On this day, the narrator decided to take a different route to work. This decision was based on this day being one of the few when the imposing boss-man is not in town and also, that this route afforded the narrator more time in which she could watch stuff on the laptop while in the Metro, since she has recently found herself in the unprecedented and astounding position where she is too tired after work, and is falling behind on her TV. While the first part of the Metro ride was indeed satisfying in that the latter mission was successful; due to increased population, and the terrible time that is 8 o clock to 10 o clock in the morning, the latter part of the narrator’s journey in the city’s widely successful Metro was not conducive to seating or laptop… placing on lap and watching funny stuff. However, reading of The World According To Garp was caught up on by our pioneering, adventurous and brave narrator during this time, which is not time wasted, if it pleaseth thee.
However, if bravery be a state of mind, then upon embarking from the comfort of the foremost cabin of the illustrious Metro, onto the exterior of the Kalkaji Mandir Station, our narrator was lacking in bravery since her endless learning had not prepared her to know which path to take in order to arrive at the Main Road; from whence she would journey on in one of the latest Buses that the City provided upon which the denizens of Delhi have endeavored mightily to leave their marks through modern art in many forms – arrangement of crushed peanut shells, patterned dried heavings of the Delhi belly, as well as through the post modern olfactory formulations of increased, compounded Odors By The Masses. Another reason for this uncharacteristic dearth in valor was one that that is the subject of the day’s musings.
On emerging from the Station, the wrong path was erroneously chosen by the narrator, leading her not to the destination she was seeking, but to the wide gates of the Temple for which the Station was named. In light of the musical haven provided by Willie Nelson singing “The Little Dealer Boy”, which our narrator was grinning upon, it is not unpardonable that this mistake was not corrected at a sooner stage. Upon beholding the sight of the temple gates, through which, it was indeed a sight to hark upon – young men garbed in the Delhi fashion of bright, chintz-esque-ness removing their footwear to enter upon them hallowed grounds. Our narrator felt fear take hold of her heart in a vice-like grip for a split second. She had unknowingly wandered upon a sight wherein just the past morrow, there had been conducted rituals of a pandering and ‘spiritual’ nature, that is to say, if it pleaseth thee, a conclave of ‘spiritual’ leaders of the pagan culture or religion of ‘Hinduism’ had gathered and had been bestowed much attention and admiration by their ardent followers. Our narrator was not certain as to why such fear gripped her, even for a second, but adhering to the urges her flight-flight-don’t-even-think-about-staying-let-alone-fighting response was making on her person, she turned tail, and with all the dignified speed becoming such an experienced and graceful personage as our narrator, glided away.
She walked down the road, away from where her valiance and spirit had faced such challenges and soon realized that mistakes in taking the correct path had been committed yet again. Opportunities were presented to her to seek counsel from various men who were also travelling along the same path; however, for some reason, a reason she was slowly beginning to comprehend, she desisted to ask them, most particularly a man garbed in Denims and a sweater that was near the color of the sky at sun-down. Upon admitting the nature of her predicament, she sought the counsel of a wizened, elderly man seated upon a mat by the road, upon whose features it was written clearly that his humble abode consisted of that very mat. The kind gentleman assisted our regaling narrator by pointing his wise finger towards the direction and path which would lead her to her destination. Grateful beyond compare, our narrator thanked the man and went along the path that was directed to her, which the future has confirmed, was the right path.
As our narrator forged along the path, she was quick to note with her lightning sharp mind that firstly, the path towards the Bus-Stop was of a greater length than what she had anticipated; and further that the thrift shops selling religious artifacts that sprung around the grounds upon which she had just previously chanced upon, were present in great numbers. But it was upon noting that there were some men ambling alongside the road which she took, who had the red marks upon their foreheads characteristic of pilgrims and followers of the Hindu gods, that our narrator stumbled metaphorically upon the knowledge which perplexed and saddened her greatly.
She feared the fellowship that was the religious peoples who followed the Hindu gods. She did not fear individuals following the faith. Not even groups. She merely feared collectives of such people, whom she was not acquainted with personally, around their Temple of worship. Being of only one and twenty years, in which she had not seen not felt the brutality waged upon reason by the armies of fear and stereotype, the knowledge of such a deadly force existing within her person was startling to the narrator. There was no reason, no thought, no basis for this fear that choked her of her common-sense. She did not fear the gods, she did not fear the people, yet she feared them when they were one, even if it was only for a moment.
With the self-awareness that years of adolescent and post-adolescent watching of television had bestowed upon her, she noted that she was unafraid and unconscious of the few ladies amongst this collective. This too was curious. She did not fear the men for her virtue, no; she feared for nothing that could be described. She feared. Such pure and unadulterated, although not paralyzing fear, that any reason or subject would only weaken the mix. And thus, our narrator, who being of young years, and having been raised in a tradition of unawareness of such ideas, for the first time faced the creature called prejudice. It gave the deluge of benignity, but our narrator was not fooled. It walked alongside her in the few moments before which reason collected itself.
On realizing the nature of her predicament, the narrator was ashamed, at the same time, could only be comforted at the thought that at the least she had experienced the creature with regard to a group that could defend itself mightily under the majesty of its prominence in the country. For some moments, she fancied herself Michael Moore, who in his testaments in Dude Where’s My Country? had remarked merrily upon his fear of the Caucasian race as they passed him by in the streets. However, upon this day, the narrator vows to attempt to rid herself of her fears of men on their way out of temples.