My grandfather’s. He passed away many years ago, while I was still in school and I haven’t thought about him in a long time.
But it is raining in Bangalore today and that makes me think of dadu (grandpa) and his chaata (umbrella). He always carried it along — a big, black, ungainly one — wherever he went. Sometimes others laughed at him because of that.
‘Dadu, why do you always carry an umbrella with you?’ I asked him once.
‘Because it may rain.’
‘But it is a sunny day today.’
‘Well then it will protect me if the sun gets too hot. And what if it does rain? Who will look a fool then?’
‘What if the sun stays mild and it doesn’t rain either?’
‘Then I will use it as a walking stick. I can also chase any stray cows and goats out of my way.’
That was grandpa for you –a logical man, though he was not very educated and had lived in the village all his life.
Some think my atheism is all new fangled nonsense, born out of reading too many of the wrong kind of books. But in truth, my first brush with atheism was perhaps as an 8 year old.
My grandmother would host a grand Laxmi puja (worship of Goddess Laxmi) every year at our home in the village. Dadu helped diligently with all the preparations.
‘Will Goddess Laxmi bless us all?’
‘There is no Goddess Laxmi.’
I was too appalled to react. Finally I gathered my wits about me and asked,
‘Well why do you worship her then?’
‘Do I have a choice? Your grandmother will kill me’he said, with eyes full of love and fear of the woman who’d been his companion for close to half a century!
‘But…what about all the other Gods and Goddesses? Surely they exist! Who created everything? That mango tree? Those rice fields?’
‘Well who created God then?’
Dadu always had the last word.
This post is the 21st in a series of 26 posts that I am writing throughout the month of April as part of the A to Z challenge2016.