The Religion Division

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At a jasan, not long ago…
A ritual performed…
Just so you know…
In the Zoroastrian faith…
Akin to a Puja…
Where I arrived late,
But was witness to…
Something so cruel…
Again a divide…
Like that segregation of old…
Where African Americans were told…
They weren’t permitted …
To enter certain “white” places…
They weren’t admitted…
Into particular spaces…
As certain social graces…
Weren’t accorded to them…
Well, this was like that…
Or maybe not…
But at that time,
That’s what I thought!

So back to the jasan….
And all things holy…
We were all seated…
Even tiny roly poly…
That’s my cousin’s son…
A dear little one!

The priest, our Dastur…
Started to pray…
That mellifluous chant…
Made my aunt… sway…
As we shut our eyes…
And joined our hands…
We were transported to…
Our forefathers’ land…
It was so serene …
The whole atmosphere…
Until my aunt spotted…
A tiny smear…

This was the ‘impure’ stain…
And after this,
There was much disdain…
Mental strain…
And our otherwise jovial,
Parsi lot, would not be the same!
I, for one, lost it!
And my aunt went insane…

So the stain, you have guessed…
Was on my young cousin’s dress…
Due to a biological monthly event…
By which we are all held…
Under duress!!

It’s not too bad…
One gets used to it fast…
It’s painful and messy…
But till about 47 (or so)…
It lasts…
And casts…
Many shadows…
For many a womankind…
But we don’t mind!
See… we’re a strong breed…
But why am I saying this?
You already know it!!

So back to this incident …
(I do get sidetracked!!)
My aunt’s eyes were meant…
To be tightly shut…
But…
They opened a tad…
And she was not glad!

“How can you be here?
At this holy place??
Get out now!
There’s no time to waste!”

My cousin, poor thing…
With eyes wide open…
Was jostled to the other room…
And no more was spoken…

I was up from my seat…
But sat down again…
As my aunt’s hard stare…
Fixated me there!

It happened so fast…
Come to think of it now…
I don’t think I even saw…
What the noise was all about!

I saw no spot…
I saw no blot!

Well, anyway ….
Back to my story…
Which played repeatedly…
Amongst all the (old ) ladies…

How could my cousin…
Not know “her time”,
And “risk” attending a ceremony…
Not caring a dime!!

Surely, she’d know…
That a Parsi woman is “impure”,
At that time of month…
She’s shown the door!

I’ve never understood…
How customs like this…
Tend to persist…
And persist ….
And exist!

On one hand….
Women were venerated…
Placed high on pedestals…
In the Avesta, the holy book…
Where men and women were teachers….
And priests….
People of learning….
Not least….

And women, though discouraged….
From working outside….
Were never made to fear…
Or never made to hide…

So back to my tale again…
I cannot understand why…
The very same system…
That propagates life…
Is given the boot…
Depending on the time!!

And just because we…
Are the bearers of birth…
The men never face…
Any kind of hurt…
Physical, mental…
They’re just dictating the terms…

To go along…
With the long-ago people…
Who wrote scripture and edict…
Is it no wonder…
That patriarchs wrote it!?

It’s just an excuse…
That patriarchs use…
That what’s written is written…
And cannot be changed…
But times have changed…
And a lots been exchanged…
In this futuristic age…
It’s ridiculous, it’s illogical …
To follow old adage!

 

By Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade is a Clinical Child Psychologist, Part-time mother, blogger, French teacher and IATA teacher. She has worked with the differently abled, and now works on and off as a teacher.

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