Back in India, every evening, I was wafted into a sea of devotion, thanks to MSS, whose enchanting voice rendered the complicated slokas of Sanskrit in perfect clarity. The pristine voice filled the surroundings with a sense of calmness and everlasting composure. But, there were many a times, when my brother and I wanted to change the evening atmosphere at home, by replacing the usage of the only tape recorder with the latest happenings on the television. So, on many days, we have watched the only sport that the whole of India supports, and on many other, we would end up watching one of the latest movies being played on many different channels.
"Praveen, today is a very auspicious day. Why don't you both play some devotional songs on the tape recorder?"
Even before I could open my mouth, my brother would let out a cry of anguish as if she had just asked us to go to war, "No, let the movie finish. We are watching Alai Payuthey."
She would agree reluctantly, for we would never be in a mood to let go. At exactly six o' clock on this particular auspicious day, the scene that was played out would make my mother seethe in anger. The heroine's father would have passed away and the inconsolable cries from the women folk would make the whole scenario look anything but auspicious. Immediately, my mother would cry out from the kitchen, "For heaven's sake, today is Pongal, and why the hell are both of you playing this scene. At least change the channel."
Both of us would laugh and attribute this scene to a strange kind of coincidence. Obviously, we did change the channel; there were no two ways about it! Sometimes, the other channel would not bring the best of news either. The news reader would blare out the news of somebody's death or report famine or a bomb blast somewhere. After all, today, the world is not such a safe place to live in, with so many things happening around us all the time. But, over a period of time, we had virtually got used to the fact of seeing bouts of depression mixed with auspicious times. Sometimes, when I used to watch television sitting in the hall, my brother would call out jokingly, "I am sure that it is six o' clock in the evening." We had come to a conclusion that we could time our watch based on what was running on the television.
Generally, back home in India, an auspicious time is associated before taking up any task. There is also a belief in the omens. The basic idea is to create a feel good atmosphere at all times, and especially before venturing out to do something important. A typical situation is generally met with funny anecdotes. I would be in an intense prayer moment with Him, when my brother would have turned on the news channel to the highest volume - India certainly are facing defeat in today's game. I would grit my teeth, continue with my prayers, and come out with a feeling Oh, today is going to be a tough day! It never mattered much at the end of the day, but we, Indians, have a tendency to be highly superstitious. It is funny, though, that more we try to avoid something, the more it hits us. The best thing is to avoid the trivialities and move on with life. But, one thing is for sure; if you happen to watch something depressing on television on an auspicious day, get ready to time your watch!