To say it has been a ghastly set of weeks is putting it mildly. Bombs, gunmen, bloodshed, earthquake, it’s been mayhem all around and it’s been depressing as hell. The world turned into the black hole of fun. So much so that when two ladies and a child knocked on my door on Sunday morning and preached to me about Jehovah’s Witnesses and the righteous inheriting the earth, I saw no humour in the situation. Instead I ended up having a full-blown 20 minute argument an harmless-looking granny about religious fundamentalism. (Now my entire building knows how I feel about Anders Behring Brevik and Islam-bashing. Not that this is a bad thing.)

Yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses has landed in India and they’re going door to door in Bandra. With a child. Not just a child, but an adorable little girl with two curly ponytails and big, bright eyes, who says, “Please Miss, would you give three minutes of your time?” It’s that cunning ploy of using a cute face to make you do the darndest things, like listen to two women tell you that God is going to smite the unrighteous and you, with your un-Jehovah’s Witnesses ways, are in danger of being smote. One of the women looked like the kid’s mother and was dressed in a pretty, no-nonsense salwar kameez. Adding to the aura of integrity was an older lady wearing the kind of cylindrical skirt and box-shaped blouse that Bandra grannies love. At the end of the 20 minutes, there was smoke shooting out of my ears, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Granny looked like she was having a heart attack and I had one pamphlet and two magazines that sought to educate me on the righteous way to respond to terrorism and cancer. The little girl has probably been scarred for life.

That's Jesus rejecting Satan's tempting offer of controlling government buildings and the Great Wall of China.

After the women and the little girl left, I sat down and read the pamphlet. It exhorted me to stay away from “crystal ball gazing, use of Ouija boards, ESP, examining lines of one’s hands (palmistry) and astrology”, and informed me that “wicked spirits capitalize on the sinful bent of humans by promoting literature, movies, and television programs”. The pamphlet also contains stunning bits of deductive logic such as this:

Satan tempted Jesus by offering him “all the kingdoms of the world”. Yet, would Satan’s offer have been a real temptation if Satan was not actually the ruler of these kingdoms? No, it would not. And note, Jesus did not deny that all these worldly governments were Satan’s, which he would have done if Satan did not have power over them. So, then, Satan the Devil really is the unseen ruler of the world!

So, as I said to Granny, it isn’t Brevik who is satanic but the Norwegian prime minister, who responded to Brevik with the statement “You will not destroy democracy”, is Satan’s ambassador? Granny said Brevik had probably been “seduced by Muslims. There are many Muslims all over the world, even in Norway.”

At the end of 20 minutes, Granny promised she’s going to come back another day. Bring it on. Grr.

12 thoughts on “Witness Stand

  1. One strategy to keep b.p. low, before slowly shutting the door on them, look blankly and say there is no one home. 😐

  2. Mum used to set my brother and me on them. We’d ask if they’d ever considered letting (for example, as we’d extemporise) Odin into THEIR lives. Or ask their stance on the best way to construct voodoo dolls…

    they gave up after a very short time; I think there were marks on our gatepost…..

  3. > One strategy to keep b.p. low, before slowly shutting the door on them, look blankly and say there is no one home.

    Bessie, this is a brilliant strategy. Reminds me of a few years ago when I was getting phone calls at all hours of the day and night with the caller screaming at me in Chinese (?). No matter how politely I explained I didn’t understand, the screaming continued unabated until I hung up. Then I hit upon an idea — I started speaking gibberish back. Lo and behold in halting English the person responded while I continued with my gibberish Chinese. Strangely, I felt like I was crank-calling and eventually the person stopped calling.

      • I’m not familiar with Haruki Murakami’s work, but I will try reading one since I’m a Kafka fan. Is there a starting one you would recommend? Japanese writers have a thing for sparse language mingled with irony.

      • Maybe you can try the short stories in The Elephant Vanishes. Some of them are outstanding and the book is a neat intro to Murakami’s style.

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