Some days are meant for Gods <
Visiting the Shiva temple
near my home is always a soothing experience. I don't exactly know why, considering that I'm not particularly religious
in sense of a 'practicing follower'. Not that I'm an atheist
- No! I love Hinduism
. For that matter I love the entire idea of the 'religion'. I find it all very interesting. But as a Hindu
, I'm a bad follower. I have my doubts about truthfulness of a lot of religious stories and practices. (But then I also have my doubts about stories of almost every other religion I know of. Let's leave it at that.)
But still, a visit to a place of worship - Temple, Church, Gurudwara, Mosque - it's always relaxing for me. I feel conscious and I find myself thinking more clearly.
But this day I was visiting to meet Pundit Vishnu Sharma. Supposedly the final authority to approve my and Suneeta's marriage.
Now, meeting Pundits is usually not something to covet. It's like visiting a Doctor in many senses - They usually don't talk the same language as you and rarely give good news.
I reached the temple rather late, around afternoon. This is when most of the temples are closed for Gods (actually care-taking Pundits) to take rest as a practice. There was only a young boy in kurta and dhoti sweeping the main Verandah. I assumed him to be Vishnu's son.
"Namaste, I'm Mr. Chhibber's younger son. I'm here to meet Pundit Vishnu ji...", I said in Hindi.
The boy looked up at me and gestured Namaste. He didn't say anything but his lips were lightly moving constantly. He was probably saying some religious text under his breath. Hanuman Chalisa or some Aarati. He gestured me to go in the main hall of temple. I thanked him with a very low voice (as if that would disturb him less than a normal voice) and walked in.
Besides me, only one more person was present inside sitting on a small Divan by one of the walls. He was clean shaved handsome man in his 20s, dressed in light blue Jeans and a gray T-shirt.
It was evident to me right away that Pundit Vishnu Sharma was not your everyday Pundit. He didn't look like a pundit from any angle - age, dress, way of talking. He was very well conversed in English and was very recently married. The boy outside, as it turned out, was his nephew.
"I matched your and Suneetaji's birth chart yesterday", he started telling me after the introductions and niceties were done, "and this seems to be a nice combination except for a few glitches..."
'Here it comes' I thought to myself. This whole birth chart thing is something fishy. I mean how does one really prepare them? How can one be sure they have exact time of birth of someone? minute to minute, second to second? Specially in Ghaziabad back in 1974. I really have some serious doubts over accuracy of watches available in this part of planet at that time.
And also my date of birth doesn't sound very authentic, 12th December - 12-12. However much I love the month of December and the sign of Sagittarius, I find it rather hard to believe that this is my genuine date of birth (27th of August sounds more random and hence more authentic, so does 14th of September for example). I think my parents are not really sure and made one up when I asked for the first time. As if that wasn't enough, time of my birth is supposedly 12:30 AM. That is also too rounded to be correct. Sometimes I feel everyone is lying to me.
I was just about to throw my hands in the air and voice all my concerns to Vishnu when he spoke - "But that's all right, no birth charts are 100% compatible. Only Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati's birth charts matched 100%; everyone else has only some parts matching and others not.
"Only major constraint is the date of marriage. There's only one date 2 month from now; then there is no date for next 3 years. So you'll have to stick with this date. Everything else is okay."
I couldn't believe my ears. The things were fine! The birth chart should be very accurate. All my doubts were fading. I also felt like I'm developing a faith for this entire constitution of pundits and auspecious/inauspecious dates et cetera. I was smiling again.
I got up and bent to touch Vishnu's feet. "Arre arre C'mon sir! it's fine. I'm like a younger brother to you", Vishnu said and stopped me midway.
"Thank you so much", I told Vishnu.
"I didn't do anything. In fact practically. Now I even prepare and match birth charts on my computer, no manual calculations or chart lookups are needed. I just give a quick checkup to doubly make sure everything is accurate and dependable. All the best.", Vishnu said and smiled.
Vishnu is definitely not your everyday pundit.
I turned to look at the deities, Shiva-Parvati's statue was looking at me with an amusing smile. I smiled back and started for my home. I couldn't wait to see Suneeta and give her the Good news.
> I'm with Suneeta this evening, last time before we get engaged