Tuesday, January 12, 2016

LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME



















Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

 My friend, Mukesh, who resides in the same building where I work from, had come to invite me to his house, yesterday. “Gerry sir, there is a puja at my place today morning,” he said, “please come for a while, any time at your convenience, between 2 and 6 to accept Prasad.

I went around 3.45 to Mukesh’s place. House was packed with visitors. Mukesh’ family offered me a plate of delicious Prasad. In the hall-room, they had placed a framed photo of Mukesh’s deceased parents. People stood before the photo to pay a silent homage and after that dropped a tern or twenty rupee note in the plate in front of the photo. It was a refreshing picture of Mukesh’s parents who looked young and happy in that picture. Mukesh’s dad died before and soon, his mother did. Both, particularly Mukesh’s mother, were very ill when they had passed away. When I stood before the picture, I felt very happy to see Mukesh’s parents with such warmth…

I also relished thoroughly the Prasad Mukesh’s family had served me, particularly the doda (sweet koky) and the carrot-and-cauliflower pickle.

But, then, after I came back to my office, I realized that I had no clue as to why the puja was performed… “Maybe in memory of Mukesh’s parents… for their soul… a shraad… Or, maybe a thanks-giving puja… Or, maybe seeking blessings and protection… I did not clarify on that…

But, I felt very good when I stood, in front of Mukesh’s parents' photo, for that brief moment… I, also, felt very good when I savored the Prasad offered to me with grace and reverence…


When it comes to religious customs and ceremonies – including those of my own faith – I, invariably, act dumb. I am incredibly ignorant about most of them… But, I attend and come home a lot moved… at times, with tears in my eyes, at times with goose-bumps all over my body… and, at times, my heart skipping a beat or two…

They are poignant moments… Very moving…

Yet, I can tell you – and without any regret or shame – that I do not bother much about what the fuss all about!

There are many heart-warming videos about Pope Francis. He has won the hearts of millions, world over, just by being simple, human and approachable… In one of the videos, we see a little boy repeatedly wanting to be cuddled by the Pope as he speaks to an august audience… The Security tries to bribe the kid away... but, the kid wants Pope’s affection… He goes and tightly hugs the Pope’s robe… and, you feel the warmth as the Pope runs his hand over the little-one’s head!

It had happened over two thousand years ago, as well. When Jesus was tired and resting, many little children were trying to go near Him. Jesus’ disciples did not want the Master be disturbed. But, the Master Himself said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

I have forgotten many prayers of my own faith… Honestly, I feel very, very connected to my Lord – my Father – despite it!


GERALD D’CUNHA

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