Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
It so happened that during one of my visits to my mother's place I observed her glued to a devotional channel airing speeches from many saints. She was kind of addicted to it and expected me and my 7 year old to also sit there, listen and learn from it. The saints were preaching about good and bad karma, stories from scriptures, good virtues in life etc. We watched for 10 minute's and were ready to do something else when my mom chided me saying " when you show so little or no interest in our religion and sound so blasphemic many times and can't sit here for some time what will your kid learn. How will she become inclined to religion and learn about our God's, good and bad, virtues, culture etc. You come from a lineage of such religious family and will drown our name in the samaj.
My answer to her was "Mom, I don't believe in these man made gods". At that time she kept quite and was again busy watching her program but later again confronted me and I had a heated argument with her. I told her that I am not an atheist and not making my daughter a one but I don't believe that another human can show me the path to God or take me there. I believe in do it yourself and (khud markar hi swarg milta hai) am firm believer in almighty's presence and power but don't show it off and can't trust anyone's intentions. Words and practices these days differ a lot.
This was the time I realised that now it is high time I share with her something which I have hidden inside my heart for some 23 years. Probably that will give her an idea why i have come to think like this and though being from a very religious family and samaj am acting this way.I just said that you remember Mr. xxx and she was stoned and stunned. Her brows were raised and now I calmed her and made her sit by my side and started.
I want to share that we were a hardcore religious family and followed a particular samaj. My grandmother and mother were not only ardent believers and famous for their active participation in the samaj but also many saints and people related whenever use to visit the city made it a point to stay at our home.
The whole family and specially my mother and grandmother would get very busy in providing best hospitality, comfort and special meals for the person and also entertained a number of guests who came throughout the day to pay regards and sit and discuss with the saint.
This was a regular feature at our home and my dad, uncle and us kids were accustomed to it. We were required to get up early, take bath and follow many rules and not create fuss. We also used to sit near the saints and heard scriptures, performed pujas and got blessings.
It once so happened that a Mr.xxx visited our city and initially was staying in the samaj.He soon became very popular and my mother and grandmother made visits to him and got so enchanted that asked him to stay with us. He happily arrived at our place and a room was specially assigned to him. I was surprised to see that usually some 15 - 20 people came to visit at such occasions but now around 50 - 60 were coming. In 2-3 days he was getting God worshipped and people went crazy about him.He had a very enchanting persona and his anecdotes were driving the whole Crowd crazy. Soon he started to go to many peoples home to perform yagna's and pooja. His main base station was our home and he would go in the morning and evening for few hours. At that time around 23 years back he was charging a sum of 2 to 3 lakhs for a puja of 2-3 days. He had been at our place for past 10 days and I overhead one day my father. He was telling my mother that I am not liking the ways of this person. He has offered to do a puja for me to get a son. (We were his 2 daughters). Also he has offered my aunt to do a pooja for his brother else he would die soon.
He had talked to people and came to know that wherever he was performing a puja and charging a bomb a trend is present. When People come to discuss their problems with him he catches a weak point they have. After some time when he estimates as to how much that person can spend, he suggests a pooja. He claims that he gets pooja samigri from various holy places and so charge is high. He is not liking the man. My father was now rebuked by my grandmother for saying and discussing such things about a soul so pure. The plea was that he is not forcing anyone, people are coming and agreeing on their own.
One day when I had come after playing in the evening and was passing near his room, he called me. I like an obedient child came in the room. We were alone. When I touched his feet for blessings he first put a hand on my head and slowly his hand slipped and skidded on my shoulders, then back and then front. He pulled me and kissed my forehead and cheeks and then was going near my lips when we heard some footsteps and he pushed me away and sat calmly.
I ran away from there and was so aghast and exasperated,shocked, ashamed and scared that just got fresh and sat to study. I couldn't concentrate a bit. The act was replaying in my mind again and again. I was a 12year old girl and though didn't know many things but was clear that something wrong has happened. In those days kids were not told about bad touch etc and things like this were never discussed at our home. I now hated this man, his touch and wanted to shout, hit him and expose him but for fear of rebuke and feeling shy I didn't. I later realised when grown up that he was deriving carnal pleasures from me and satisfying his lust by feeling me and trying to smooch. Till day I remember that evening and my heart fills with anger and hatred. Also I get goosebumps thinking that if that day no one would have come for sometime he could have gone further. Even the thought was enough to get scared.
Well, lets get back. 2 days had passed after that evening and I was still to come out of that incident and was very disturbed from inside trying to stay away from his vicinity as much as I could when I saw him doing the same thing with my cousin sister who was 6 years younger to me. She was just 6years old. I couldn't believe my eyes. This man was a devil.I couldn't do anything but with presence of mind i made a noise as if someone is calling and she was saved.
Enough was enough and now I was seriously contemplating about exposing this man's reality in front of everyone. He was a fraudster, cheat and was a devil in the guise of a saint. I really wanted to see him ashamed of his acts and given a punishment for his acts. But at my age and with my kind of family accusing a person that too of his stature was not easy. Will they believe me? Will my cousin also support? If he proves me wrong?what about the family reaction? What will they think about me etc were questions bogging me down and stopping me.
I just prayed to the real God as I had heard that he comes to rescue and listens to children's prayers to help me.That very night something happened that threw this man out of our home, life and samaaj forever. A lady came with around 20 other people . she was from a very affluent family and they were also like us an important part of the samaj. She and her husband revealed in front of everyone as to how Mr. xxx was a fraud and had not only duped money from many people but also was a henious man who had sexually harassed that lady when he was at their place. She was shouting at the top of her voice and her husband was almost ready to beat this man. She told that first she was also not revealing anything due to shyness and fear but when she told her husband he supported her completely came into action. Like my father his husband also had doubts on this man. They came out in open not fearing anything least this man would cause more harm. The whole samaj got an eye opener to not trust anyone in a saint's clothes blindly and be alert in future.
My family was in shock and we children were told to go away but I know that he would have got a good lesson for his deeds. He pleaded to just leave and ran away ASAP. He was sensing a severe may be legal or police action against him and thus ran away and was never heard off. I took a sigh of relief and thanked that lady from the bottom of my heart.
This incident has shook the whole samaj, many people and specially my family and mother and grandmother. Now they were more alert and careful as to whom to worship and only limited and credible people came to stay at our place. My father and uncle were now very vigilant and strict and though I many times wanted to tell about that incident with me and my cousin but both of us kept quite and that too for years.
But today when my mother had raised the issue of my getting g converted into an atheist and making my daughter also the same I revealed everything. She had tears in her eyes and was shocked and muted. She just said that "beta tumne bataya kyun nahi, woh aadmi to bahut bura tha". I just said that mumma I was so small that didn't had the courage for this. I know I should have told you and hiding such a thing for so long is wrong but I was scared as to whether you and dadima would believe or not, also I was shy as in our home such things were not discussed at that time, even my cousin didn't say a word to me or anyone else in this. I just couldn't.
But I want you to know that your daughter is an ardent believer in God. He had that day and at many other occasions helped me, saved me, listened and fulfilled my prayers. I am not against any religion or saints or what they preach and am not generalising that everyone is a fraud or bad but this incidence and in recent years shocking revelations about such people by news channels and reports in newspaper and overall so many cases everyday about molestation, rapes and abduction and hypnotism cases have lead me to believe only in the real God and good karma. I am teaching my daughter the same. I don't want her to go through what I had gone through at that tender age.
Now, my mom hugged me and praised me for my awareness and alertness and accepted my point.