Am I Acceptable?

Ankita Pokharel

“I fast twice a week!” she boasted.

“Wow, you’re really health-conscious!” I replied.

“Health? Oh no! I’m actually devout. My astrologer suggested I worship certain gods to please them according to my birth chart.”

Intrigued, I reflected on my own past as a believer, recalling pilgrimages and temple visits aimed at finding peace and success, yet never feeling fulfilled. I wondered if choosing a specific god might have made a difference.

“Doesn’t it work if you’re just naturally devoted to a god?” I asked.

She scoffed, “People follow their astrologers’ recommendations to ensure success.”

“But…” I began, only to be cut off.

“People seek astrological guidance to connect with the right gods for their desires,” she retorted.

“So, they need a middleman to get things done?” I questioned.

Her defensive tone emerged, “Just because you’ve strayed doesn’t mean you should question existence!”

Sensing tension, I chose not to respond further, opting for a diplomatic, “Yes, darling! I’ve always believed in the creator.”

The conversation eventually shifted to reminiscing about our carefree childhoods, untethered by worries about identity or future aspirations. However, I found myself troubled by our earlier discussion, reflecting on the moment when I lost faith in God without a clear cause.

Comparing my past as a vague devotee to my current belief in personal responsibility for life’s circumstances, I pondered when this shift occurred. Once inclined to win debates with logic, I now prefer silence, secure in my intentions.

I’ve evolved from a believer seeking justification to someone content with the present moment, avoiding past regrets. Though I no longer believe in gods, I respect believers’ convictions, finding peace in my stance.

Judged for not fasting, temple visits, or declaring devotion, I’m also criticized for preferring solitude. Yet, a sense of tranquility envelops me. Unsure if I’m accepted, I’m certain it’s preferable to be atheist than feign devotion for material gain through intermediaries.