Posted in Cultures, Kolkewadi, Short Stories, Uncategorized

Praying to Stone

My dad convinced some of the locals to take us for a trek to Kolkewadi Killa. Mom, dad and I packed egg bhurji and rotis and started off around 6 in the morning. We trekked for about four hours, and reached the caves we were headed to. There were a total of seven caves. One was underground, the mouth of one was about to be closed due to stone and soil filling it, and one was full of bats. There were some more, but the last one we went to had a clean water tank. We set up camp there, took out our rotis and egg bhurji, and sat to eat.  There were some random stones lying about, all carved and sculpted into some vague human shapes. Dad is experienced about stuff like this. After standing there and studying them, he said that they were at least a thousand years old. When they had been newly made, they had probably been exquisite, beautiful and perfect to the very last detail. Or they could’ve totally been just vague shapes. The locals who were accompanying us claimed that they were idols, and this was a sort of a temple. Some empty packets of incense were also lying about; proof that some people had prayed to those idols before. Papa indicated for me to come and see myself; I was itching to the exactly that. I walked over and peered at the stone slabs. Something seemed wrong, the way the idols were depicted, the postures, the positions. A nagging suspicion started forming at the back of my mind so I looked up at papa, mentally trying to frame what I knew might be true.

He caught my eye and said, ‘Yeah, I think its S-E-X’. He spelled it out so that the locals wouldn’t go through an uninvited culture shock. But my suspicion was confirmed, and I burst out laughing. Papa joined in, and so did mom. The whole day I was amused with the thought that people even today prayed there to sex like it was some god – burning incense, bowing their heads, giving salutations and considering it holy.

Posted in Cultures, Kolkewadi, Short Stories

A Period.

I had just come back from the market Alore, and was looking for mom to see if the vegetables I had bought were edible. I found her sitting in the neighbour’s (also Shinde’s and my extended family) kitchen and chatting up with my two aunts. As I walked in, she updated me- ‘They’re going to Ram Vardayini and Terav temples, do you want to go as well?’ While I took a few moments to contemplate whether I actually wanted to go, one of my aunts interjected, ‘She can sit outside the temple, if there’s a problem. If they say anything, there must be a garden or something where she can sit.’

I was stumped by this, and had no clue what she was talking about or why I had to sit outside. It took me a long pause, and super-fast thinking to realize that her comment was based on the fact that I had my period. Something, which, by the way, women tend to share a lot even if it’s not their period they’re talking about. It just happens to come up in conversations. For those who still have no clue what this is all about – women who have their monthly blood are not allowed to enter temples because they are considered to be ‘impure’ for that duration.

It was a little awkward and slightly offensive for me, because that is one superstition I would not (could not) believe in was the ‘impurity’ of a woman based on her menstrual cycle. However, I just laughed and said, ‘Aho, we won’t tell them! It’s not like they check, right?’ Everyone laughed, changed the topic and that was that.