Last month I went to the housewarming party of a close friend. The Indian housewarming ‘party’ has three phases. The first phase is where the priest from the local religious establishment comes and does all kinds of prayers and gives blessings to the new homeowners and their friends and visitors to the house. If it’s a Hindu priest, they will throw in suggestions about where to place your bed, which direction ones head should face while sleeping, how the furniture should be placed in the living room.. etc. The second phase is called ‘paalukaachal’ where the homeowners boil milk in a new pot until the milk boils over - A wish for overflowing wealth. Now that I think of it, I have seen a Christian and Hindu housewarming but haven’t had the pleasure of attending any Muslim housewarming so I am not entirely sure if they have a paalukaachal as well 🤔️. The third phase is what all the visitors look forward to - Food! 🤤️. This particular housewarming was being done very carefully with proper social distancing and masks. The masks came down when we were having food and that’s when this Malayali Christian priest saw my face. I think an internal radar/sonar/lidar went blip blip in his mind and he asked me my name. I gave him my first name so he asked my last name. blip blip blip blip blip blip… I could see his expression change and a realization dawning on his face that I come from a Christian family. I knew what the follow up question was. Which church do you go to? Now I am an atheist and the last time I went to the church was for my brother’s wedding many years ago but what the priest was looking for was which particular church I go to or which particular orientation my family belongs to back in India or here. It just so happens that my family belongs to this very same orientation the priest represents. blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip…. His smile widened and he went on digging my roots 🤦♂️️. It would have become more irritating if not for my daughter who saved me by wailing out loud for being ignored. I spent the rest of my time dodging the priest and playing with my daughter but really hiding from the priest. Or so I thought. As the priest was leaving, he called me aside and talked about his newly built establishment and how it would be nice to see me there. How I should bring my family. How I can meet other people in the church.. the usual spiel. I get that its his business to get people to his church, spread the gospel and message but my patience has run thin and all I could manage was nod my head and a lot of polite ‘yeah’ and ‘sure’. His last pitch was to ask for my email address so that they can keep me informed about their church activities. To which I just smiled and I think he finally started to understand how interested I was. ..blip. That got the priest off my back. Rude perhaps but I have never liked how pushy they get. Anyway, here’s hoping I never cross paths with him. I am so not ready to hear why I am doomed to be in hell. He doesn’t know that I am already there.
Day 33 - Join Me in #100DaysToOffload