Brother ब्राह्मण — part 1

There was a meeting of the top Brahmin officiating the Sanatan Dharm, discussing the economic strategy to re-build during and post pandemic crisis. There was a fierce polemic against the atheists because they are suggesting a reparation by god and its ancillaries to the victims of the pandemic. But clearly god has nothing to do with the virus, it is innocent, these were an invention of science. In fact, one of the Brahmin claims that god is the only source of hope and support unless a cure has been found. Another one adds, “Temples are empty and donations are hard to come by. Unless, of course, there are special arrangements made for cleansing the house from the Novel Corona virus Hawan. How can we pay reparations? We can’t pay, we won’t pay”.

One ordinary Birbal-like Brahmin, known as Gopala says, “But imagine a reasonable reparation to the workers, what if temples were to provide shelter to thousands walking back to their homes. There is an average of 7 temples in every district of Bharat. Not to forget, this strategy could lend a great hand in building a counter narrative against the age old caste-ism that we have been blamed for.”

The head of the group, Acharya RamRamRam says, “Housing these people might infect the Brahmins living inside the temple quarters. Unfortunately, the virus can even spread to a Brahmin living under God’s terrace.”

Oh reader, science has truly invaded the transcendental spaces.

Another old learned grandfather like Brahmin says, “Acharya, temple is a great communal exercise bringing old hags together every evening for Katha and Kirtan and it is a great way to connect with other old hags. Under the pandemic, these activities will cease to exist at least for a year to come.”

Acharya continues, “Thank you old learned grandfather like brother Brahmin! God is no longer present in the shared collective belief, it will be individualistic in its experience. Not to forget God will lose any and all festive commercial value. In this case, the temples will use existing stocks to stay afloat while we hope that the crisis averts itself. We will campaign and provide food to the shelter less to build a counter narrative.”

Gopala smiles and adds, “The social isolation for the deities might give them a good time to meditate in peace.”

A Brahmin counters, “Who are you, brother brahmin? You are a little out of sorts. Can you please be a little discreet about your thoughts?”

Gopala responds, “Sorry brother Brahmin.”

“If people don’t see each other, they will become lonely and insecure. We can arrange for Novel Corona Virus Depression Hawan.”

“Aren’t we then using these people for indulging with them when we should let them be” says Gopala.

The argument between Gopala and this other Brahmin was distracting attention and clearly no one liked Gopala. The meeting was stopped for a Bhojan by Acharya, everyone left the room one by one. He called Gopala in to his private room. He said to him, “You know Gopala, I was once in the prison cell of a criminal, he was facing time for a really bad crime. But I would always talk to the innocence of his mind, the part that is not morally corrupt. I seek the part that remains after the body stops, the Brahman. It is quite similar here, we say the prayers and hope that after the death of the virus the only thing that remains is the positive part of our conscience. The part that forgives and forgets.”

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Akshay Raheja

theatre artist who wants to write some meaningful prose, occasionally