Saturday, December 25, 2010

Having to believe!

We all believe in something. Most of the times our beliefs are reasonable. We believe in things, ideas, objects etc, etc. For instance , you believe that this life is finite because you see people around die. So it is reasonable to believe that life is finite. You believe the trees are immobile because you see them standing in one place all your life. You believe water is fluid and not solid( when not turned in to ice) because you see it flowing . So believes are mostly formed by some experience , generally verified by some proof or other. And most of the times we as humans generate consensuses of these beliefs and we call them truths.

But not all beliefs can be verified or generate consensus. They remain on the liminal spaces of personal experience. And when you cannot reason these experiences you call them 'magical' or 'mythical'. Does that make this experience untrue? Do you discard these beliefs because you cannot explain some one what your experience is real?
I call it "having to believe". Having to believe is a choice you make to believe in something, in spite your reason tells you otherwise. You just 'choose' to believe because you want to it be true.

Let me tell you a story to explain this. A story my mother told me when I was young. I have no idea why she told me this tale. May be this was very important to her and wanted to share it with her daughter. I never forgot it.

"One day me and my friend went to the river side to play.River was located outside the town and girls were generally not allowed to go there. But we were tempted to gather some smooth polished stones that were found in the shallow river bed. So we sneaked out without telling our elders where we were going. We got so carried in gathering stones,that we forgot the time. And it suddenly gotten dark when we realized we were all by ourselves. The river was located outskirts of village and there was no much habitation on the way. As we realized we were marooned in that place, we were very petrified. Even to trace our steps back was impossible because it was not a paved road.

I just dropped all the stones I had collected carefully in my skirt, and stood frozen with fear. Speechless with thoughts crowding my mind that knew spooky tales of ghosts and spirits.By now my friend had begun to cry .

Just then we heard a voice in the pitch darkness... a thick raspy voice."What the hell you two are doing here at this hour" voice asked in angry tone. "We were playing and did not realize the time" - I said in barely audible tone."This is not the place to play games " the voice retorted back in booming voice again.

I tried to orient myself to the direction the voice was coming, but I could see nothing. Nothing at all. I could hear sounds of his sandals, rough leather sandals worn by Shepard in the town. He must have carried a staff because he banged it hard on the ground as he spoke angrily. Staff had some bells that jingled sweetly as he moved the staff.

For a moment we all stood in silence.

Then the voice emerged again."I will drop you home . Just keep following the sound of these bells. And if you want to remain alive, do not turn back and look.I mean what I say.Just walk" the Voice boomed in a ruthless command. We had no choice but to follow his command.

We hugged each other tight and walked. Walked in that pitch darkness. I can't tell you what road that we walked. I Don't know how long we must have walked. We kept walking at the sound of the bells and creaking leather shoes. My friends house came first. So he stopped and asked her to go home. I could see some people moving in far distance . He again warned her not to turn back and look.

As I watched her run in distance towards her home, I was alone besides that man. Fear was paramount, as I walked. All could hear was my heavy breath. I could not see or hear a thing around me. Even the sound of his staff bells had ceased. I kept walking, till I saw my house in distance. I did not wait for the man to tell me to go home and ran towards the lights that were dimly lit. My body refused to turn around. Even when in my mind I wanted to see who he was . I just ran for my life.

"Where had you been?" my mother admonished me as she saw me running in house. I said nothing. In fact I spoke nothing to any one for few days. But I was very curious to solve this mystery. Me and my friend kept this as secret mission and tried to investigate on our own. We knew some man had helped us , and we wanted to know who he was. We checked out among the farmers in the village who lived on the outside the village if they had known anyone who had helped the village girls in the night. But no one knew it.

After some days we just gave up our quest.

After sometime I revealed this story to my grandmother and my mother. When they heard story they brushed it as casual event by saying "oh! you just met the village god. he is know for helping people who loose their way!". I abandoned my quest to find a reasonable answer to this event.

My mother stopped her tale abruptly. She never explained this tale to me.

She just narrated it and left it for me to accept or reject it. To make my own judgments. But I Know that from that day onwards she chose to believe that someone will be always be there for her when she looses your way in her life.

I believe this is her tale of "having to believe".
This is her personal myth she lived by.

Today I just shared it with you.