Sunday, October 23, 2016

No thank you, nothing for me

So a few days ago, I happened to be walking down New Bond Street. Posh shops with people standing outside saying, ‘Try this! Try this!’ and handing out free cosmetics. I kept going and the chant continued, ‘Try this! Try this!’ After walking a bit I started replying, ‘No thank you. No thank you. No thank you.’ One guy said, “Try it! It’s free!!” I said ‘No thank you.’ He said, ‘Are you sure? Take it!’ I said, ‘No thank you.’ He said, ‘Ok, what do you use?’ I said, ‘Nothing.’ He replied, in alarm, ‘Nothing! WHY?’ So I was thinking, why do I use nothing? Why? Why? And I told him, ‘Because I’m a Buddhist!’ No sooner had the words left my lips than I was stricken with utmost guilt! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, what would my dear departed mother have felt to hear that! What a betrayal of her patriotic Hinduism!! We don’t believe in the caste system. We believe everyone is equal. But we’re Hindus! Yes, we’re Hindus! We don’t do sati. We’re fine with widow remarriage! My parents actually did ‘kanyadaan’ TWICE for me!!! And my dad’s final cremation rites were done by his daughter (me)!! But we’re Hindus. We never go to the temple – ever, ever. Actually, we do go - but only as tourists. All our worship is done at home, in private. Often in secret. But we’re Hindus! We don’t do pooja – ok, once a year, on Diwali! But we’re HINDUS. We don’t call it ‘karma’, we call it Newton’s Third Law of Motion (each and every action has an equal and opposite reaction). Still, we’re Hindus. All this was going on in my mind and the man said, ‘Ohhhh!’ and he bowed low and said, ‘have a nice day!'