Looking at my daughter I was reminded of my own childhood where I would sit through long prayers, visit temples with my parents and follow all the rituals obediently. At times the rituals and prayers ran fairly. For a young child it could prove to be an endurance test. But I will confess honestly today that somewhere deep inside the mithai served as a big motivation. The sweet ending is what I looked forward to.
On a recent visit to a temple, I found my daughter to be a bit distracted. She was praying along with me but she was eyeing something as well. That is when I spotted this plateful of candies. I am sure the bananas were not the cause of the distraction.
In a Hindu temple, as is customary, food is offered to the God first and then served to everyone attending the prayer/ visiting the temple. The spread offered to the Gods could be elaborate but fruits and Mithais (Indian Sweets) are staple and the most popular. Of course this being a temple in the US, candies had replaced the Mithais.
It wasn’t as if sweets were not available otherwise. Any Indian celebration, wedding and festival is incomplete without the present of Mithais. The variety is limitless and the availability is abundant. Mithais do not need any occasion. One would simply take a stroll to the nearby sweet shop and indulge in a little sweet tooth.
However, the same Mithai in the temple had a different taste to it. I do not know why. Perhaps it is because it could be obtained only after certain amount of waiting, after having patiently sat through prayers (all the while eyeing the sweets). I remember often telling God in my mind, “I just want you to know I am here for more than just the Mithais.” He smiled back reassuringly as if he was waiting for the Mithais as well.
Today as these thoughts stir through my mind, I look at my daughter again. She is smiling as she prays. I assume she is saying something very similar in her mind. The prayers get over. The priest distributes the candies from the plate. She eats them all. I look at her surprised.
“You never eat candies. You don’t like them, right?”
“The ones from the temple taste different Mom. But I wish they had Mithais instead.”
Guess, something’s never ever change.