After coming back from the River, the young boy with curly hair carefully kept the tin made weapons in his hiding place. It was end of 4 days of Durga puja, one of the biggest religious festivals of Bengalis. The group of kids has just come back after immersing the idol in river Ganges. He knew its time to touch the feet of elders and seek blessing. Grandma said these blessings of elders help you to grow into a good man. He quickly found his way to the eldest he knew, his grandpa and touched both his feet and waited for the blessing, expecting his hand on his head. Instead grandpa held him in a tight embrace. He got surprised; he knew it was his love that showed in his hug, but he was expecting his blessing. He asked him, why didn’t you bless me? Grandpa smiled and said, “Look at everyone else; during Vijaya, we hug each other instead of blessing.”
Confused, he ran to his granny. Why hug instead of bless? What granny told him, he remembered throughout his life. When we seek blessing, we bend and accept that I am lesser than the person who is blessing. Blessing flows like a river, from higher to lower. But when we hug – that an emotion of equals. And when it’s equal – its balanced; it’s a mixture of all. It seeks blessing as well as blesses. Because, unlike blessing, love flows in all direction. And love is the biggest blessing of all. That’s what we show with a hug. And since Vijaya is a celebration of victory of good over evil, we celebrate it with love. That’s why mother hugs a child. That’s why friends hug each other. That’s why Krishna hugged Arjun before the war of Mahabharata. A hug is universal.
Years later, his Muslim friends joined him during another Durga puja while keeping Roja, as it was also their holy month of Ramadan. He joined them back by keeping Roja with them. He joined them at their home during Eid. And he was again amazed to see them hugging. One of the elders at his friend’s house, also a respected muazzin at a nearby mosque, explained – Islam teaches us to include everyone. No one is big or small in Islam. That’s what we show through this hugging. On this day we welcome even the strangers at our home and share our joy. By hugging we try to bring close all who felt shy or excluded in the society. The words once again reminded him what his granny told years back- hugging is so much important.
Sitting idle in a drizzly afternoon on a park bench, he was looking at a pair of cows, nuzzling each other. It reminded him of so many scenes of wild life and animals. They all do that – that’s their way of hugging. Its so important to have that physical touch to feel close and included. Yet the modern society has slowly moving away from it. Some blame definitely fall onto those “bad apples” who misuses the opportunity of hug for their ulterior motives. Tarnishing the image of something so blissfully pure. On any given day, the warmth of the good hug can melt away all the blues that shrouds us. Yeah – yeah! Sanjay Dutt immortalized the “Hug” through his “Jadoo ki jhappy” (magical hug) in his movie “Munnabhai MBBS”. But that just one side of it. There are so many instances where even the heads of states has broken the protocol of an official hand-shake by going ahead and exchange hugs. There are so many instances where people has just stood at the road corner and offered hugs to strangers. Go through the religious text of any Religion, and you will find innumerable examples of prophets hugging their disciples because all they wanted to communicate was unconditional love. Even Rabindranath Tagore, started the festival of “Rakhi” where Hindus and Muslims came together, tied Rakhi on the hands of each other and “hugged” to spread the message of brotherhood and love.
Yet, we forget all of that and just because of ulterior motives of a handful, look down on something as pure as a hug. Doesn’t it also push all of us away from the divinity too? A simple hug can make one forget so many wrongs. A simple warm hug can bring together friends alienated by misunderstandings. A tight hug can bring back a person standing at a ledge about to decide on a suicide bid. The warmth of a hug can save a person in hypothermia. When you hug someone, you get hugged back for free! Given the opportunity – I will stand on the busiest of crossing, everyday to hug every stranger, just to tell them that the hope is not lost. Hugs are important !