Thank you, Mom

If you've been to a Hindu temple, you might have seen an aarti. It involves moving a lamp, lit using a number of wicks or camphor, in a circular clockwise motion around the deity. The priest then holds up the lamp to everyone present. Each person cups their hands over the flame and raises their palms over their eyes and head. The blessing from the deity is now passed on through the flame.

Nowadays, as an atheist, I visit temples for the culture and architecture. When a priest holds the flame up for me, I just do it out of habit. Besides, it'd be awkward, even offensive, if I simply walked away.

But if my mom is around, she'll cup her hands over the flame and place them firmly over my eyes and head, before doing the same for herself. All those times at a temple, when I was busy praying, she was there wishing me the very best in everything I did. It makes me wonder why I bothered about the other blessing in the first place.

personalRamkumar Shankar