Prabhakar Subramaniam

An Expat Argument - Poem by Prabhakar Subramaniam

I may be a scientist
But I cannot turn my back
On our religion
All right, rites, or practices, if you want,
We may be living here in the U.S.
Far away from our folks
Yet, I do my dawn and dusk chants
Fast during the solar eclipse
And take my meals only after bath and pooja.
We don't know why we follow certain customs
There may be hidden meaning behind them
They may benefit us in unknown ways
By repeating the slokas we stay connected
To our ancestors
Like in an invisible chain
Just think, words thousands of years old
Handed down across generations
Passed from tongue to tongue
Journeying across time
Carried only in the mind
Before they could be written down
Surviving swords, pillagers and fire -
Burning like an immortal flame!

'Yeah, but treating your own wife as an untouchable
During her period, in this time and age
I find it irrational,
It's as if your mind and feet
Never left that agraharam
I feel like a slave.'

I thought you were an orthodox family!
I am sorry, I'm really disappointed!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, October 1, 2012

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