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This n That

November 15, 2010

“Somnambulists – Wake up”

This was a graffiti message scribbled on one of the numerous dirty walls in the city. The use of the word (which I need to run spell check on every time) is shocking enough. The fact that this was in a little slum-like area was even more shocking. I had to wonder why anyone would write this as graffiti? Who wrote it? And that too in a place where people can barely read or write to start it. Bizzare!

***

I spent most of today reading about Bakrid. It started off an as idea for a photo feature, inspired by a friend who was talking about the whole process of buying sheep.

I spent half my Sunday in muslim-dominated areas and was a spectator to the whole sheep-buying process. It tingled some strange, long-forgotten memory… of sheep, the smell of sheep and the scared bleating of the creatures.

I remembered vaguely the story behind the festival… but like all things now, the story and the purpose is long forgotten. So I went to Wikipedia ❤ and read through the beginning. Islam is largely persecuted in today’s world. Some of it is the making of people from the Taliban and some of it is perhaps just some of the tenets of the religion. But as I read along, I remembered those stories I had heard as a child… the Prophet and the spider, Abraham and his son’s sacrifice. Those were beautiful stories when I was a child… along with other stories about Krishna dancing on the snake’s head, Jesus and the basket of bread.

Only when I got older, I realised that many people considered this a lot more than just pretty stories. They formed the very core of their existence and beliefs.

Today, as I read on to the links being judaism, islam and christianity, I wondered how people could deny the links between these faiths. Or why they would want to? God is the same by any other name. And in all the fighting, we forget the beautiful culture that exists and is shared by all these faiths.

The call of the mosque has long been embedded in my memory like the chants from the temple. Both were near my house and I remember one morning when I returned from work, the chants mingling with the call of the mosque. It seemed peaceful. Before it got disturbing (maybe just the lack of sleep). These weren’t times of innocence. Perhaps that made the appreciation more valid.

It seems funny that I had to remember again, strongly, all those things I believed in. And have to fight to keep those beliefs alive day in and day out.

Anyway, the build up to the festival seems fascinating enough. The bargaining and the sheep hunt, the tending of the sheep and the sheer number this involves. I don’t particularly want to think of the gore and the mess this involves. That is a level of cruelty beyond me.

But this is yet another festival in the long list of festivals that start in November – Diwali, Bakrid, Thanksgiving (though not so much in India), Christmas and then New Years Eve. Wow.

Video of the day: Pink Flyod

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