Vrath, Laddoos and God

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I woke up earlier than I am used to. My room window faces east, but the rays of morning sunlight are governed by the vagaries of the swaying Ashoka tree. Today, the house is ablaze with the preparation for the vratham. I wouldn’t say our house is old as much as that it has personality. Slowly it creeks and cracks towards readiness to shelter some 30 invitees, all family. The women of the house are priming it like a temple elephant that is still good for one more festive procession. Ok, wake up!

Grandma, mom, sister, and aunties are in-charge today. You best stay out of their way.

I look around lazily as preparations are underway. I have an automatic exception from house duties. There seems to be an unwritten understanding that I don’t do my best work in the morning. I must not take this privilege lightly. I know better than to ask for coffee, it will come in time. I hope.

Papa is a smart man, he knows his place today, he hovers quietly in and out of existence, declaring himself in-charge of any last minute shopping, extra thamalpaku (betel leaves) or more incense sticks. His only act of valor is when he periodically declares that we need to hurry up and that we are running behind schedule, much to the scorn of the ladies. Like any of this is planned!

I should probably try to help. Yum Laddoos!


Physical attributes lead to employment today, my height makes me in-charge of hanging flower garlands to doorways. I need to hang around here, lest I get transferred to something horrible, like last minute dusting, or heavy lifting. Ugh!

I am always keen to declare that I am a man of science. Evidence and scientific proof are of great value to me in any argument. Hence, I always wondered if I am an atheist.  Moreover, if I am a hypocrite if I practice religion. It is true that there is no evidence to support anything religious I do, but there is peace of mind, is that not evidence?

The calm words of Prof. Carl Sagan bring reassurance. His commented in 1981:

“An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.”

Agnostic it is…



2 thoughts on “Vrath, Laddoos and God

  1. Atheist or hypocrite because you do some puja a day in your life is not important. i liked that last sentence with the declaration of religious or no religious……………….. ‘peace of mind’ that comes along after sitting for a while with the pujari chanting some mantras and you repeating behind him. Yes. we in our home did vinayaka chaviti and divali always. but all other religious functions were not a part of our life. only on our birthdays ammama would ask us to go to temple, wear new clothes and eat the favorite sweet that she cooked for us. one other thing that she taught………. she or appa never insisted on rituals (for they never themselves practiced much). Morning after taking bath, light a lamp in the puja place (a small ‘gudu’ where the god pratimas are arranged), do namaskaram and go to college or any where. this is all i was used to. But since a few years, i have decided to do ‘vara lakshmi vratam’ also apart from the above. rest all we also do not have much time or inclination to do very ritualistically. but as you mentioned, it is the ‘peace of mind’ after that. that is interesting.

    today in Eenadu one article came, on taking rest………… man needs 3 kinds – one physical body, mental body and the spiritual body itseems. the rest we take by sitting, sleeping etc is for the physical body. the mental body gets rest only from some practice of art form like dance, music, painting, or those 64 types of arts that give this ‘ peace of mind’. then slowly the spiritual rest starts coming after this……………. so that comes at a later stage of life…………. that is when everyone starts becoming spiritual, because the rest of the mind and body leads the spirit also to raise and go towards ‘rest’ or the ‘peace’ that it aspires.

    i liked the article very much……………….


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