Thought of Secularism; Father's Day Special

Today is Father's day and apart from my own father, there is this person who is much more than a fatherly figure in my life. The memories with whom will forever be cherished by me no matter what. It was one fine day of April 2010. I was along with my dadajaan (grandfather) at our village house. He was teaching me in the guestroom when a relative arrived to meet him. My uncle brought snacks for the guest. They all sat together and then had the tea. After this, my grandfather and our relative had a conversation on various topics. I was also eating the savouries from that plate and had nothing to do with their talks. My seven year old self was busy drawing something on the notebook. Meanwhile, the guest asked my grandfather, "Master Sahab, Do you perform Puja? What's that?" On this, my attention diverted and went to the direction of his hands. He was referring to the calendar hanging on the wall. I looked at it carefully. I think I had never observed it like that ever before. The upper part of the calendar had Lord Krishna playing a flute and Radha standing beside him. Their pose was very pretty. It was a colourful image. Beneath the calendar, there were four pages which contained the dates and days. Overall the entire calendar was very beautiful. Dadajaan replied, "It is the current year's calendar. It has all the gazetted and restricted holidays written on it and contains all other related information." On this the relative said, "I am not talking about the dates and days written on this calendar. I am talking about the picture. You are a Muslim and there is this Hindu calendar in your house. Are you a devotee of Lord Krishna?" My grandfather replied to him in a very different yet smart way. "First of all, I don't know how to worship and since I do not know the method I obviously cannot perform the Puja. Second thing is that this calendar is just an inanimate object. And I honestly don't have any idea how a material like this can be assigned a religion? It cannot be called either a Hindu or a Muslim. It just looked very beautiful so I took it. Moreover, it was already having all the important days and events so why should I look for any other 'Muslim' calendar in another shop. And until this year gets over and a new calendar comes, we will be using this very calendar. I don't think there is anything bad in that." Although the relative was speechless and in deep thoughts for a moment but these things were not a part of any serious debate or discussion so they shifted to some other topic and the talk continued. Later on, for the entire 2010 that calendar beautified my house. But unfortunately the next year 2011 never got the opportunity to come into the life of my grandfather. I wish he was there for some more time. The father of my father. I could have learnt a lot from him.... Be it on life skills, secularism or anything under the Sun. I miss him so much!

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