“A very warm welcome to all the people who occasionally view this Zingcreed blog (3300 and counting) especially ‘Barbala’ with whom I experienced a kind of Alien Abduction in PrechuapKiriKhan (Thailand) earlier this month. I’m glad you find find my scrawls ‘very funny’; and a reader with a Portuguese name whose message I accidentally deleted who thought, if I remember rightly, that I was ‘very intelligent’. He’s obviously never met me. Keep on getting in touch, including the manic street preacher I interrupted in Wood Green last Saturday.” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.
It’s about time I made myself the target of my Laugh Out Loud series. I’m getting too fond of mocking other, well-meaning, people. There’s a fine line between mocking and sneering, and I feel it’s time I was taken down a peg or two. My story goes like this.
I get invited to Hindu prayers several times a year in London and in Trinidad, where I have family.
If I’m lucky there is a translation given by the pundit, but most of the time the prayers are in Sanskrit/Hindi. I always feel a bit lost. Well, I’ll be honest – most of the time I haven’t got a clue what’s going on.
At one pooja in Couva, Pundit Maharaj whom I had met before, asked me to bang the little brass gong at the right moment when he tipped me the wink. Foolishly I agreed, only to have him admonish me in front of the congregation for coming in late, and worse, for banging it the wrong way. Never could get the hang of it.
Then there’s the paste. The pundit allocates this task to a small boy who proceeds through the congregation row by row smearing this grey paste on everybody’s forehead. I would have loved doing that to adults when I was a kid! No-one has yet been able to explain what the significance of this act is. When I find out I’ll write about it. But it makes me flinch. I don’t like face-paints either. Last year I got up and left just to avoid this part of the ceremony.
Most ridiculous of all, I hate being ‘ambushed’ by well meaning (I hope!) young men who try to touch my shoes. Not just mine, all the other old geezers’ feet too. You don’t need to be brought up in a Hindu family to recognize a sign of subservience when you see one. There’s never any advance warning or ‘May I?’ – they’re suddenly down there at knee level. I don’t even know all these guys. I certainly don’t want them or any one else to be subservient to me or even respectful. Respect should be earned.
I suppose all this shows how cowardly, ignorant and narrow-minded I am. How westernised and intolerant of other people’s ways. How pathetic and laughable.
Time to L.O.L!
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