She dressed up in her best traditional attire and went to the temple. She had managed to pay her grace every day since the beginning of the year.

The New Year’s resolution was going well!

She bought the palate of offerings, removed her footwear outside, bowed down low and touched the first step and then her forehead!

She entered and dodging her way through the crowd, managed to get in line. Thursday mornings were pretty crowded!

The queue was longer than usual. She glanced at the watch in her hand –

She – This will take an hour and then another in the train; fifteen minutes in the rickshaw and that means oh no! I’ll get late for work.

She nervously glanced at the queue and tried to divert her attention to something else. The crying two-year old, the frail beggar in the corner with a rattling bowl, the weeping lady in prayer! She wondered how this place managed to give hope to all kinds of people regardless of caste, creed or sex.

She was in awe!

As she was looking around in wonder, the old woman in the queue behind her tapped her on the shoulder.

She (old woman) – There’s a red stain on your kurta. There’s a washroom just around the corner.

She – Oh! Thank you for letting me know. I’ll be back in some time. Could you please hold my place in the queue?

She (old woman) (loudly) – But you’re impure. Will you still enter this sacred place?

She – What is so impure about a little blood? It’s the same blood that has housed humans since the beginning of time. It’s because of this blood that all of us are alive. This blood is God’s greatest gift to humanity. It is His creation. Do you still think I am impure?

The old woman was left in awe of broken age-old traditions and unwritten laws.

She (old woman) – How do you manage to be so fearless?

She – As long as my intentions are pure who should I be afraid of?

 

Author: Zainab Haji

 

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