My baby’s Sabarimala shame transformed me
April 13, 2016
|All set to go from home|
I say this with authority today, because I am guilty of having blindly towed the line until two years back. I forced our child to make a trip to Sabarimala. I was bowing to family pressure, culture, tradition… I can lay out excuses many, which were the truth then. But, nope. It was my choice. I have forgiven myself hence.
In November 2014, our then 11-year-old accompanied her dad and granddad on the pilgrimage. Some of our friends cautioned us about the renewed age limit of 10 years, while others said they knew kids above 10 that have been there and so are women below 60 who have made their pilgrimage.
However, we had another hurdle. Our baby has always been tall for her age. So Sanjeev equipped himself with proof of her birth date.
|Exploring the place…mission unaccomplished|
Sanjeev, as is his won’t, only said, “I understand rules. But that woman cop had no sense of language.”
Possibly it was her frustration of long duty hours on her feet controlling the crowd or perhaps her arrogance of authority or possibly she had caught people seriously flouting rules… know not what. The unscrupulous policewoman is beside the point.
|Devotees making their way up from Pamba|
That day, alone in my Dubai home, I had ample time and space to reflect on why I had forced my child and husband to take the trip. It was a mere belief that young girls of our family had to make the pilgrimage before their puberty. Why? I never asked.
That incident served a reality check. In sorts it was the beginning of a tremendously rewarding inward journey that I am into now, taking our baby along. Today it gives me immense pleasure when we discuss the ridiculous happenings around in the name of religion. Not to mention, my mommy pride oozing when my baby talks of subconscious and concepts such as polyanna.
There are many theories and each culture has its own beliefs about why menstruating women should not be allowed in temples, why they should be isolated at home…and so on. As varied the theories may be, they all but revolve around women’s energy and her protection and purity. During menstruation, women are vulnerable as we release energy. Religious places have abundance of energy, and this would interfere in our natural release. Alternatively women would be susceptible to absorbing other’s energy, including negativity.
Of the many theories I’ve read, this is what I resonate with the most. And this is what I have explained to my baby.
|Breathtaking Nature… on their return journey|
No more idol worship in our home. Yes, we do visit temples when we go home. They are places of energy. I love the atmosphere, the motifs, the architecture, the legends, myths of Gods and Goddesses… I enjoy them all and share them with my baby. We discuss them all, even touchy dogmas, and accept those that we both can make sense of and ignore others.
Like when I appraised her about Swaroopanand who claimed allowing women into Shani Shingnapur temple will lead to an increase in rape, my baby exclaimed, “He actually said that! Flipping crazy. Okay what’s for dinner?”