January 30, 2010

Our Father in heaven, in Thy name I err

I've had a few misadventures in Bangalore, which are moments to cherish forever. This is one such incident that took place on a bright, sunny, cheerful day. Or, a typical Bangalore day. Holy Christ! I almost embarrassed myself that day. So, here's what happened.
Happily singing a Westlife song, merrily swinging the pack of new T-shirts I had just bought on sale, I was heading towards British Library. Right next to the footpath on the way, on MG Road, is St Mark’s Cathedral, where I noticed people sitting in the prayer hall, listening to some sermon. Ever since I had read 'Sermon on the Mount' in school, I’d been inclined towards Christianity and have been curious to attend mass prayer/attend a sermon. Having all the time in the world that day, I thought, why not do it right now!

I headed towards the entrance of the hall. Two beautiful, young women, dressed in exquisite saarees, were sitting outside the entrance and greeting everyone who was coming.

“I’m not a member of the church. I want to know if I may attend the function,” I humbly asked the girl who stood up to greet me and hand me some booklet. “Yes, yes, please,” said the other girl, looking a bit perplexed. Why this expression, I thought.

I was curious, did anybody tell her that whoever had smeared heaps of makeup on her face had done an awful job at it? And do they put so much labour in getting decked up for a weekly mass?
I took a seat in the prayer hall. The pastor was talking about love and marriage, Adam and Eve and related stuff. So that’s today’s topic, I thought.

I knew of the phrase “dressed in their Sunday best” but it's only that day I understood how seriously they take up dressing and appearance. Men, many of them, were wearing what was perhaps one of their best suits. And women too stood out, courtesy bright red lipsticks, over-zealously applied mascara and shades of make up on their eyelids and cheeks. Little girls were wearing frilly pink frocks.
I remember telling myself: "C’mon! It’s a sermon, why is everyone dressed as if it's someone's wedding!"
And why has the pastor suddenly shifted his focus from Adam and Eve to Jonathan and Sharleen? Who are Jonathan and Sharleen? I’ve read New Testament; there are John, Joseph, Jonas, but I can’t recall any Jonathan. Or Sharleen.

I was busy trying to recall any reference to Jonathan and Sharleen in the Bible, when the pastor said something about blessing the bride and the groom.

And then a man dressed in a grey suit, and a young lady dressed in a flowing, white gown appeared out of nowhere and started walking up the aisle. And then three great revelations dawned upon me.
1. Jonathan and Sharleen are not ancient, biblical characters, but 21st century people who’re getting married this day.
2. I have gate-crashed their wedding, mistaking it to be a sermon.
3. I’m an idiot.

I chided myself and quietly sneaked out of the other entrance, deciding against confessing to the over-made up ladies at the main entrance of my misunderstanding. As I stepped out of the hall and rushed towards the exit gate, I was just seeking forgiveness from God for gate-crashing the wedding. Oh, yes. I did say a silent, quick prayer for Jonathan and Sharleen.

No comments: