Let me at the outset reveal that such a thought has never crossed my mind. I have neither the temerity to nurture such misadventurous ideas nor the creativity and imagination to pull off an impossible mission. On most days, I’m at peace with the Creator. There is enough of the mundane to deal with and everyday stuff to occupy my mind for me to venture into a duel with the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. I learned early to leave such entities alone to do their jobs and to approach them with utter humility and devotion, when I required their services, which was, I must confess, more often than I would have liked it to happen. My grandmother ensured that I said my prayers, thanked the gods, and remembered that I was being watched, if not to be judged, to be nurtured. Her devotion and their beneficence saw her live up to a ripe 98 years. God, she had told me, was invincible. I never doubted her.
Today, I learned something new. Not in a classroom and not in the most divine of places. I can offer no explanation for this but I can assure you that I wouldn’t initiate a long dialogue on the mysteries of the Universe in a space where some of us read our morning papers, some of us hide from the world, and most others just do their business and walk out. But, a four-year-old sitting on a commode can metamorphose into a philosopher, thinker, evangelist or astronaut in a jiffy. And, as her grandmother, I can only listen indulgently, marvelling at the wisdom spewing out of her tiny mouth, her innocence and daring, her flights of fancy. Pardon me for venturing into the scatalogical, or close, as a description of the layout of the area in which the engaging conversation took place is vital to the revelation that followed. Our, er… toilet has an attached area, separated by a glass door, which I keep open to create the illusion of space. The area has a large window which is covered by a curtain, which guards our privacy.
Today, a strong breeze was blowing, raising the curtain to a height that brought in coolness on its wings. Ira watched as the white curtain swung up and down, helpless against the gust.
“Why is the curtain moving?” she asked. “The breeze is making it move.” I answered.
“Can’t we stop the breeze?”
“Because God blows it,” I said, off the cuff. It was the first thing that came to my mind.
“Can we stop God?” she asked.
That was a salvo directed at my solar plexus, no less. Unexpected, powerful and loaded, I reeled under its impact. “Can we stop God?” In the years that I have lived on this planet, I have ruminated upon the existential with little or no success. “Who am I?” I had asked myself once and some of the astounding answers I came up with had boggled my mind. Now, I was faced with a question that went way beyond, to the cosmological, the philosophical. I’m neither a scientist nor a sage. I’m a coward when dealing with the unknown, the nebulous or the intangible. When it comes to what I perceive as insurmountable, I tend to surrender rather than engage in a losing battle. Tamely, I told Ira, “No, we cannot stop God.”
I should have known better.
“Why?” she asked. “Because we can’t stop God,” I said meekly.
She had finished her job now. Looking at me with amusement, she said, “Wash me and then I will show you how to stop God.”
This I had to see. Washed, dried and clothed, she sprang up from the seat and scampered to the window. Like a little warrior, she looked at the rising curtain for a fraction of a second. The breeze was in her hair now. She reeled back a little, then raising her tiny hand, she pressed the curtain against the wall. It fluttered a bit but did not rise again. Triumphant, she looked at me and said, “See, I have stopped God.”
At the moment, God is sitting outside my window. Stopped in his/her tracks by a four-year-old, who has no idea who S/He is. The breeze will blow again. The curtain will be raised. Unnoticed, gods will enter and exit. Whoever they are. For now, four-year-old Ira has managed to halt their march with a sleight of her tiny hand.