Just a touch of faith...

Never seen the Taj Mahal like this. Pic Hindustan Times

Of the first time I am supposed to have heard the azaan, there is no recollection. It was whispered in my ear as a newborn. My memory isn’t that great. The complete azaan is a full-throated call, every syllable enunciated with as much power as preventing an echo from falling off a cliff. You do not need to understand the language, and you must suspend the ‘yours and mine’ to be able to just listen to the sound. Think of it as thunder, of waves lashing, of a cry, of laughter. Of thoughts unspoken.

I know so little about religion that once when I was at the health club while travelling, and I needed to get to one of the machine, a man on his knees was in the way. I went up to the reception and asked, “When will this guy finish his yoga?”

“He is praying, ma’am.”

I had failed to notice the prayer mat or his hands on his ear. When he turned to the left and then the right, I thought it was an asana. Was I entirely wrong? If prayer is meditation, then it does not matter what you call it. I hasten to add that I know what a namaaz is. It was just the thought of seeing someone there, in my space, so to speak, that confused me.

This year during the month of Ramzan, I heard no azaan. It wasn’t something I was aching to hear. Just the thought of having heard it in days past made me wonder – crowded areas, traffic might well have drowned the sounds. Back in the early days, when one of my relatives fasted, along with the azaan call to prayer, I used to rush to look for the light bulb in a building across. It was an indication that it was time to break the fast. I felt no guilt that I had not been on an empty stomach, but did feel elated as I watched those who had stayed hungry bite into a date and eat slowly, waiting for tongues to form liquid to swallow.

Ignorant as I am, nostalgia is my shelter. Each morsel of life I take is celebration, each morsel I have denied or been denied is a lesson about vacuums, emptiness.

Here is a poem by Gulzar that conveys my thoughts:


“Quran haathon mein leke naabeena ek namaazi
laboun pe rakhataa tha
donon aankhon se choomtaa tha
jhukaake peshaani yoon aqeedat se chhoo rahaa tha
jo aayaten padh nahin sakaa
un ke lams mehsoos kar raha ho

main hairaan-hairaan guzar gayaa tha
main hairaan-hairaan thahar gayaa hoon

tumhaare haathon ko choom kar
chhoo ke apni aankhon se aaj main ne
jo aayaten padh nahin sakaa
un ke lams mehsoos kar liye hain”

My rough translation:


The blind namaazi brushed the Quran with lips
Kissed it with both eyes
Touched his forehead to the ground
With such faith
As though the verses he could not read
He could feel with a mere touch

Confused I left
Confused I pause

By kissing your hands
Touching you with my eyes
The verses I cannot read
I can still feel them

Eid Mubarak…

For those who came in late, for more of my memories More than a moon


  1. Mubarak ho.
    Could you tell me the meaning of the crescent moon and the star, those closely associated emblems? Innocent query, no pun.

    Also, please correct the above article in 2 places:
    1)Back in the early days, when "OME" of my...

    2)He could "FEET" with a mere touch

  2. Eid mubarak to you, The yoga story is kind of funny. I think mosques these days recite azaan at low volume (say decibel friendly)

  3. Anon:

    Mubarak to you, too, and thanks for pointing out the typos. Corrected.

    As as I know, these were not symbols during the Prophet's time. They probably just became part of some cultural thing. Also, perhaps the fact that Islam follows the lunar calendar.


    Eid Mubarak. It was never too loud in my part of the city, although some are...

    The yoga incident turned out to be quite embarrassing...but then I've made worse mistakes.

  4. Note: Whoever posted a comment that talked about my "dirty" language you clearly missed the point that I was quoting something. Since it was an old blogpost, wonder how you got there and what you were doing, going through it all.

    Honestly, using anonymity for selective comments is rather lame.

    Obviously, I have not passed that comment. Stand up and be counted when you abuse. I am not into masochism.

  5. Thi farishton ko bhi hairat,
    ke yeh 'Aawaz' hai kya!
    Arsh walon se bhi buzata nahi,
    yeh raaz hai kya?

    He understands the praying in any form.

    'Eid Mubarak' to you and your family.

  6. FV Note:

    Its funny that you chose talk about that here! Rather artistic handling!:D
    It was not an abuse, but a friendly advice in a very polite manner. Obviously, people who check out your blog fondly, may feel hurt over that post. Sometimes you surprise me.

  7. Jitu:

    Bohat khoob shair chunaa hai. And so true. It is we who look for places to find god when god is in the spirit of each of us. Call it god or anything...

    Wishes to you and yours too.

  8. Anon:

    I mentioned it here because I obviously did not wish to reply at the specific post where I had not published your comment.

    It isn't artistic handling. It is rather obvious that you noticed.

    Your idea of abuse is clearly different from mine. There was nothing polite about it.

    I appreciate friendly advice and it is good that you feel a sense of belonging here, but perhaps you might like to rethink the possibility that others might not get offended. And if so, they are in a position to express it?

    If they are, they can just skip reading it. As I said earlier, this was a subject that was discussed in the mainstream media and I got the quotes from there. I do not shy away from responding in kind to such "language".

    Sometimes you surprise me.

    Better than being predictable.

  9. May be your idea of a polite response is different too. Your picking of the 'appropriate' page to make a point; And your latent turbulence ... registered in my casual mind as a surprise. It was indeed unforeseen.

    I have noticed your frankness in handling unpleasant subjects. Your pen is your sharp blade. But it's superfluous to plunge it up-to the hilt every time!

    Anon -=- A sophist, but not a killjoy.

  10. I am not biting. You know what you wrote in that comment. I'd like to know how my response is impolite.

    Readers often choose to comment on the latest post about something written earlier. I really don;t need to defend where I post a comment on my blog.

    I don;t have a clue about this turbulence in that post. Honestly, this is getting to sound rather absurd. As regards how and when I plunge the blade, it is between my intent and the 'kill'. You can turn away from the blood, for I do announce in clear terms what you are in for.

    And talking of integrity, why do you choose anonymity for some posts and not for others?

    I am done with this. Should you wish to have the last word in language I deem appropriate, feel free to do so.

    Thank you, anyway. I'd never call you or anyone a killjoy, for I derive pleasure from writing not from how my writing is perceived.


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