Monday, 22 April 2013

To My Wayside God

Kali by me at Pushkar, Rajasthan
I met God on my way to school many years back.
If God was not so common, I would never have found mine;
She rested under a tree all stark and dark and hidden.
Her red tongue hanging out, surprise frozen on her face for eternity.
Sheltered, next to the trunk of the big old banyan,
Covered by the thick leaves that stopped the sky from taking a peek,
I watched her everyday on my way and back;
She looked chilled and ready to grant wishes,
I'd fold my hands, say my prayers and walk away;
She always came through and I was forever blessed.
This went on for a while till I changed my route;
She continued lazing under the tree while I made my way into life.
I looked for her everywhere, in temples, churches and mosques,
She looked better off and well dressed,
But, there were always crowds seeking, jostling, praying, crying;
So, one-on-one was impossible.
I missed our old camaraderie.
One day, I went back to the old town and on the old route,
I found the banyan tree, I saw it from a distance. It looked bigger.
Like a canopy, a gypsy's old tent - ramshackle and disreputable,
A tangle of thick leaves, gnarled branches and roots - falling from sky into the Earth!
I laughed in my mind, thinking, 'how can a God live here?'
Still, dragging my reluctant feet to the grove, I looked for Her.
It took me a while because, now, there were several there;
Abandoned, forgotten and forsaken, they had created a family in the grove.
I looked and found many of them, some orange, many blue, others black or pink.
Obviously, the color of their skin was not a problem in this household.
I sought hard and looked around the roots till I found her,
She was lounging on the shoulder of another. A blue God.
His muscular back was supporting her chin.
They looked happy together, one black, the other, blue.
Her tongue red and eyes wide she leaned on him,
She looked relaxed like, she was at home.
He sat calm with his two eyes closed while the third, looked straight at me.
I smiled at them. They smiled back.
I folded my hands and bowed to them,
They blessed me with hands frozen in blessing for anyone who sought.
Overwhelmed I cried, blessing my God for having found her Lord.
Image courtesy, Steve McCurry

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