Saturday, November 01, 2008


Sher Agrawal

[prohindu] [Iyer123] The story of the poor pattar penn (girl) who became Mrs. Peter

H.S.A.Narayana Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 4:36 PM
Laxminarayan Sarma [Add to Address Book]
To: ""
Subject: [Iyer123] The story of the poor pattar penn who became Mrs. Peter
Date: Oct 24, 2008 5:21 AM
The plight of Poor Pattati Penn who became Mrs.Peter

This is the story of the pathetic plight of a poor pattati penn who became Mrs. Peter, as narrated by Nikhila Natarajan in the HIndustan Times, Mumbai of October 24.

Fingers Crossed in Virginia

Born-Agains are pushing Lakshmi to make a choice: her Hindu identity or her marriage to Peter -

Nikhila Natarajan
Alexandria, Virginia, US

"LAKSHMI", the pastor said in his gospel tone, " if you were saved, you would understand what we're talking about". Lakshmi gave her husband a hard look and left the room.

Lakshmi does not live in Orissa, she's not Christian, she's on a dependent visa in New York, and has begun to dislike her husband's "church friends", and their aggressive brand of Christianity. For her, the H4 visa is like a curse word now. When she says it, it feels like a practised paan chewer directing a thin fountain along the yellowed corner of a sarkari staircase,Splotch. What if I mess up my visa page with a paan stain, she thought, wickedly. The INS chap will deport me. If he asks me what it is, I'll say, it's a bleedingt HIndu heart, Amen.

Lakshmi laughed out loud at her own joke. I was playing ping pong in the sports room next door at the community center, where a group of Indians, some Chinese and a couple of Sri Lanks ' all "saved" - meet every Thrusday and Sunday and plan for their "Indian church in umreeka" dream. We hear their loud singing, punctuated by generous helpings of Hallelujah.

Lakshmi says they have these song books in large fonts and they slide the book into her lap so there's social pessure to sing along.

"Peter is convinced that I cannot be his soulmate unless i read the Bible and attend church just like him. For him and his friends, I'm a non-believer because I believe in a god by a differnt name"

"On my birthday, this whole church bunch lands up and they do this really fundoo prayer session in my living room. I'm HIndu. I don't go to people's houses and recite slokas", Lakshmi got angrier as she spoke.

"you could, you choose not to to, " I said. "Yes, all HIndus could, but we don't right?" "Not all of us, at least" I said. "And, we dont stop people from practising their religion, do we"? "Not all of us", I said.

"Well, Peter stops me from being a Hindu, the way i want to. Clearly, Peter was spooking Lakshmi. For the first time since her school days, she want back and read the preamble to the Indian Constitutiion. 'She says it to herself over and over again, for strength. We...the people of India, soveriegn, socialist, secular democracy republic.

Then, Lakshmi told me this story; She has this exquisite collection of brass lamps from Spouth India The weekend before Navaratri began, she put all her lamps into a large kadhai of hot water, threw some tamarind , lime and rock salt into it and left it to simmer. She'd learnt how to shine brass this way. When Peter saw it, "he lay his hand about 10 inches above the kadai, like he was blessing it, and mumbled. From the corner of her Wall Street Journal, Lakshmi watched. "I was hoping yhou would keep all these idols out of our home," he said. "Peter, these are lamps. To light on special days. I'ts what I have grown up with". "Yes, but to me it's all the same, false gods. Even the red dot on your forehad."

That felt like a slap. Lakshmi never imagined the Peter she married will turn into this. It happened after he came to the US, afer he met a couple more software progammers from his faith at work, she says. They even managed to ferry their own pastor on a religious worker, (R1) visa from India. From their earnings they donate a big chunk every month for the pastor's living expenses, his salary. Peter's self fonfessed non-secular ways have made Lakshmi more of a HIndu than she ever was, she has begun to buy books on HIndu rituals. She cuts out Ganesh motifs from wedding invitations and lovingly transforms them into wall hangings whe she hides under side of the bed, so Peter does not see.

Lakshmi will come home for Deepavatli because Peter does not like her celebrating HIndu festivals in their home. LAKshmi will light diyas in my patios and in the ochre glow on that wintry evening, she'll see Peter's face and say boo

This is the story of just one Lakshmi who fell for a Christian, thanks to her parents and her community that did not bother to inculcate in her a sense of pride in and belonging to her religion, pride in her rich religious, sp;iritual, cultural and social heritage. So that she fell for the wiles of a Christian, extremely sophisticated and polished externally but a fanatic, a HIndu hating blinkered madman.

It is here that our Samajams, our society and above all the elders haved a role to play. Degrees in enginering, jobs in BPOs with huge salaries are not the be all and end all of a HIndu's existence. there iks more to life than this.

Samajams should get rid of the superannuated stenos who run them. Educated men, true \Hindus aware of the hindu heritage and ethos should take over these samajams and act as torch bearers for the community.



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