It was an unusual Sunday morning. An old woman, with her teenage son and her twenties something daughter approached our society door-to-door. What’s unusual about it? You might say. After all, it’s not the first time we are bugged by beggars and salesmen knocking our door.
The doorbell compelled me to part from the newspaper which had an enlightening interview of Gulzar on death of poetry. Grumbling all my way to the door, my first reaction to the uninvited guests was, ‘kashu nathi joytu’, making it loud and clear that I wasn’t interested in buying anything from them.
The girl smiled and said, “Sir my name is Mary and these are my family members. We need a few minutes from you… we just want to ask you something…” I was not at all with them, for my mind was wondering what solution Gulzar can offer to the dying trend of poetries. Will it survive the SMS generation?
“Sir, do you think the world is nearing its end?” The question broke my reverie and I said to myself what kind of illogical question it was. I put up a smile and responded, “Everything reaches its end one day. So by world, if you mean human race, it too shall end someday and maybe we are near to the end.”
“There is a rapid rise in crimes, the ethics and morality have taken a backseat, do you think things will look up in the years to come?” asked the old woman. “I don’t think so, on the contrary, things will get all the more worse with passage of time,” I said. “This is exactly why we are here for…” said Mary. She took out a leaflet with Gujarati text and added, “Jehovah i.e. God has promised that the world will begin afresh after it reaches the time we are dwelling in. The evil shall be destroyed and goodness shall prevail.”
I glanced at them with a smile of suspicion and said “Oh so you belong to some Bible Society?” “We don’t belong to any group or society sir,” said Mary. “So what’s your agenda…I mean what makes you go door-to-door and distribute this leaflet?”
“When one goes door-to-door, is it necessary to presume one is selling something? There is so much unhappiness around and sir, even your first reaction to our question was negative.” “The Old Testament of Bible mentions Judgment Day, the Qur’an talks about Qayamat, the Vedas warn about Mahapralay…but let’s face it – they are all just words. There’s no logic to it,” I defended.
“Hope doesn’t need logic sir. And hope is what we are selling door-to-door. If you find time, please read this leaflet and if you want more literature, we’d be glad to help you. We don’t belong to any group but every Sunday, instead of going to Church, we as a family of responsible citizens and good human beings decided to spread the word of God and give hope to people. It is our attempt to bring people close to their religious scriptures. We are selling hope in exchange of your time.”
Her words left me speechless and impelled me to read the leaflet. By the time I could respond, they were knocking another door. The incident made me wonder what makes us stick to being logical all the time? We easily convince ourselves to leave our brains home and watch a silly comedy flick for two and half hours, but are never able to do the same while reading our religious scriptures or pondering over its teachings.
For instance, while reading them, can you stop yourself asking questions like: How can a group of monkeys build a bridge of stones? How can Virgin Mary give birth to Jesus Christ? How can Jesus Christ rise again after being crucified? How can an illiterate become prophet and establish Islam? How can the dead be resurrected during the Judgment Day? Did God create Man or did Man create God?
For a change, what if we start buying these ideas? What if we turn to our religious scriptures with a hope of battling the demons inside us? Maybe the cure to moral decay lies somewhere in pages between the hardbound objects we revere so much that we never bother to open and read. Maybe the end is near enough to start afresh. Well, I know I am a bad salesman. So let me try driving my point home through these verses I wrote after this incident:
Khamoshi behri kar jaati hain,
Aao cheekh ki shehad gholein.
Chaav jhulaaste hain,
Aao dhoop sekein.
Marham jalaate hain,
Aao ghaav khuredein.
Kinaare doobote hain,
Aao dariya niglein.
Saans bahut le chuke,
Aao zara jee ke dekhein.
Soch bahut chuke,
Aao kuch kar ke dekhein.
Silences deafen the ears,
Let’s create the music of screams.
Shades scorn the bare feet
Let’s dance in the glaring sun.
Balms bruise the skin,
Let’s scrape the wounds.
Shores drown castles,
Let’s drink up the oceans.
We’ve existed enough,
Let’s live a bit.
We’ve thought enough,
Let’s do a bit.