Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Woes of a Not So Religious

Back in Trivandrum for three months of peace prosperity and joblessness, I have been occupied in useful activity to a lesser extent than a bunch of union members demanding nokku kooli in a local junction in Kerala. Almost exclusively due to that fact, I have been dragged along to pretty much every place my parents thought fit to grace with their presence. Of course, one man's meat is another man's poison. Being only this much short of being television evangelists, the preferred locations in which my parents hang out are prayer groups or other gatherings of similar nature. Being an agnostic and a closet one at that, these gatherings are as much appealing to me as Chris Gayle is to Prasanth Parameswaran.

One such expedition led me and my sorry ass to the inaugration of a new church. It was supposed to start at seven in the evening and I presume it did, but by the time I reached there it was well past eight. Inside, some Reverend was going Old Testament on capitalism, consumerism and all that is good with the modern world. From the outside, I could perceive a packed church, teeming with devotees, clinging on to every pearl dropping from the mouth of the Reverend.

Being a new church and hampered by financial constraints, it was a small establishment, fit to to house less than a hundred people. A more glaring disadvantage the place had was that it had only one door, an entry point from the front. Now, an essential feaure any church should have is multiple entry points, from the sides as well as the back. The reason is simple. The more religiously inclined are bound to come right on time and enter through the front door. However, those who have been touched by the Holy Spirit to a lesser extent often leaves home at 7:30 for an event that starts at seven. For them alone, the side and back entries are necessary. If you have only a front door, the church goer and his sorry ass is forced to walk in through the front door, under the critical glare of everyone present, receiving unspoken censure from the Reverend. One is forced to screw ones courage to the spot, modify the facial expression to one of intense passion and religious fervour and walk in, looking at the floor and hoping not to upset the charity box on the way. Added to that is the risk that the Reverend, who just spent fifteen minutes handing modernity's ass to itself, might seek to provide comic relief through the late comer, with one snide biblical reference.

All this only exacerbates the need for all churches to have multiple entry points, with at least a few of them hidden away from the censuring eyes of the punctual and the religious. Otherwise, that church is bound to miss out on having illustrious persona such as yours truly in the audience, as the Reverend makes modernity wish that the earth would swallow it. Of course, one could always argue, from an economist stand point, that such grief would be an added incentive for any church goer to reach on time. The flipside, of course, is that, if the church goer is resourceful, he may just slink off to a side road as his parents walk into the church, screwing their courage to the spot, modifying the facial expression to one of intense passion and religious fervour and walk in, looking at the floor and hoping not to upset the charity box on the way.

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