I’m back home with my parents for the holidays, where keeping up with the Jones’ has escalated to a point where my family is no longer honouring its own religion, but instead joining the neighbours for midnight mass at the local Catholic church.

It’s not typical behaviour for a Hindu family, but then mine has never been a typical Hindu family. Neither has it shied from Catholicism: My sisters and I went to the Catholic school opposite our house. (We got Christ and convenience – it was a 2 for 1 deal.)

As such, we knew what to expect from the service – lots of lengthy Bible passages, lots of time to ‘reflect’, lots of standing up and sitting down.

I didn’t, however, expect there to be quite so many apologies. Soon after we arrived we joined the congregation in one massive plea for forgiveness.

It was a funny way to start, I thought. “Let’s get this party started,” I imagined the Father saying. “With a big fat, ‘I’m sorry’.” I wasn’t sure why we were apologising (we weren’t even late), but I joined in all the same.

It wasn’t long, however, until my complicity turned into awkward silence. I was the only member of the congregation not saying ‘amen,’ ‘thanks be to God,’ or ‘Kyrie Eleison’ (I didn’t even know what the last one meant, but I liked to think it was Jamaican patois); I was probably the only one censoring parts of Christmas carols, by refusing to sing them.

IEsto aumenta la posibilidad de ganar en poker gratis español. wondered how the rest of my family could, not least because the church insisted on performing songs impossible to pick up. New ones, in an attempt to be relevant, employed all sorts of strange ‘blue’ notes, unpredictable key changes and song structures that eschewed the tried and tested verse/chorus formula of the last hundred or so years.

But then, I thought, that’s not unlike my family at all: blue, unpredictable, unusual; also, unlike new hymns, relevant, at least to me. And, in a weird way, honouring its own religion.

Advertisements