Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why i am still a hindu: as revealed in a bad dream

This is a real dream i had after i went to sleep, somewhere around 8 this morning.

We want to talk. It is really late. But we are feminists. We are not supposed
to be afraid. We are walking down a dark midnight kerala road.  I start getting
more and more afraid. I want to feel safe. Lets go where there are some people, 
shyly i tell her. Did she want to walk on? I don't remember...

We see a huge bulding. And even as i say, lets go in, i realize that it is a temple.
Celebrating a midnight festival. Inside the temple in an auditorium made of granite
stones, there are women in bright blue and pink Benares sarees
(aren't dreams supposed to be black and white? But i am so sure i saw pink).
And there are also those letchy, orange, hindu swamis, reputed to having killed many.
We step in without thinking, and the swamis welcome us warmly, making me feel queazy,

We sit down on a cold granite seat, under the thick dark starless sky. We see a
huge temple pond before us. And in it there are these specks of light floating.
Something huge is about to happen and all the rich temple people are waiting.
We start to feel guilty. I feel it most coz i am the one who manoeuvred this move,
away from the rape fantasies of the dark, midnight road.

I know we ought not to be sitting here. We who have renounced our crazy religion,
that tells us that we are second hand citizens. That strips us of our healthy humanity
and yet prods us to hate and kill. We try to read an intellectual magazine, which
materializes from nowhere, in some show of feeble resistance.

She lies in my lap. At that moment i find her way too attractive and
i realize that i want to sleep with her. She plays with my hair. The temple
awaits its festivities.

Suddenly i spot Farida's face in the crowd that has formed before me.
She still has her sweet flick on her forehead. It looks prettier than usual.
But Farida looks like a ghost and she looks terrible SAD. Her face is pale,
and she slants it sadly to one side.  Her eyes are flowing downward with
sorrow. And she sits there refusing to look at me.

I feel i have done her immesnse wrong. Like i am a scrawny, brown,
broomstick man, who can do nothing but hide his face in shame before
his jilted lover. The way i always have felt with her, especially towards
the end. Now that comes back a hundred fold and the dream becomes
a nightmare.

I want to get away, away from the temple. I tell the woman with me that
i want to leave.

We are on the road now which suddenly turns into a long glass-
framed airport corridor, which is endless. The woman with me
becomes a ballerina in a white billowy skirt and stands talking to a man
in a velvet suit. I am left alone in the corridor.

The glass frame is so transparent that it almost feels like i am standing
in the open, looking at the sky. And i almost forget that i am trapped.
Suddenly i remember, panic and wake up -