The Child

One day maa took me to the puja room and prayed…Then she told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get…So I tried…I prayed for maa to smile, but nothing happened…I prayed to be allowed to play like my brother did, but nothing happened…I prayed to be allowed to go to school like my brother did, but nothing happened…By and by I asked my mother why God wasn’t granting my wishes…She looked at me sadly and said I was a fool…She didn’t tell me why and I couldn’t make it out…

I sat down on my bed and thought about it…Why did maa ask me to pray for anything I wanted if she knew nothing would come out of it? Does God only grant wishes to boys? He must, because my brother had more than me…No, there’s nothing in praying…

I went and told my friend’s mother about it, and she said the things a person could get from praying were spiritual…She explained…I must help other people, do everything I could for other people, look out for them all the time, and never think about myself….I went and sat on my bed and thought about it for a long time…I said to myself there is nothing in praying…Why should I pray only for others? If others are praying for me, then why don’t I have the same things as my brother? What about me?

I went to the puja room and asked God one last question “Why?”

(Inspired by a passage in Chapter 3 of ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain)



24 thoughts on “The Child

  1. Did you get the answer?
    When you pray for others,you pray for the world ,of which you are an integral part.

    Me: That means, the world needs God’s help (if there is a God), which I know it does…Why can’t we be selfish and pray for ourselves? Prayers obviously don’t work because if they did, the world would be a better place…If we are praying for others, why are there girls like the girl in this story…Basically, I’m questioning the existence of God and religion…


  2. You know bones that is my most most most most most most favourite story… ! Infact The adventures of Tom Swayer is my most favourite book ! 😀 😀 😀 😀

    Even the mention of it makes me excites me… Its one book I can never praise enough.. !

    Tom Swayer is a fantasy life I wish I could live since I was in 5th grade when I first read the story… I have read it many times… Always aspired a life like him… it really appealed me in my teens… !!! I even tried to make a novel of my tales… on those lines… lol !!! 😆 never let anyone read it though… !

    I still in many ways inside am still like the brash Tom… and even I used to envy Huckleberry although he had nothing… well nothing but Freedom… ! 🙂

    Having said all that.. I m not sure I understood this post… 😐

    Me: You too? I love Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn…Absolutely fantastic books…It’s unfortunate that they are banned in American schools (apparently, the book is racist) – those American kids are missing out on something special…


    • Banned? I agree with you – those kids are missing out on something special!

      Me: Yeah, in a few school districts it is, and in many others where it is not, schools have decided not to keep it because of the liberal (250 times) use of the ‘n’ word…


      • Racist coz of the N word ?? !!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I never knew it was banned… i have read it like my first religion and I aint a racist… will that help remove that ban !!!!!!

        You really Gotta be kidding me… gee… !!!!!

        though it comforts me that ours isnt the only country that has time to go about announcing SILLY DAMS !!!


        • These Americans are crazy and find controversies where none exist (I don’t know how I would feel if I were a black American)…Huckleberry Finn has been controversial ever since it was written…It has been censored & banned for an array of perceived failing such as the use of the ‘n’ word liberally by both whites & blacks, negative traits assigned to black characters, atheism, low moral tone, anti-southernism & coarse manners (???)…Modern day problems started with the desegregation of American schools in 1954…Now black students had to study the book with white students in the same class and this created a lot of tension…

          I think the people who find the book racist don’t see the larger picture…They forget that when it was written, the ‘n’ word was used by everybody…America was npt politically correct…As for Southerners and religious bigots who find the book offensive, I have nothing to say…


  3. I know it’s a cliche, but when you pray for others, you pray for yourself too.

    Me: But, my prayers for others haven’t been heard…If they had, all the badness in the world would have stopped to exist…


  4. I liked reading this, don’t know if it is philosophical, but it touched a chord in my heart.

    Me: I was trying to philosophical, but it obviously bombed…The passage in Huck Finn inspired me to write it…I combined religion & gender discrimination but it obviously bombed…


  5. What brought this on? Read something new on gender discrimination?

    Me: Been reading a lot of posts on it lately…Tried being deep but it bombed…


  6. Difficult to understand for me too. When there is no logic to our rules, and when we have no answers, then we say there is a joy in giving up happiness. (Isn’t that a contradiction?)

    I would say, pray for yourself and then pray for everybody’s happiness, because it’s difficult to be truly happy when those around us aren’t happy… doesn’t look like those we are expected to pray for see it this way though.

    The world could change if the sadness in the mother’s eyes could be replaced by determination.

    Me: I agree with you…Why should we always be selfless? Fate is in people’s hands; if we leave it to God and prayers only, then nothing will change…


    • I didn’t mean I found the meaning of the post difficult to understand!! I understood it was about gender discrimination. My comment was in answer to “I went to the puja room and asked God one last question ”Why?””

      Me: I know that but I meant maybe I could have tried writing it better because some people can’t understand what I’m trying to convey…Tried something new…


  7. i guess the why is in exasperation and probably a sense of resignation….
    such prejudices continue to happen even today….some families are still stuck in the 19th century mindset..


  8. Bones, It did make sense. So many little girls must be feeling this way. The sadness that they are never to think of themselves, always asked to be selfless knowing that nobody else would think of them either.

    I think prayers work to the extent that it gives people hope. But in a situation like this – what hope does this little girl(and many others like her) have ?


  9. I will try to be atleast 50% on the topic:

    Mind is a mechanism of desiring. Mind is always seeking. The seeker is always in the present and the seeking is in the future, there is no meeting ever. “Seek not and find. Don’t seek and find.” — Lao Tzu

    All the three worlds exist in and through thinking, the Cosmos melts way on its dissolution. — Yoga Vashishtha.

    I suspect God ever answered anyone. My 2¢ 🙂


  10. I guess it boils down to how you were introduced to the concept of God, as a child.

    While, we listened goggle-eyed to our grandma’s god stories where there were all kinds of magic/miraculous things/wishes granted /punishments happening, I remember my mother trying to stress on us that unless you learnt your tables, and practiced sums, no God would help in any test, regardless of how desperately you prayed. No one advised us to pray for someone else, and there was no magic element in God. For yourself or anyone else. I used to have a sort of grudging respect for God. Today, after a lifetime of ups and downs, one may look upon God as a permanent assistant, who never discriminates, but mostly helps out those who help themselves.

    Very interesting post. Speaks a lot of how a child’s mind works. Had I been in your place, I would have had the same questions. (And today, I realize that my mother was really so much ahead of her time …)

    Me: Interestingly, my mother also always told me that unless we helped ourselves, nobody would help us…I’m not religious and can’t stand people who commit crimes against humanity in the name of God and religion…


  11. Prayers help bring some focus and direction (for me). Somehow I always pray to ppl who have influenced my life more than directly praying to God. Also, one’s inner conscience serves as ‘God’ in more ways than one. (especially when one is confused, torn b/w decisions etc). I hope I got the gist of your post & haven’t rambled tangentially;-)

    Me: “Also, one’s inner conscience serves as ‘God’ in more ways than one.” – Absolutely true…


  12. Praying for others is not easy 🙂 guess it forces one to be less selfish ….

    as for the question of the little girl.. I hope a day will come when our girls dont have to ask such question.. and I feel the day is not far..

    dont know why those lovely books had to be banned…. nd even in India we are learning to be politically correct 🙂


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