“I lost my faith as an hourglass loses sand“
The snippet from Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto resonates with me. I look up from the screen and stare ahead, letting the words slowly trickle into my conscience. Nine simple words, and yet how poignant.
I see me struggle as the hourglass.
In the beginning it is fear clouding me as I sense myself losing grip on all the lores and tales and myths that I grew up listening to, and which offered comfort in times of distress. And then it moulds itself into anger and confusion about why I alone seemed to have a hole in me while others stood steadfast. I strain to hold myself together. Everything I had trusted and believed in slips away, excruciatingly slow, a grain at a time. There are moments when the flow remains stuck for a moment, but before I can heave a sigh of relief, I feel the thoughts untangling and draining out of me yet again.
And then comes the tipping point.
As more and more of it clears out of me, I sense that what is happening inside me is not the creation of a void but a vacuum – one that has the possibility of sucking in anything and everything I would want to have for myself. All the doubts that I suppressed over the years get a voice, and new hope for resolution.
As more and more of the sand disappears, I marvel at how transparent the glass really is. How I can finally see across it. How thoughts and perspectives of others can travel through to me without resistance, flow in me without being crushed by the harsh edges of prejudice and move out of me without being scarred by hatred.
I lost my faith as an hourglass loses sand, terrified of being empty.
I lost my faith as an hourglass loses sand, filling myself with potential.
P.S. Although I started this reminiscence in terms of my coming-of-age experiences with respect to religion, I realise it extends far beyond that.. to realms of cultural divide, ethnic prejudice and even ideological differences. In a world where words like xenophobia, fundamentalism and supremacist are thrown about with abandon, why not be ready to let go of some parts of ourselves to let in some of others’…