Sunday, December 25, 2011

Feathered shoes and Gloria in excelsis deo

U smile !  that's what you do when someone takes a photograph of you, unless there is a good reason behind it, perhaps a death ( although I wonder who would take a picture of in that moment) or if you have made a eternal pact, not to smile at the person behind the camera.

On the other side, why to smile while being photographed ? cant we own the weirdest-custom-made expression that we carry on our face ? I pondered on it, while my photo was taken last night in the Christmas mass at a church here. The photographer is a warden in her early 40 , dressed elegantly in black gown , lush red lipstick and a hair clip and shoes that had feathers in it .she must be from the high class. She seem to be interested to capture the patrons who turned up for the special mass. As she made her way back to her seat her heals drummed the floor, It was loud enough to be heard in the packed church.  Before I could reach a conclusion about smiling,  the choir started singing, Gloria in excelsis deo filled the room.

There is definitely something about the choir echoing in the church. At the wee hours of yesterday  the rain bathed the church  and the warmth of  hundreds of people gathered to welcome hope, happiness and peace  only added to the wholesome experience.  I was tired (from standing) and hungry by the time the pastor cleared his throat to deliver the message of The Holy Night.  To my surprise he didnot say anything arbitrary that a common non-christian wouldn't understand. He spoke of financial burdens, the loneliness created by the distance from your loved ones and being an outcast. In short All that I am.

As much as I tell everyone that I am a freethinker, I sometimes take the comfort in believing something. Like what the pastor said hours ago. The god choose to be born in a place like cattle shed , in association with Shepard, the lowest and outcast of that time. No air freshener, clean towels or medical care on cotton soft mattress,  for he lived like one of us, so people like me can identify with him. A kinship that taught there is always hope and joy no matter what the present looks like.

"Peace be to you" He said,  and people around me greeted each other "peace" with a christmasy smile . Without any hesitation I greeted them back with smiles of course.  A kid next to me felt comfortable enough to hug me :) I so wished the entire world were these people at church.  Where the feather shoes of chinese Christian and bata shoes of Indian hindu can smile and say peace to each other.

Then it hit me, We smile at pictures because we are thinking about all those who are going to see this photograph, now and ever. We are making a snapshot of our lives that might end up living , staring at people more than we do. That  it needs to portray , happiness , hope and conviction. A kinship to a happily ever after. Needless to say I smiled at all those who made eye contact at me, as I walked out of the church - I still do.