Who do you go to in your darkest moments?
How do you explain to the world what you’re going through?
What would you do when there’s no light in sight?
I turned to the source that everyone eventually turn to when they’ve lost all hope – Providence.
It was early in the evening when I reached the local Shiva temple. Still around 3 hours until the evening puja, so there were not too many people there – just about 20-30 – scattered in small groups across the vast marble floor in front of the Shiva idol.
I walked in gingerly and scurried away to the furthest corner of the temple, careful not to attract any attention. After all, atheists are not the kind of people welcome at places of worship. Thankfully, nobody noticed.
I sat there, resting against a pillar, dissolving into the temple’s serene aura. There was something about the place that seemed to have a sedative effect on you. People sitting around were completely absorbed in meditation. They spoke, if ever, only in barely audible whispers. The entire place was absolutely quiet, save the occasional gusts of wind rustling the leaves outside – the perfect setting to listen to your thoughts, reflect and contemplate.
I took a few deep breathes and went over the horrors that had tormented me for so long…and I felt so much better. The positive energies had such profound influence on me that the past didn’t seem to matter at all.
I turned to look at Shiva. He sat in His usual meditative stance, eyes half closed, trident in one hand and a damru in the other.
Suddenly, He opened his eyes and looked at me.
Shiva: “What the? Hahahahahahahahahaha!”
Shiva: “Oooh what happened there, my little non-believer friend?”
Me: “Yeah, right. As if you can’t see.”
Shiva: “Are you kidding me? I see everything! I have 20-20 vision in all 3 of my eyes!”
Me: “So you know, huh. I came here because I need your help.”
Shiva: “Suuure. I’ll be more than happy to help you out. You poor Manchester United supporter! Bwahahahahahahahaha!”
Me: (mutters under breath)
Shiva: “I heard that!”
Me: “Sorry. Anyway, give me some answers now, please?”
Shiva: “Wait a second, my eager beaver. Let me savour this wonderful moment. Hey Parvati, check out who’ve we got here today!”
Parvati: “ROFL. This is funnier than the time Ganesha stumbled and fell down after eating too much.”
Ganesha: “Mooom! Stop embarrassing me!”
Parvati: “Oh come on, boy. Grow up!”
Ganesha was so annoyed that he plugged in his iPod earphones with two hands while simultaneously deleting his parents’ wedding pictures from Picasa with the other two.
Me: “Erm, family issues later, if you please.”
Shiva: “Aah, right. So United lost. What’s the big deal? Get over it, man.”
Me: “It’s not so simple, God. The pain refuses to go away. I had so much hope riding on them…”
Shiva: “And you think it’s easy for me?”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Shiva: “I am a Manchester United fan too. So are my wife and kids.”
Shiva: “That’s right. Don’t go by my blue colour; I’m NOT a City or Chelsea supporter. Just a bad case of food poisoning…”
Me: “Wow. This is news. So tell me, what happened? Why did United lose?”
Shiva: “Hmm, it’s complicated. You see, it was after a long, fiery debate that all Gods arrived at this decision – United HAD to lose.”
Me: “But why?”
Shiva: “Uhh, alright, I’ll tell you. See, the final was in Rome.”
Shiva: “What is Rome famous for?”
Me: “Pizza? Fashion? Women? Francesco Totti?”
Shiva: *facepalm* “No, idiot. Rome is home to the Vatican – The Roman Catholic HQ headed by the Pope.”
Me: “I don’t see where this is going…”
Shiva: “Oh don’t you get it? How could we let a team named ‘The Red Devils’ triumph in Jesus’ city? It would have been so utterly humiliating for Him. In the times of modern science and technology, religion is already losing popularity. Such an added insult would have completely ruined His PR and stuff. And imagine, if people would have started worshipping Sir Alex instead.”
Me: “Well, that’s true…”
Shiva: “Damn right it is. I, for one, didn’t agree with it. I love United.”
Me: “You do?”
Shiva: “Yeah. But they had a poll and most supported Jesus. They couldn’t afford to let go of the strong Catholic base in Barcelona.”
Me: “Wow, so twisted and manipulative of Him. It’s so much like pre-election political tactics. And I thought only Congress were good at it…”
Shiva: “I’m afraid so. Getting votes isn’t hard. Not when you have the power to convert water to wine, if you know what I mean.”
Me: “Yes, I do.”
Shiva: “So there.”
Me: “But… but… aren’t you going to do something about it?”
Shiva: “I am, actually. I’m planning to change next year’s venue to somewhere in the Middle East. Devils winning there would look appropriate, if you know what I mean.”
Me: “Yes, I do know what you mean! Stop saying that!”
Shiva: “Don’t give me that attitude, boy. I’ll take away Ronaldo this instance if I want to.”
Me: “No no no no, chill mate, chill. Your anger management issues are well known. I apologize.”
Shiva: “Hmm ok.”
Me: “So United are going to win next year, right?”
Shiva: “The night is the darkest before the dawn, and I assure you, the dawn is coming…”
Me: “Oh sweet! Promise?”
Me: “God promise?”
Shiva: “Dude, that’s redundant.”
Me: “Err, right. My bad. Anywho, thanks a lot for the inside info. Glory glory Man United!”
Unfortunately, I uttered the last sentence a little too loudly. People who were sitting there turned around and glared at me.
Me: “Oops, sorry.”
Crowd: (menacingly) “What was that again?”
Me: “Nothing.. I just got a little carried away…”
Crowd: “Stop with the excuses. Just tell us what you said.”
Me: “Uhh…Shiva promised me that United will win next year.”
Me: “I know, I’m sorry. I should have never come here in the first place. I’ll leave right away.”
Crowd: “No no no, hold on. We’re all United supporters too!”
Crowd: “Obviously. All of us had come here for the same reason you did. Who else would come here?”
Shiva: “Touché. Sigh.”