Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Of ants, souls, and stories that stick

When I was a kid, we lived across from a park, and often walked through when returning home from friends' houses, or the market. There were a lot of ant hills in this park, and I don't quite remember what prompted this, but my mother once told me that these ant hills are the homes of ants, and if you knock any of them over, even by mistake, those ants will hunt you down, and destroy your house. I don't think my mother was quite as graphic as this, and I have never bothered to find out if this is a true fact, but even today, some 20+ years later, I choose not to step on any ant hills should I see one, thank you very much.

When my brother was a kid (and I therefore a somewhat older and wiser kid), we visited the Kali Mandir in C R Park (and while looking up its exact name, I discovered it has a Wikipedia page all of its own). The brother and I were bored while the parents did their chatting-with-God thing, so I told the brother that the stones which have names written on them (dedicated by families of people who have died) have the souls of said deceased individuals trapped inside them. And therefore, while we need to walk all around the temple while waiting for the parents, we need to make sure we don't step on any stone that has a name on it. And so we did.

Some ten-odd years later, with the brother now a teenager, we visited Kali Mandir again. A lot more stones had been dedicated by now, resulting in hardly any blank stones left. I watched my brother stand in one spot and try to figure out how to go anywhere in the temple complex without stepping on the souls of some poor departed-from-this-world individual.

Whenever I go home next, I want to drag him there and see what he does at the age of 23.

No comments: