An edited version was published by South Asian Generation Next on 29th January 2011.
It’s a quiet lazy Sunday morning. You are sleeping in on that one day of the week you can call your own. You are wearing your teddy bear t-shirt that you won’t be caught dead in when you are outside, but you keep it anyway because it’s comfortable and you can wear it on Sundays. Then the bell rings and shatters your temporary calm existence.
You wait for a bit. You hope someone else will get it. But since they are also hoping for the same, there is no movement within the house. The bell rings again and you stumble groggily to open the door. Its cold and you are blind without your glasses. So, when you see two well-dressed strangers smiling widely at you, you smile back uncertainly, wishing that you had grabbed your glasses when you had woken up.
“Hello! How are you this morning?”
You are secretly wishing that they would just come to the point instead of starting with pleasantries so that you can go back to your warm bed and maybe go back to that incredible dream you were having.
“Can we have a moment of your time?”
Umm, no. Because you clearly woke me up and all I want to do is sleep!
“Yeah, sure” you say, because you have been brought up to be polite to perfect strangers.
“We would like to invite you to our meeting this afternoon,” and they hand you a pamphlet with the word “God” on it.
Suddenly, you snap awake. You are faintly annoyed at being woken up to be invited to a religious meeting.
“I am not really interested. I have my own faith,” you try to wriggle out of the situation without being rude.
“We understand, but why don’t you keep this and take a look?”
And, you take the pamphlet and throw it in the garbage right after you close the door.
Sound like a familiar Sunday morning scenario? See, I am not one to write about religion. To me, religion is too private to have any kind of conversation on. In fact, when there was a huge global debate going on about whether there should be a mosque on the former World Trade Center site, I kept my nose completely clean of the issue. If anyone asked me what my opinion was, I just smiled weakly and changed the topic.
So, when you come to my house and wake me up in the hopes of having me come to your meetings and in the faint anticipation that maybe you will be able to convert me to your religion, well, I don’t appreciate it. I am happy with my faith and if I needed to change my religion, I would come find you.
I understand that you get some kind of brownie points from God or something if you can convert one person in your lifetime, but I am sure God would not want people to go around disturbing the peace and quiet of people’s off days sending out invitations like pushy salesmen. To me, God is like a Tantra t-shirt I once saw that read: God is too big to fit into one religion. In fact, I am sure God is too busy with important matters to bother about keeping track of your supposed brownie points. But then again, this is one conversation I will not be having with you.
I would not even have written this blog post if it wasn’t for the incident that happened yesterday. There I was. Walking down the snow covered pavement, ignoring the world in order to catch a Go Bus to come home for the weekend, when I was accosted by a smiling undergrad with a holy book.
“Hello!” he said, grinning at me.
I racked my brain hard, wondering if he was one of my students and I was somehow forgetting a face. And, if he was, how awful! Then, I noticed a name tag and a bunch of “God” pamphlets.
“Uh… I am not interested,” I said and kept on walking.
“Do you know anyone who is?” he wondered aloud after me.
“No, I am sorry,” was my response. But perhaps what I should have said was, don’t you think if I knew someone I would have directed you to them to deflect attention from myself? Also, don’t you think it’s rude to accost people on a cold winter Friday afternoon in the hopes of garnering attention for whatever religious group you seem to be representing? And, don’t you think if grown up people that litter this university campus were interested in looking for God, they would come find you?
So, hello Missionary, I am not interested. And, please leave me alone.