So it was decided yesterday that we, a group consisting of my aunt, my mother and yours truly, would go to the Infant Jesus Church in Viveknagar, here in Bangalore. I did mention that trying to leave so early in the morning, at 7 am as was the plan, would possibly result in some potential trouble trying to find a mode of transport to the location. I must admit that there was some amount of reticence on my part for making this trip, and I've never been able to explain why this is when it comes to traveling to any place of religious significance. I guess, and this is probably a very hazardous one at best, that the reason for this has been my being continuously less enamoured of the involvement of money, or the use of and obviously apparent inclination towards favoring greater sources of financial wealth in places of worship. But coming back to the whole reticence bit, it seemed that although I had said that I would accompany my aunt and my mom, I was still a bit hesitant.
The funny thing about my visiting the Infant Jesus Shrine, is that I used to visit it as a child, or when I was much younger and visited Bangalore during my school holidays. I have some vague memories of random trips we made there, and even a few random memories that I vaguely remember. But the point is, or would seem to be, that I have changed in terms of my willingness to congregate at a place of worship when I consider myself to be a rather faithful person; one who has a more than reasonably adequate amount of faith, even. Or maybe I'm just lazy...yeah, who among us isn't like that on some day or the other in this life, right?
And then this hesitation, or apprehension as it were, translated itself into a dream as I mentioned earlier. And when I awoke from this dream, it seemed to be an ill omen of some kind, like something telling me that we shouldn't make the trip. But at this point in time, as I sit here and write this that is, I would have to say that it was a wise decision to not air my views. The decision to not tell anyone else about what I'd dreamt came about when I decided not to let the craziness in my head dictate the course of events of my life...especially, a most harmless and innocent visit to a church that I used to go to as a child. Yet, I can't deny the fact that the whole your-trip-will-be-trouble-ridden train of thought continued to chug away in the background of my mind. I guess I was expecting the worst, and for no apparent reason at that!
So, we got ready and left the house a couple of minutes after 7 am. The reason for going this early were to avoid the crowds of people and vehicular traffic that would coagulate into a sticky, unmoving mass as the day progressed. The first autorickshaw we approached, I felt my gut wrench slightly; not enough to cause me pain, but in the right amount so as to make me aware of the discomfort that was emanating from this part of my body. And as I watched my aunt walk up and ask the auto driver whether he'd take us to where we wanted to go, I thought I felt the pain get a bit more sharp. But there was nothing to worry about, because in the blink of an eye as I scanned the auto, I found that he had a sticker on the back that said Praise The Lord!
I don't know about the other people out there who travel by autorickshaw, but at times I like to look for signs of religious or other affiliation to get a better feel for the kind of person the driver is. That's just me, and I don't seem to be able to say that enough. But in the present context, what with the trouble in the dream and all that, it seemed to be another one of those signs. It was almost as if I was being pacified; my unnerving and rightly unnecessary fears being quelled. So where I expected the auto driver to suddenly name an amount that he'd want us to pay him, or to say something like "One and half", which means that he'd like us to give him an extra 50% of what the meter showed, well, he didn't. He just signaled to us to get in and were on our way almost immediately.
I didn't have too much to worry about at all. We got there, picked up a packet of candles to be lit as an offering, and continued on our journey to see the shrine. The words "The More You Honor Me, The More I Will Bless You" were written in large letters on the wall behind the statue/idol. Sure, there are some things here, especially in the previous sentence, that may smack those of you like me as being rather un-Christian. But I'd just as quickly draw your attention to the illogical nature of faith.
Well, we were out of there, and apparently quickly enough after offering our prayers, to be home by 8 am. The auto driver we got on the way back was also extremely courteous and equally kind as the first. No demands for extra money. No attitude for having to make the trip from a busy area to a quiet residential zone that was just coming to life. Nothing but pure, efficient service. All in all, a most pleasant and wonderful trip that I fear I was unnecessarily wary of.
And I can't help but wonder about how much of my mind was actually with me as I stood there in front of yet another form of God, or supreme being because I'm afraid I have a terrible habit of letting my mind run riot when I should really just learn to let the World be, and just try and be at peace. I think I achieved that peace, to some extent. But for what it's worth, I couldn't help but think about the dichotomous nature of the dream that preceded this dreamy visit to church.
I would like to end by giving you a glimpse of the shrine of the Infant Jesus.