Joining in the infinite journey of ‘The infinite’ among infinite people but still making an one to one connection with infinite is only possible in Rath Yatra. A journey of my friend and lord Jagannath. I call him Jaga with love.
I am living In a strange age where openly expressing your feelings about your own religious belief is known to be a social crime because we are in a secular country. But my friend Jaga is teaching secularism since ages. He is a strong believer of Sanatan Dharma. He does not live in pseudo-secularism. He strictly follows his religion at his home but when he comes out of his home he is open to accept friends from any religion. He never hates anybody and bothers if anybody hates him too. During his journey he waits to receive the offerings from believers of other religions. No arrogant could ever dare to stop him doing this.
He is like any of my friends. I call him (Kalia) black because he is black. I call him (Haati) Fat as elephant. I laugh at him due to his inability to walk and his 56 course meal. He does not mind. He does not think I do any kind of discrimination by expressing openly what he is. Telling the truth about friends openly and arguing with him in case of disagreement is what he has taught me. Every time I have visited his home (Puri Jagannath Temple), I have seen people scolding him or arguing with him openly. When I was a kid, I used to think they are mad. But now I understand. In the age where friends fear to tell the truth about their friends because it may break relationship, Jaga is unaffected. He argues endlessly till we both agree with truth. He never uses or expects to use post scripts to do any damage control. He is open. He is as open as true Sanatan/Hindu/Jagannath dharma is.
Once in a year he comes out of his home with the help of his friends/devotees accompanied by his elder brother and younger sister. He comes to the same stage or level where his other friends are. To hug his friends he extends his hand so much that you can see only portion of his arms. He makes his eye so big after getting excited seeing all his friends gathered at one place that his eye brows are invisible. His friends snatch his ornaments as soon as he comes out of his house as our friends take our stuffs without bothering to ask for permission. Friends help him to sit on a car made by friends for the friend. Friends drag it so that this black, fat, physically challenged friend can go wherever he wants. Giving your friends the opportunity to serve is known as friendship. He does not do any kind of formality. He asks what he wants and he lets you ask what you want. No confusion, great combination. He shows his joy by shedding few drops of tears of happiness every time he sits on Rath (Car). I have never seen a single Rath Yatra when there were no drizzle. He is caring too. He never let a heavy rain spoil the mood of his and his friend outing. So, I have never noticed heavy rain in any Rath Yatra. He stops on his way at his aunt’s house to eat some sweets, like we friends used to stop at some stop to take snacks during outing.
He is a great civil society member too. When all his friends gather in front of his home, he orders the king (civil servant) to sweep his car floor. This is to make the civil servant realize that he is truly a servant of civil society and he must never forget that throughout the year.
When he returns from his 9 day long outing, his wife shows her displeasure because he preferred to take his brother, sister and friends for outing but not his wife. His wife does not let him enter into the house despite his numerous requests.This causes severe arguments. The whole night he has to stay outside home despite being the MAN of the house. Although he requests and makes hundreds of promises but LADY of the house does not get convinced. The door remains closed and he has to stay outside waiting. What would you do if you were him? Will you cry whole night and plead? I guess not. He does the same as you would do, enjoys the night with friends. But early morning he does not forget to gift some valuable gifts with lots of love to make his wife happy. Then his wife allows him to enter into the house. He teaches by this that men will remain men and women are the real owner of the house. He also makes us realize that arguments, quarrels between spouses are usual stuffs so do not worry much.
Calling him god makes me feel as if I am missing something but when I call him friend I find it complete.Although I have used some words which might offend many readers but I will not apologize, because I assume my readers as my friends.
– Stray Dog