The timing was perfect for her. I was undergoing a traumatic phase of life. My child had been kidnapped just two weeks ago. We got him back after a massive hunt supported by the security networks and of course the biggest blessing was mobile network operating company who helped track down the kidnappers. She sought to benefit from our misfortune back then in the year 2000.
The family had undergone a traumatic drama, scene after scene unfolding each hour as our ears were glued to the mobile phone on which the calls for ransom and threats kept coming. Those two and half days were the most terrible ones for us all.
She came as a well wishing neighbor expressing her concern, having read our ordeal in the Daily Nation newspaper. She wanted to pray for our well-being and safety. I had absolutely no problem with that for I did not know Shenny’s intentions at that time.
She started off with the prayers, calling upon Jesus for his mercies as I sat besides her in our sitting room. It seemed comforting at first but the prayer seemed unending and I wondered why was the prayer so long. There was mention of our children, our staff, the house, the escalator, the cars and innumerable things that I hadn’t given a thought about until it was all mentioned in her prayers. Suddenly I felt fear, which wasn’t there until now.
Unaware of the discomfort I was getting into, she continued for about ten minutes non stop. Then she assured me that Jesus is protecting me and my family. I thanked her for her prayers for I do believe Jesus to be a supreme entity like Bhagwan. I offered a cup of tea and she said we would have it together at her house in a few days.
As agreed upon, I went to see her in a few days from then. Her maid told me to wait as Shenny was doing her prayers. I waited for ten minutes and asked the maid if would be longer and she innocently told me that her madam could at times pray for hours at stretch so no one can predict her timing. I felt being taken for granted and left her house.
Few weeks post the unnerving incident we had to move our children from the school here and got them admission in a boarding school In India. I had never ever dreamt of being separated from my kids this way and my husband Haresh and I were shattered from within. A big emotional upheaval of being without our children being with us and also knowing that we imposed this decision upon their innocent lives in such a sudden manner was breaking us down.
However, we gathered ourselves as we knew it was the best decision owing to the circumstances that I would rather not go into the details of. Picking up the threads of life we immersed into things to keep us occupied. Haresh had the business to run and got more indulged in his efforts to boost the business. After all the expenses that had increased by frequent travelling to see our children had to be catered for. I, Meanwhile found solace in Reiki – learnt it, practiced it and allowed my Guru , Kamal Tolia to heal me from the trauma.
Life was resuming to normalcy once we were satisfied that our children were safe and getting settled in their new environs. One day as I went to the garden for my evening walk I found Shenny already there. She had probably been monitoring my movements and timings hence simply joined me and we walked together. This pattern repeated for a few days and she would often talk about Jesus and prayers and security.
I must have been very ignorant of her motives, as I still found her very charismatic and continued talking and walking together, listening to mercies and blessings of Jesus. I found nothing wrong as it was God that was being praised and I was taught as a Hindu to appreciate all religions equally.
The bomb dropped on me the day she told me that she knew one day some harm had to come upon my family. I asked her the reason for what she said and she spoke very matter of factly, ” What else do you expect when you keep snakes around the neck, monkeys, elephants and tigers on your altar. They are bound to consume you up. These animals are there to devour you”.
I lost my cool at that moment and told her off to not abuse my Gods. I told her, ” Shenny, I will not tolerate anyone talking like this about my Gods as I worship them. The very animals who you think are there to devour me are my protectors and have brought my child back home in my arms from the kidnapping saga”. I knew the snake she mentioned was the one wrapped around Bhagwan Shiva’s neck, the Monkey was a refer to Hanuman Ji, Elephant was none other than Ganpati Devta and the Tiger was none other than the vehicle of Durga Mataji.
These were my revered devtas and figurines and I had never ever thought someone could speak of them in this kind of a language. It was then that understood that she was making sincere efforts at converting me away from my Hindu Dharam. I thought to myself, being a Sindhi, I understand the value of my religion more than others. After all, hadn’t my elders, my ancestors left their dear motherland Sindh to preserve their Hindu Dharam instead of converting to Islam and staying back. That was the last time I had entertained Shenny and quietly parted ways with her to live and enjoy my own space.
They left their land – their dear Mother land to remain Hindus.
They sacrificed their properties, their dwellings, their possessions to remain Hindus.
They bid goodbye to their lineage to some extent to remain Hindus.
They taught us to be firm in their religion and remain Hindus.
They accepted the challenges of moving to a new land to remain Hindus.
How then, could I, a Sindhi by birth, a Sindhi to the core, A Sindhi by upbringing give up my being a Hindu at facing a challenging situation? By converting to any other religion all I would have done was to insult the sacrifice made by my elders.
As I look back to that time, nineteen years ago, I am so very grateful to my parents who instilled the right sanskaras ( moral values) in their children. I am in gratitude of my maternal and paternal grandparents and great grandparents who had gone through the big challenges of Partition, having lost possessions, started life anew and nurtured the soul that dwells within me today to be so strong and firm.
I AM A PROUD HINDU. ARE YOU PROUD OF YOUR OWN RELIGION ? My religion is my comfort zone practicing which I am comfortable and feel grounded. Does another religion give me the same comfort and grounding? I ask myself if my religion is my lineage gifted to me at my birth why would I ever want to denounce it. If I have any doubts whatsoever, I should be reading my scriptures to find the answers or solutions rather than looking into borrowed scriptures.
To wrap up my story I would like to add, I am not against any religion at all. I am against the forceful conversions that are going on violently in many parts of the world. Live in pride dear fellow beings in your own religion and become not a begger of faith by jumping from one to another. You chose to be born in the religion you are born into so endear it lovingly without hatred for others.