Sunday, July 1, 2012


I am a Hindu because I was born in a Hindu family. Being a Hindu is of no consequence to me. Believing in God is. My faith does not depend on rituals.

Around a year back I had gone to the Kali temple in Kalighat, with Kaniti.  It was my first visit. We went there to buy a pair of shakha, pola(bangles that married Bengali woman wear) for my bhabhi. And it is an experience I am not likely to forget. For all the wrong reasons. We were buying stuff outside the temple when we decided to visit the Goddess inside.

There were more than several pundits trying to lure people in. One of the pundits told us that he will help us offer Puja for Rs 22. We decided to go with him. He made us buy some stuff. Flowers, sindoor, a red cloth, red thread, some bangles and prasad. And then he took us to a place we could keep our shoes. We took off us shoes and followed him. He took us for a darshan through the “V.I.P” entrance so that we young girls could avoid the crowd. We saw the idol and then he took us to another room where we could offer our puja.
He made us sit separately because we are not of the same caste(Kaniti is a Brahmin which I am not) All my life I have never been asked my caste as if it’s such an important thing. That was the first time.

We sat for a while and he called us in turns so that we could perform puja. And then the something we were not expecting happened. He asked for 1500 bucks. He said it’s an offering to Kali. I was shocked. I told him I didn’t have the money and that he had said the puja could be done in only 22 rupees. He said that was for the things we had bought. Both Kaniti and I were shocked. He kept on arguing with us and at one point turned nasty. For a moment I was really scared.

I explained to him that we had no money and offered a Rs.50 note. He looked offended and then said we could come back to the temple and give money when our wishes came true. We nodded in agreement and went outside.

When we went to the place our shoes were kept, we were in for another not-so-pleasant-surprise. The pundit asked for his service fee. I don’t remember how much we paid him but I think it was around 100 bucks.  After that I just about had enough money to go back home.

As soon as I got on the bus I rubbed of the red “tikka” from my forehead. I was feeling so sickened. As soon as I reached home I recalled the story to my Mom. I was so disgusted I tore off the red thread from my hand and went for a shower.

Religion is made ugly by such people. To them it’s just business. A money making scheme. I would rather to stay away from anything which holds no meaning for me. And certainly not something that involves mixing worship with money. The pundit was trying to fleece us in the name of God. We, as educated young girls were feeling victimized. And I don’t ever want to feel that way when it comes to my faith in god. My faith remains unshaken and my stance against  rituals is stronger now.


  1. WeirdTalkingDragon01 July, 2012

    I totally agree with you. Religion is something very different from the belief in God. Sometimes people blur the lines. Religion is man-made. If God had created religion, it wouldn't have been so screwed up.
    I cannot honestly say that I'm a Hindu cos I don't believe in religion. So I have no religion.

    1. Religion discriminates, though it's not supposed to.