I have forgotten how to:
use devotion as distraction,
focus on the flame as it burns, glows, dances.
I think of words by Foo Fighters‘
Looking to the sky to save me’
I am trying the same with this flame
Sharing, asking, hoping, pleading
I am trying to give to this God
Scraping bits of myself
Offering revelations and sorrows
Confessions and shameful truths.
I resurrect childhood memories:
A holographic Saraswati,
Plastic Mother Mary statuette
Filled with holy water we never drink.
A priest pours milk and banana mush into my hands
The smell and texture make me gag
Mother nudges me angrily
“Pray and eat!”
Father stoically puts money in the hundi.
I am small so it is easy:
Thank you…can you… please?
My pigtails sway and I smile
Still protected by their reverence.
What will it take for faith to grow
Into a banyan tree?
I am coaxing my sapling:
Incenses, prostrations, circumambulations
But the prayers remain hesitant, doubtful
These chats with the Supreme aren’t getting anywhere:
I tell, I ask, I tell, I ask.
Sheepishly, I think of Notting Hill
I am just a girl,
Standing in front of a God,
Asking him to believe her.
I wait for a laugh.
Sangeetha Bhaskaran is a content and short storywriter. Her work has been published in Out of Print, Himal South Asian, Arre, Livewire, The Blahcksheep, Women’s Web. She lives in Dubai and Bengaluru.