How the Barber Got His Own Head Shaved Off!!!
When I went to the Barbar shop yesterday, I saw my regular Barbar had tonsured his head and removed his moustache.
What’s more, among the images of pantheon of Hindu Gods that he displayed on the wall, a new Goddess has appeared.
When I looked at his face and before me asking any question he said: “We went to Vellankanni and tonsured the heads.”
Then pointing out at the Goddess picture, he said “This is Velankanni Matha…”
I said: “Good”.
It’s great to see that Hindus always remain secular by displaying pictures of other religions, though I have not yet seen otherwise till this day.
There was another man sitting in the nearest chair for his turn after me. A tall, trimmed beard man with a spectacle. I had seen him in our locality, but I didn’t know him personally. He asked: “So, did you join Christianity?”
“No – I am not yet converted to Christianity…They said you may continue as a Hindu for some time and there is NO compulsion that you should join Christianity…” the Barbar said
“Haha…That’s a very generous offer. Very unlikely from Semitic cults…You are lucky…” the bearded man replied.
“Yes. But I have decided I won’t bow to any other Gods who didn’t save me…”he said.
“What made you go there?” I asked him.
“Uday Sir, you know the bad times, hardships and miseries I was facing, right?” Whenever I visited him for a haircut he would talk about his family and the pitiful state he is in. He was nearing 64, still he had to over-work. I told him not to call me, Sir. But he wouldn’t listen. He has three daughters (One similarity between us). His eldest daughter was divorced from a drunkard and abusive husband and was staying with him (her father) with her two children. The younger one is totally paralyzed. His wife has acute asthma and heart disease. Recently, his youngest daughter’s husband committed suicide. She was 7-months pregnant and mother of a 3 year old kid. This Barbar has to take care of his entire family. And he has back-pain, degenerative knee joint and bad cough.
“My daughter was hospitalized for delivery. She was in a state of trauma and panicky after her husband’s death…That time those angels appeared…”Barbar said.
“Who?” I asked.
“Who else? Those marketing guys of some Christian sects. Hospitals and courts are their easy targeted biggest market…They come like scavengers in such places. Their aim is not Seva (service), but to convert people.” the bearded man said.
“No Sir, they sat with us and prayed for us. Nobody in our community has done like it before. They didn’t ask us to convert. So, my daughter recovered from trauma and delivered a healthy baby boy…In fact we all thought it would be a girl, given our bad luck so far…But, by Matha’s (Lady of Health, Mother Vailankanni) grace, it was a boy…”
“You mean to say girl is a curse and boy is a blessing?” I asked him.
“Yes, isn’t it Sir? Don’t you know that?”
“No – I don’t know. I consider my daughters as blessings…”I said.
“For affluent people like you there won’t be any problem. For us, daughter means curse…” he said. I didn’t reply. I have many things, including my lowering middle-class status, to say. But it is useless here. He is talking from his experience.
“When the boy is born, they came again and prayed for the boy…” he continued.
“Good,” I said.
“Then we saw the miracle. The first gesture the baby showed was moving hand in the form of cross…”
“Oh, really?” I asked.
“Non-sense. He is talking about baby’s normal arm movements. They mis-interpret it as cross to cheat this guy…”the bearded man told me and then asked the Barbar: “What’s the problem with cross? Even if the child makes cross mark, what’s so special about it?”
“Didn’t you know sir? Cross is a Holy mark. It is divine mark send by the creator…” the Barbar said and moved his arm like a cross and kissed in the side of his index finger.
“Jesus Christ was crucified in the cross. He died in the cross. Using the same logic, why don’t you keep a pistol’s photo instead of Gandhiji’s photo in this wall? He was shot by the pistol, right?” the bearded man asked.
Barbar didn’t understand it. He said: “Then the sisters said, we have to go to Velankanni otherwise Matha’s curse will follow. Hence we decided to go. I tonsured my head…”
I just smiled.
“Uday Sir, you also have to go…there is no point in praying Gods here. If you pray to Velankanni Matha, you will get desired result…”
“I don’t pray much…”I said.
“This is really idiotic…Mr.Uday, you are a learnt person. Can’t you give him befitting answers?” the bearded-man angrily asked me. “I know you are a journalist and writer…”
“Does it help? Let people believe in what they want. This is a democratic country…” I said.
“Do you think these things happen because their prayers worked?” he asked.
“It can be pure coincidence. Sometimes, for some people, something works…But you cannot generalize…” I said.
“In Jesus Christ’s case prayer didn’t work,” he said.
“How come?” the Barbar asked.
“When Jesus Christ was put on cross, he cried out in pain: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”. God didn’t listen to his prayers. In Pope’s case also God does not listen to Prayers. Since he knows about it, when he falls sick, he doesn’t go for prayers, instead he goes to doctors…”he said.
“But, for ordinary people, hope and faith are more important than unpleasant truth. Let them have their beliefs. Until and unless we overcome our belief-system, how can we question their beliefs?” I asked.
“So Uday sir, you don’t believe in Velankanni Matha?” the Barbar asked.
“No. I don’t believe in any exclusive Gods who give conditions to listen to prayers. If the God says he will listen to you only if you join his religion, it is sort of bargaining. It sounds like trading to me. So, I am sorry, I don’t believe in such Gods…” I said.
The bearded man laughed aloud.
“Sir, this Goddess is a real miracle maker. After praying to her, my back pain and knee pain disappeared!!! Sir, I know you for so many years. Tell me a wish, I will pray for you. If it works we will go to Velankanni together…” the Barbar told me.
There was a poster he pasted on the site near to the mirror on the wall. It is a post from Pastor Tom Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kottayam (Kerala State) and was abducted in Yemen March last year by the Islamic State terror group. He is pleading to India government to help release him.
“Please pray for his release…” I said.
The bearded man laughed again. He said: “Tom Uzhunnalil went to Yemen not for government of India. He went there to market his sect and convert people. He didn’t listen to the warning from Indian government. Why doesn’t he pray to his God or ask Vatican to save him? He knows that his God is not in good terms with ISIS’s God and won’t listen to his prayers. Those people are selling blind faith and beliefs. And ignorant people like this Barbar will buy it…”
I didn’t comment. I can see lot of cults among Hindus also does it in the name of Mathas, Babas, Gurus and Godmen. I was wondering when people would understand the essence of Sanatan Dharma and follow the divinely ordained happy life.
Whatever I have written is just reproduction of the talk we had at the barber’s shop.
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