Anurag Kashyap’s play, When God Said Cheers, was staged in Delhi recently. Reading about it in the Metro supplement of today’s Hindu newspaper [14 Feb], I wondered why God couldn’t actually be a person with some sense of humour.
All the gods I know are dreadful bores. They are too grumpy, or jealous, or bloodthirsty. I’d love a God who would share a drink with me in the evening and engage me in a light-hearted conversation peppered with occasional bouts of laughter. I’m sure God will burst into laughter when we discuss his priests and their religions. I can imagine the tears that God will try to hide behind the whisky glass when we will discuss His believers killing other people in His name.
And God will tell me a parable:
In one of Hitler’s concentration camps, a group of Jews put Yahweh on trial. They charged him with cruelty and betrayal. There was nothing that could be offered as a defence for Yahweh. No extenuating circumstances. No benefit of doubt. Yahweh was guilty indeed. He deserved death as punishment. The Rabbi pronounced the verdict. Then he looked up and said, “The trial is over; it’s time for the evening prayers.”*
And God will laugh raising the whisky glass to his thin lips.
And I will join the laughter forgetting my environment. The Hegemon will come hearing the laughter, God’s and mine.
“Don’t you know that you’re living in a sacred place, a temple of the goddess of knowledge? How can you laugh...? Oh, I see, you’re not only laughing but drinking too. Such shameless immorality!” The Hegemon will pronounce the verdict. I’ll lose my job. So, dear God, I can’t share a drink with you yet much as I would love to hear you say ‘cheers’ with a twinkle in your eyes.
* This story is borrowed from Karen Armstrong’s book, A History of God.
Hegemon (from Greek root which means leader, guide, commander, chief): one who exercises hegemony