“Done with the Darshan?”, He asked to start the conversation.
“No, I don’t do it.”, She replied with a smile. She already anticipated a follow-up question.
“I am an atheist.”
He was surprised to say the least.
He kept on looking at her for more than what is considered as appropriate. In the midst of beating drums, ringing bells and chanting mantras he could have never expected such an answer. The scene was an encapsulation of what he believed Indian culture was! And there was a girl defying all of it in one sentence and doing so solemnly.
“So why are you here? In this mindless crowd trying to catch a glimpse of the almighty?”
“I like the festivities. I like how the eyes of people lighten up after they see the manifestation of whom they believe is their creator.”
He was still surprised about this girl. This girl whom he saw in the office cafeteria daily, eating her lunchbox as that was her religion. This girl, with whom he had a casual conversation about the traffic and once about the weather.
“Why are you a non-believer after all?”
“Who said, I am a non-believer? I believe in myself. I believe in faith. I just don’t believe in the idea of God; someone who would mend and forgive every fuck up you do.”
“Wow! But what if God actually does that?”
“Look at the world around you – children devoid of food, selling toys they ought to have played with… wars killing people in the name of religion… rapes, murders and whatnot. I believe, before this ‘God’ mends the fuck-ups of people, he should focus on his own.”
“Okay, Okay! I got it. I understand.” He tried to close the door he just opened by his last question. But now he was interested in her and he believed in everything that was hokum to her.
He blinked his eyes to steal a moment to consult ‘Bappa’ as he visited him just now, so he would easily recall this ardent follower, gathered all his courage and asked,” How about coffee?”
“Coffee? Yeah, I believe in Coffee.”