Mr. Sharma, a senior bureaucrat fasts during the pious Navratri. He is very stringent in the rituals to be observed. No wonder, his last meal devouring tandoori chicken ends the night before the onset of the holy days. Thereafter the house is cleansed in readiness to welcome Maa.

The master occupies his place most devoutly at Maa’s feet, the next morning. Rows of gold around his neck, crisp silk dhoti, striking vermillion on the forehead and eyes closed, all in an attempt to draw peace.

 “Sharma Ji” a voice somewhere breaks his trance. Not spotting anyone, a strain of annoyance crosses his face. Returning to the meditative posture, he is very sure of Maa’s blessings in this devout ‘mudra’.

“Sharma Ji”…….the voice again!

“Stay seated, I’m your conscience.”

A smile appears on Mr. Sharma’s face as he is sure that Maa is reaching to him, vanquishing evil around him. 

 “Prayer alone will not embalm your erring mind. Don’t demand blessings. Instead, seek redemption.”

“Redemption!” “What for?” “I have nothing to atone. I fast and follow all customs diligently.”

“Sharma Ji, there are demons around you that need extermination. Your wrong doings are pricking me now.”

“Think about these nine demons in your vicinity…….violence against your daughter in law, the human trafficking nexus your brother runs, juvenile labour in your house, foeticide you subjected your wife too years ago, drug abuse charges against your younger son, charges of corruption and nepotism against your office, encouraging inequality amongst your grandsons and granddaughters and injustice of denying timely wages to employees.”

Mr. Sharma is in a state of denial as well as shock. He stands up to face emptiness in the monumental house. Everything yet Nothing, he mumbles and falls down with tear soaked eyes.

“Redemption is now”, the voice quivers again.


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Saravjot Hansrao
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