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Godman`s Cult - Part 3 : The discussion

by  Meena

Posted: Friday, October 17, 2003
Word Count: 2321
Summary: Continued from part 1 & 2.

Part 3 : The discussion

Back home at 3.30 after a boring school day. Everyone was having the afternoon fiesta. Normally during this time I finish my homework but today I was feeling tired from the heat and drowsy after the lunchtime feast. So I went to my room got changed into my Jeans and T-shirt. I plopped myself on the bed in a half sitting position with a book feeling the cool drift of wind that was beginning to raise from the sea and the beach on the far horizon.

I was at the beach now. Suddenly, I saw Salim Khan walking and jogging. He came and set next to me admiring the the burning sunset over the Arabian Sea. I could not believe that this hottie was here, with me just like any other guy when he was such a big superstar. Anyways, feeling privileged I relaxed, feeling the cool breeze and listening to natures musical composition of the sound of water and waves from the sea. Suddenly, Salim picked up my right hand and played with my bangles. He was so fascinated by them making a soft jingling tinkling sound .....

A bunch of bangles
In rainbow colours
Entwined with precious gold
Embedded with shining diamonds and stones
On these exquisite hands
Brown shiny skin
Making your wrists jingle-tinkle
Composing musical notes
The sweet sound making me
Yearn for someone as beautiful as you

Than surprise surprise! he bent his head to kiss by hand, but before he could fulfil my dream

Jingle-tinkle....Jingle-tinkle...Jingle-tinkle the ringing sounds began to shake my body so hard that I started hearing a voice – my mum’s voice

‘Nidhi, Nidhi wake up. Are you O.K.’

I moaned ‘Not now, go away’

But the shaking of my body continued and I thudded down from my dreaming mode to see my mums face close to mine with worry

‘It’s not like you to sleep in the afternoons. Nidhi wake-up. Tell me you are O.K.’

I jerked up like a spring and hugged my mum tightly that she gave a low panicked yell

‘Huh! What’s this’ she said

I started laughing giving her a kiss on the cheek

‘You gave me a fright.’

Mum hugged me back speaking into my hair

‘It’s 5.30. The evening is approaching and its time for you to help me in the kitchen.’

I got up and washed my face. I went to the kitchen to help mum make the dinner as I usually did in the evenings along with my moaning and groaning.

‘Oh! God why did you not bless me with a big sister, at least she would be here instead of me’ I complained aloud

Mum retorted ‘It’s good practice to learn to cook and clean. Your stomach goes everywhere you do. If you can cook you can eat otherwise you starve. If you can clean you stay healthy otherwise you die through illness.’

Well, that put me in my place. I suppose I can’t complain as I do not wish to starve. Looking on the bright side at least I could take this time to talk girlie things with my mum.

‘So what’s tonight’s menu.’

‘Onion and tomato salad, pickles, yoghurt, Aubergine and potato curry with Khichdi. You prepare the salad while I do the curry and khichadi.’

With the tears rolling down my cheeks with the sting of the strong ammonia from the onions I asked Mum

‘Did you read the paper today?’

‘Not yet. At night when I am relaxed. Why?’

‘Naman was saying something about this new cult called ‘Snakeism’

Mum was erringly quiet.

‘Mum did you hear what I said.’

‘Yes’ she answered annoyed

Ignoring her annoyance I continued ‘He also said a woman and her daughter have gone missing. They were his dad’s best friend’s family.’

‘Oh really!’ suddenly mum was interested

‘Yes’ I replied hoping for a conversation here

‘Well, I must go and see Naman’s parents one of these days.’


‘To find out more about this Sankeism cult.’

‘But why?

‘Because your uncle Praful has joined it and is after your dad to join as well.’

Uncle Praful was by dad’s first cousin. I was surprised to hear this bit of news, as well as shocked as I thought we as a family were not into new cults, organisations or communes or visiting other self proclaimed Godman in any form. Yes we believed in religion alright – like we always went to the local temple in the village in the evenings after dinner and on special festivals. We believed in the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and the various incarnations of Vishnu like Rama and Krishna and the divine mother goddess. But Godman and new cults was a modern thing and no one really knew its origins of divinity, power, or knowledge. They were not mentioned in our ancient scripts like the Vedas or the Puranas, so it’s suspicious as to what this organisation did. I mean, I had heard that thousands joined various cults. I did also heard that some were genuine and some bogus exploiting simple people. But how do you tell. I was so engrossed in my thought, I did not realise mum talking to me until she gave me a hard nudge

‘Still asleep? I have been telling you to go and lay the table, after finishing your salad and you are not replying, how rude.’

‘Sorry mum, I was too engrossed about uncle and dad and this Sankeism organisation. I don’t know but I feel uncomfortable hearing that.’

‘Your dad’s not joined yet. We will tackle things as they come. Now go get things ready. I am hungry. Also we need to go to the temple to help them get ready for Diwali.’

We eat on the porch in the evenings. It’s the best time of the day when the whole family gather round admiring the sunset amongst the cool breeze blowing in from the beach. It was also a time for family talk, plans and discussion like going to the cinemas or shopping etc..

Gran and granddad sat next to dad, followed by mum, Sanjay and me.

Sanjay was moaning about school and homework when dad butted in

‘I went with Praful to that new movement he has joined. I was quite impressed. They have an open day every Saturday for visitors. I thought we would go and see the place with Sanjay and Nidhi, as they run a school as well. It’s free to all the children of the devotees.’

Gran and granddad were quite annoyed as they stopped eating and glared at dad. Granddad was not happy at all as he coughed aloud clearing his throat ready to speak

‘Manoj, I do not like what you are doing. By all means go and see this place, but what is the background of this organisation and what religious philosophy do they follow. There has to be some sort of a foundation on which their thinking is based.’

‘It’s simple thinking – to serve humanity. Their thinking is based on all the great faiths, but most of it is to fit in with today’s life style and thinking. I mean who has seen GOD. But this Godman heading the organisation has powers. Praful told me he saw him performing miracles.’

Mum spoke than ‘No one has seen God. But I know he exists. Just like when you talk on the phone or write to someone, you do not see them but you know they exist.’

I thought I would enlighten them with my bit of news from this morning, the bit about the mother and daughter disappearing and the link to this new organisation dad was so keen on.

Granddad spoke very angrily

‘See Manoj, the papers have got a waft of something suspicious. I am not happy about Praful and neither will I be if you do anything stupid.’

Dad replied agitated ‘I am a grown man now. I can make my own decisions. I am going on Saturday with the family. If you don’t like it tough.’

And dad got up with an angry push of his chair, without finishing his dinner and huffed and puffed off. I looked at mum thinking she would get up but she didn’t. She carried on eating. She must have sensed my stare because she looked up and told me to finish off my dinner. The rest of the family carried on as if nothing had happened.

After clearing and cleaning everything we all went for our evening walk to the temple. Dad did not come obviously as he was still huffing and puffing. Mum said to leave him alone, hopefully he will calm down.

The Ashapura temple, facing the sea, is an important temple. The only temple in the village. Mum says that

‘The puranas have listed 108 sites where Shakti, the goddess of power is manifested. Because everyone can not afford to go to these temples or are ill all villages have temples which are mini replicas based on other temples so villagers can have a place where they can worship and celebrate.’

Beyond the gold painted iron and wooden gates lies the temple. The streets and the compound leading to the temple is always buzzing with people and stalls selling flowers, garlands, coconut and other worshiping items. We always buy some flowers to offer to the Gods. The whole temple is built from marble with wonderful carvings and symbols giving the whole place an aura of holiness, peace and devotion.

There is a wonderful story about how this temple was built which makes you appreciate the value of having one. There used to be many temples in India and they got destroyed by many invaders who came to India. One of the invading army destroyed the village temple and threw all the deities into the sea. During the British rule there was a landowner in the village to whom the Goddess Ashapura came, hence the name of the temple. She told him to ask the ruling British who respect other’s religion and culture to help built the temple again.

The landowner was given land on the edge of the beach on a hill where he built our village temple. And the miracle of the story is that during the construction of the temple, they found the original statue of the Goddess along with all the other deities of Krishna and Radha, Shiva, Ganesh, Rama and Sita which was thrown in the sea many centuries ago. Now all these Gods are in the temple once again giving their blessings to whoever goes to it. The gods are made from marble with gemstones and dressed in silk gold embroidered clothes, apart from Lord Shiva who is in the form of a black shining stone known as Shiv lingam. They all have gold crowns with diamonds and precious stones.

I like going to the temple in the evenings, because we can meet all our friends and neighbours. Go down the steps leading to the beach and the sea at the back of the temple and have fun playing, gossiping and generally enjoy the ambiance of the evening, sometimes have a snack of roasted peanuts or crisps. So this evening whilst prayed I did wonder why Uncle Praful and dad were so taken up with this new cult or organisation or commune oh! what ever it was.

After the prayers on the beach I meet Naman and Meesha. I told them about the evenings events. Naman said to be careful. He would also tell his dad about it. He also said do not argue with your dad, go to this place have a look and tell me.

‘Why don’t you both come as well?’ I invited Naman and Meesha

‘Forget it! My parents would kill me even if I mentioned such a thing.’ Meesha dismmissed my invitation

‘I’ll ask my dad, see what he says. I’ll tell you tomorrow on the bus.’ Naman replied

I felt a lot better after talking to Naman and Meesha as this whole business was making me uneasy. I couldn’t talk to mum because she only replied in mono syllables and Sanjay was such moaner anyway that we would argue rather than discuss this whole matter.

I could not sleep at night. I kept having nightmares about this place. I kept seeing this unknown face, a body and lots of crying miserable children. I woke up in a sweat. I looked at the clock it was almost 6 o’clock. I decided to wake up, do my business and get ready before everyone. I would make the breakfast today to take my mind of things. Mum would be surprised.

And she was, when she came to the kitchen and saw everything ready including the lunch dabas.

‘Umm’ she mumbled ‘so what’s the problem.’

‘No problem mum.’ I said, but I knew my mum knew I was uneasy because she kept staring at me. When I looked she questioned me with raised eyebrows.

‘OK! Alright mum. Umm, umm - I am not happy about visiting this place with dad on Saturday.’

Mum came and hugged me. She whispered ‘Look Nidhi, no one is happy. But we must go and find out what all this is about. Once we know we can argue or fight back better. Till than bear and grin OK.’

I sighed with relief, at least mum, granddad and gran were not blind or deaf. If worse came to worse we would unite.

On the bus later I asked Naman about him joining us

‘I will come with you. My dad said you can go, see and report everything back to him.’

Great so we will need to suss this organisation and the person or peoples involved. I felt like a detective. Sankeism see you on Saturday!!! Ha, ha, and beware of the super detective Nidhi and Naman.