency. “ To that, she just burst out crying, “ I am in pain because my son passed away a while back. Because I couldn’t send the money for his treatment. I came to Kuwait to make money for him, but when he needed it , I could not send… “and thus continued her agony. Unsure of what to do, I hugged her close, she sitting on the bench in the last row of the room in the Cathedral and me standing next to her. I dint know what I was doing, except that I cried with her and that I kept on telling her, “ I don’t know what to say, except that I can feel your pain. Do you want to go home”. She put her arms around herself , clutching herself as if she was protecting herself from the outside world and around her arms, were my arms as I hugged her and cried along.
Two strangers – from two different countries.
On hearing this, the ladies around her started to say , “ Don’t cry. Be strong. This is life. Life is tough. Just pray. I lost my son too. But I am strong … see.. Say “Jesus”..Pray to Mother Mary, she lost her son too”.. thus the rant continued. She clutched herself tighter and I hugged her tighter.
2 strangers trying to shield themselves from the point where religion separated itself from Humanity.
She sobbed hysterically, while her pain made me sob uncontrollably. Somewhere in between the commotion, I hear my baby cry as she sees me cry and as I look up- Vijo is taking her out of the room. I tell her, “Come, let’s go” I wanted to shield her from those people who were neck down in religion to the point that they clearly differentiated Christianity from the love of Christ, to the point where religion took over basic human nature, where you were expected not to cry when you loose your only son.
I wanted to scream at them. Somewhere in me, I wanted to scream, “ Will you leave her alone? PLEASE LET HER CRY. She lost her son. She is pain. Are you blinded? How can you be selfish enough to list your story of pain? Why don’t you all jusat shut up? Cant you see she’s toiling in pain and regret at not being able to send money on time? Cant you see she is blaming herself for her sons death? Mother Mary must have cried too.. or din’t she? I don’t know!!!” But the fear of being ridiculed kept me quiet.
I hugged her tighter and whispered near her head, “ Don’t listen to them. You can cry. Please don’t hold back. You did everything you could do for your son. You are not responsible for his death. Stop blaming yourself. I’m sure he has seen you struggle. I’m sure he knows that his mom did the best she could do” and with that she burst into fresh tears again. In about 10 minutes she calmed down a bit, look at me with eyes bloodshot from crying and asked, “Will you please come with me so that I can send money for his funeral? I need to book my tickets back home too.” She fumbled for something from her bag, “Do you have any friends or relatives here, I asked? Someone whom I should inform?” She just shook her head to that. I look around for Vijo, and in another second, I find someone holding my elbow and pulling me back.
There were more and more ladies rushing to her and talking in their native tongue. I dint understand a thing. She was trying to look at me in between the rush. They were taking her somewhere, and I dint understand a word since they were talking in her tongue. I raised my voice over the clatter and said, “ I will stay if you need me to.” She looked helplessly at me and her native people around and with a resigned sigh in between sobs, she said, “ Its ok.” I tried to get over and tell her, “ I will stay. Do you need me?” To that one of the elderly ladies said, “We are there. We will handle it.” I still look at her and ask, “ I will be with you if you need me to” She was now being ushered outside the church room, flanked by other ladies as the mass was about to begin. I follow her until the steps and I stop besides Vijo and baby. As she climbed down the step, she looks back at me in between sobs and mouths, “ Thank You.” I turn to Vijo helplessly as they escort her and I overhear one of the ladies tell her, “ I lost my son, I was strong, I never cried, I trusted in the Lord. Don’t you have faith? Our Lord died on the cross….” I cling on to Vijo and baby as she is being advised all the way..
Since when have we reached an era when Humanity is overcome by religion? Since when is it considered naïve to cry when you have lost a loved one ? “O Lord , forgive them for they do not know what they have done.” I take Lil Eva who is now crying from Vijo and I hug her close, I can’t stop sobbing, “O Lord, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
Nancy Vijo is a Corporate HR professional and an avid writer. Her writing basically centers around what she experiences personally and are generally thought provoking and inspirational. She is a fashion designer, a contemporary dancer and an MC who has covered many shows and events to her credit. Nancy believes in a simple motto - "What Goes around Comes Around" .
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