I Blame You and I Blame Me

Nancy Vijo
Monday, May 4, 2020

It’s been a while since I penned down my thoughts. I’d been too preoccupied since this pandemic had started and is juggling between various responsibilities at work and home; working from home, taking care of 2 children, cooking, cleaning and making sure that my 5 year old is entertained throughout.

But this one post compelled me to write. I had to channel this extreme frustration and helplessness at the plight of the minority in my country; the largest sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic in the world to something that would make you ponder. As I browsed through fb, this post caught my attention. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read it. A pregnant woman in Jharkand was beaten up in the name of religion, she lost her baby and she was asked to clean up her own blood!!! I am a mother of 2. You are all parents or have loved a child in your lives. How would it feel to loose your own because of your religion?

When will we, my countrymen; when will we learn? When will we stop? What is happening to us all? I’m no saint. I support no political party nor do I endorse any candidate. But do I have a stand? Yes, I do. I stand with my countrymen – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Budhist, Christian and every caste and creed. I refuse to blame any political party or any government for this act or any act of racism towards anyone. I BLAME YOU and I BLAME ME. Where are our brains? Have we given our “remote controls” to a person or to a political party or to a government that they can influence us in such a way? Din’t we fight off the British to earn our freedom? Or did we fight them off to fight amongst ourselves? When will we realize dear countrymen?

In April 19, I was down with the strange disease that got my whole body swollen up. My mouth erupted in blisters and wounds and I oozed blood and pus through my mouth and nose. To top it, I was pregnant. I was taken to different hospitals every single day. Nothing seemed to work. My BP dropped, my sugar levels dropped and I started to hallucinate. There were limitations to medicines as I was pregnant. One by one, all the doctors started to give up on treating this disease. Results of swab tests, blood tests showed negative for all viruses and bacteria. All the doctors said that I should be admitted, but that Mubarak dint have beds, Maternity hospital wouldn’t take me in, private hospitals had no clue what to do. Finally, through friends; I was referred to Dr. Mustafa in Infectious Diseases hospital. I wasn’t infectious, but ONLY he was kind enough to try to help me when everyone had given up hope. Dr. Musafa was the kindest Doctor I’ve ever met. He moved from one hospital to the other just to make sure he gave me an appointment. Through experimentation and sheer hope, he created a concoction. I knew I had to fight this disease somehow and start to eat as it had been 21 days since I suffered. I don’t know if it was his positivity or my mind power that I started to heal. After 25 days of surviving on drips; I could swallow liquids. After I was fully healed, I went back there with a box of chocolates to thank him. What he said will forever remain in my mind and heart. He said, “Please take it back. I cannot accept this. Do not leave it for my staff as well. What I did, I did for the love of Allah! It’s his grace that you were healed. If you leave the box here for my staff, they will get used to accepting gifts and not everyone can afford that. Stay safe and take care of yourself and your baby”. Having said that, he moved on to take care of the rest of his patients. I haven’t seen God, nor do I state that Dr Mustafa was God; but I experienced the love of God through him, through a Muslim. Was it Jesus’s love or was it Allah’s? I don’t care. I experienced God’s love through this Muslim Man. Dr. Mustafa is now tirelessly working with Corona paitents in Kuwait. How many times have a Muslim Doctor treated you? Did he treat you indifferently? Then why do we treat them differently? So what if it’s a doctor or even just a cleaner who sweeps the floor? My heart aches at the plight of that Muslim woman who was beaten up in Jharkand. I BLAME YOU and I BLAME ME.

This is not the first post that I’ve written supporting my fellow countrymen- Muslims. I write for them as they are targeted. And knowingly or unknowingly; we sow seeds of racism in our children. I no saint. I grew up being taught that Jesus was the only God because that’s how my parents were taught. I’m a devout Christian and I have faith. Enough faith to move mountains and not extreme to hunt down and discriminate people from other religions.

I often wonder why does this happen? What can we do differently to make sure that our next generation grows up in harmony?
The other day, my 5 year old got intrigued by “Shiv Tandav Sthotram”; one that is mandatorily in my list of songs in the morning. I am a Christian, I have faith in my beliefs; but that does not stop me from listening to music or prayers from other religions. And I make sure that my children grow up the same way. Seeing pictures of Lord Shiva on the screen, she asked me – “Mama, who is this?” I told her that it was a Hindu God named Lord Shiva. She continued..” But you showed me another Hindu God the other day! How many are there?” I dint know what to say! I don’t know how many Gods are there in Hinduism, but I decided to show her pictures of all whom I knew. As I played different chants and showed her different pictures; I could see her eyes grow wide in fascination and wonder. She blurted out when she saw the picture of Goddess Saraswati, “ She’s so beautiful, mama. She’s got so many bangles and necklaces and make up on. She’s so cool”. I chuckled. She continued.. “I wanna be a Hindu. There are so many Gods and I find that cool. It’s boring to have only one God. But isn’t Jesus the ONLY REAL GOD, mamma?”

Warning bells rang in my head. I knew I had to choose this reply very very carefully. I come from a very traditional Christian family where we had to be on our knees for prayer everyday. Missing Sunday Mass was considered a huge crime. I remember being chastised because I din’t pray the rosary everyday. Infact, one of my cousin sisters was kicked out of home and isolated for years because she married someone from another caste. My family are devout Christians.

“Sit Down, Eva”; I said. Let’s talk. I asked her who her best friends were. She said they were Diya and Rubab at school; Isabella, Zoe and Emma at her babysitters, Vaidu in general. I chose to pick her friends at school. I asked her if she knew that Diya was a Hindu and Rubab was a Muslim?

She said, “What’s a hindu? Whats a Muslim?” And looked up confused. She continued, “They are my friends, mamma. They are not hindus or Christians…what is it by the way? She looked up innocently.

“Exactly!” I said. “It doesn’t matter because they are your friends. It doesn’t matter if they pray to one God or many other Gods. You have Shagufta mam and Darshini mam whom you love. You love Sonia mam as well. They are all from different religions. Mamma’s best friends since childhood are Tehseen, Gayathri, Anitha, Vijay, Sushmi, Prajisha, Meryl, Thejeswi and they all from different religions. It doesn’t matter whom they pray to.”

“So…tell me. Jesus is NOT the ONLY GOD?” She looked up impatiently.

“Jesus is our God, whom we believe in. Zoe, Isabella , Emma, Sonia mam all believe in the same God. Lord Shiva, Krishna or Rama or other Gods are Diyas, Vaidhus, Theju auntys Gods. Allah is Rubabs and Sushmi auntys God. Noone is right or no one is wrong. You like McDonald’s, mamma likes KFC – are you wrong to like something than the other? Or is mamma wrong?”

“It’s ok to like KFC, mamma. But don’t be silly. Mc Donalds is the best!, She grinned. “So says you” I added giggling as well “and that’s ok” I continued.

“So you mean, all of us are right? That Lord Shiva, Jesus and Allah are all Gods?” “Yes, I guess so sweetheart. They are Gods to some and not Gods to others. It’s like you love pink and mamma loves Red. You think Pink is the best color, I think Red is the best color and that’s ok.”

“But Pink is the best color, mamma!” She said. “Do you dislike me because of the fact that Red is my favorite color?”

“No, silly mamma. I love you most of the times. But sometimes when you scold me, I don’t like you very much” She added and giggled showing that gap in between her front teeth.“So …can I be a Hindu when I grow up?” She asked. “Ask me that when you grow up, ok?”; I said and got up to move along. (Mom and dad, don’t kill me for this.) “Or wait, May be I’ll be a Muslim when I grow up, so I can wear that scarf on my head and pretend like it’s long hair”

“Okay...whatever you like. Talk to me about that when you grow up” I continued to move to the Kitchen. “But I still want to light candles in the Church!!! And I still love Jesus!” “Okay!, I said. I was starting to get tired. Her brains and imagination is wild! But I hope I got the message through.

This incident or similar incidents might have happened in your homes as well. Your kids might have asked about Hinduism or Christianity or Islam. What have you told them? How have you approached the subject? If you haven’t thought about it now, it’s time we do. It’s time we move away from the constraints of “Our God is the ONLY TRUE GOD” or “It’s wrong of them to pray to ANOTHER GOD” - to – “they believe in a different religion and that’ ok”. We often take things for granted and feel that our kids are too young to understand or that they will figure out when they grow up. NO! They will not figure out when they grow up and it’s going to be too late for us to change them then. Start now! Start at your own homes.

Are you a tutor, or do you have access to young children or kids at school or clubs? Start there. Do you have a social media account? What’s stopping you from inspiring or sharing your experiences with people from different religions to promote harmony? Influence young minds positively. Influence them to accept each other’s differences. Teach them to think for themselves. Teach them that no political party or no leader should influence us to hate… and that if they do, they are not leaders.

We live in a Muslim country where our Emir is an epitome of Kindness. This country has given us shelter, food and money to support our people back home in India. In this Muslim country, have you ever been discriminated because you were not a Muslim? Let’s be honest – we have faced discrimination due to the color of our skin or the color or our passports – but definitely NOT in the name of religion.

I work with differently abled children. I guarantee you that I have Muslim colleagues who fast throughout the day during Ramadan and work with differently abled children on an empty stomach. I haven’t seen them crib or complain. Their love, kindness and compassion has no limits.

I’m no political activist, I’m not part of any associations or groups and there’s very limited that I can do to stop this MANHUNT in the NAME OF RELIGION. Infact, there’s nothing I can do except to sit frustrated and helpless at what’s happening in my home country. BUT, I can write to influence and if it can inspire and educate as well, I’d consider myself blessed. I can write in the hopes that one day, we can all give wings to this upcoming generation where hatred in the name of religion ends. I have been contributing my part with my children, my very own at home and the rest at the Pitch Club. Have you? If not, start now!

Do NOT give your “CONTROLS” to anyone. Think for yourselves, Act for yourself with honesty and Justice. My dear countrymen, once again I ask – Did we fight off the British to fight amongst ourselves? I BLAME YOU and I BLAME ME.

Nancy is a creative art person,a writer and a motivational speaker. After almost 7 and a half years of her career in HR and Corporate Training in various hierarchical levels; she decided to turn to Applied Behavioral Therapy, trying to make a difference in the life of Autistic kids. She loves designing and choreographing and has anchored various shows in an out of Kuwait and India. She believes in Karma - that what you give is what you get. She writes with the belief that if her writings brings about a positive vibe in the life of a person who reads it - even if it is for a fleeting moment - she would be blessed. Being a vivid observer, she only writes on true experiences.
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