Saturday, 22 July 2017

Salesman In The Mall

Met a fellow today, a salesman in a Mall, who gave me a bit of a surprise. I have never heard of a case like his.

Mythological TV serials are in great demand nowadays. I am doing a TV serial that I was told was a straight family drama but slowly, almost imperceptibly, the script tilted up to the skies and Gods and Goddesses walked into our lives. As a result, the scenario changed somewhat. My initial prediction was that this change in the script might not work. Seems like I was mistaken.

I had no knowledge of how popular our serial was till I met this young lad in charge of the electronic section of the Mall that I visited. He came up to me with a broad smile and shook my hand warmly and, even before I could tell him what I had come to buy, he said:
“I see your serial every day!”
I was surprised to hear that but I wondered why a young fellow like him would watch a woman oriented serial like ours and a semi-mythological one at that.
“Do you watch it regularly?” I asked.
“Yes Sir! Every day! Without fail at 9.00 PM on the dot.”
“So how do you find it?”
“Very nice, Sir! Very moving! Full of twists and turns! My whole family watches it without missing a day!”
“Your entire family?”
“Yes, Sir! My wife, my mother, my father! All of us!”
“What’s your name?”
“Mohammed Sheikh”.

That surprised me. The Muslims are vehemently opposed to idolatry.  So why should this lad and his entire family watch Hindu Gods and Goddesses prancing around on the TV screen with such regularity?

“Isn’t that against your faith?” I asked him.
“My mother is a Hindu, Sir! Her name is Lakshmi Bai and in your serial, they show the Goddess Lakshmi among other Celestial Beings. She loves it!”
“And what about your father?”
“He is a Muslim. He loves my mother and watches the serial along with her anyway!”
“Are you married?”
“Yes Sir!”
“What is your wife’s name?”
“She too watches it?”
“Of course!”
“Your mother must have converted to the Muslim faith. So, what is her Muslim name?”
“My father did not force her to convert Sir! She goes to the temple regularly. He does not mind that. We say our Namaz regularly and go to the Masjid every Friday. That is how our family is! She is a vegetarian but my father does not mind that; nor does she mind our non-vegetarian diet. She has a small temple in one corner of the house and she does her morning Pooja every day just as my father says his Namaz five times a day. Religion is a personal matter Sir. Each one of us has his own personal equation with God!”

From both the orthodox Hindu and the orthodox Muslim points of view this belief might seem to be sacrilegious. But it goes a long way in demonstrating the veracity of Prime Minister Modi’s solemn declaration :

“Secularism is not only in our constitution but also in our veins. We worship Mother Nature too. We believe that the whole world is our family”.

Very well said, Sir, and what can be a better example of it than Mohammad Sheikh's family?

I was happy that our serial was being watched so avidly... happier still to meet this young lad and hear about his family. It is a living example of “VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM”.

As Swami Vivekananda has said: “All the differences of the world are of degree and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything”.

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