To say that religion is an important part of India is the ultimate understatement. The country is steeped in religious fervour, is the mother of all melting-pots when it comes to gods, goddesses, idol-worship, non-idol worship, sadhus in various stages of undress, intoxication and malnutrition and host to festivals right throughout the year. It permeates everything, and I mean everything and apart from cricket, is quite likely is the major fuel for the great joy, sadness, celebration and social crime that ignites India.
Very Jekyll & Hyde.
Very public, very personal.
Very tricky, very touchy
Think about it. The field trip lasts for 12 - 14 days. In this time, we have to introduce ourselves, get accepted by & worm some extremely private details out of a group of people who probably have never seen any real strangers and are therefore perfectly within their rights to be reluctant to let on, if not be downright hostile. And this just describes what we are up against for the census data. Which is why you, dear reader, will understand the idiocy of attempting to question the people about their various deities, obscure rituals and beliefs in magic, of which the practice of the black kind is illegal and perversely ofcourse, prevalent. The researcher would be leading a charmed life for those 12 - 14 days.
Basically, challenging stuff. Which wasn't the reason I crossed it off the list of 24 as the only one I was against. I'm interested in mythology, religion and whatnot. But I was dead set against any of it at the time this trip took place. Call it a reaction. So, no.
Apparently, the class had misconstrued it a shade when the professors told us to pick topics for ourselves. We went ahead and chose and promptly had the professors smile at us in a sickly fashion and assign us completely different ones based on their own logic of what was appropriate for each student. "This is your destiny..." as it were. Completely filmi, I know, but that's the way it was.
24 topics, 19 students. Some topics wouldn't make the cut (shocking and heartbreaking, really, but the world is an indifferent place). Even as the student's name and his or her topic was called out, I had this premonition (ironic, isn't it) about the topic I'd be assigned.
I kid you not about this next part. I was number 19 & there was only 1 major topic left on the list. Sometimes, its just not worth your while to hold your breadth.
Oh well.... onward, philistine.