Thursday, August 18, 2005

A girl in the bus

A girl beside me in the crowded state transport bus did the unimaginable. Yes, shocking. She looked the traditional, untouched by modernity types wearing a discolored sari and not even a touch of anything I might call women's "vanity" thingammies.

First she took a plastic bag, took a pinch of fennel seeds, put it in her mouth, closed the bag, and returned it to a torn and shredded bag.

Then she thrust her hand again into her bag again and came out with a small book of sorts. It was probably a prayer book. Yes, it was. But the picture on the cover of the book was what shocked me. It was that of a criminal gangster wanted by the police. I looked again. It was he, the same moustache, the same eyes.

She touched it to her temple, kissed it and then touched it to her heart and then opened it. Inside was another photo of the gangster. This time he was posing with his wife. Can you believe this? I went, "Whoa, what is this?"

Then she opened it further. It was a prayer book. Only the gangster had printed it, subsidized it, and conveniently inserted his photograph on the cover.

But what a mixed message it sent to me the first time? Were these simple folk worshipping gangsters thus? What if the gangster also inveigled into this book his philosophy of "kill somebody ruthlessly for supari"?

How sacrilegious it would have seemed? Is there a blurring of the lines somewhere? Or, is it just me?

Open to discussion, all ye lurkers on my blog!

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