The ringing of bells and the chanting of priests echoed resonantly through her ears. The smog from the fire was soaring higher and higher in the air. The waft of incense sticks hovered in the room. The instant Neha came out of the room, she felt as if she could finally take a breath. Nobody understood how troublesome it was for an atheist to be a part of a pooja. For her, it was like being somewhere she did not belong. She didn’t understand the purpose of believing in God because she could believe in herself and that belief was what mattered to her. Although, she didn’t have much choice. Most of the times, when anyone heard about her being an atheist, they would get startled; all the more because for people around her an ideal girl should have been following their rules of devotion. Her mother believed that religious worship was crucial as she thought that God was the only one who could protect her at all times.
After a while, as she was passing by a bungalow, she noticed the same priest as before. She got skeptical seeing him running hastily in the other direction. She stalked him till the end of the street and around the corner. He was carrying a massive bag full of stuff she couldn’t identify. She finally found him near a dead-end in the street and immediately alerted the forces. After examining his bag and questioning him, they found that the priest was a robber and was stealing highly combustible material from the bungalow and wanted to blast the temple in the city because he thought they weren’t paying him enough salary.
During this entire fiasco, Neha’s whole family was present, and Neha had made them realize that faith is personal and that everyone should be allowed to follow their path of peace and spirituality. A religious person may not necessarily be a good human, and an atheist could be extremely kind and empathetic. Ultimately, humanity is the best form of worship.
// This fictional story has been penned by 12-year-old Jeslyn Padam from Hyderabad as a part of a writing task given to the kids during the regular creative writing classes at Beyond the Box //