“Nazar…”……"as in Nazareth the name of the place in Israel”
I looked at him. Nazar…it sounded beautiful. It brought the image of mud houses, sprawling across the brown ground, covering vast expanse of desert; of little boys running through the alleys of the houses with kites in their hand. Seems Kite Runner is still running in my head. Or maybe my over imaginative mind is taking its toll. It was strange meeting him in this place of all the place.
“It’s a beautiful name. Does it have any meaning?” I asked. I had plenty of time and didn’t know what to do. And he was there where I had come out for breath of fresh air and rethink what was my next plan. He looked around fortyish and was smoking alone. I looked around taking in my surrounding. There was a big pot of mixed flowers, and only me and him seems to be the only person right now. It looked like I have just selected the smoking area to come out for fresh air.
“No..no..no meaning. Just like the name of the place. Nazareth.” He looked at me “What about you? What is your name?”
“Kinley..means loved by all” a laugh “or beloved.” I smiled again. It seems strange thing to tell someone the meaning of my name like it was unique and special when the name was very much common as it can be.
“So..” he continued, “ What is your religion?”
Funny, it always comes down to religion when knowing each other or making small talk. There was no need to talk about weather. It was cloudy and showed the sign of coming storm. Summer. No need to talk about coming storm.
“I am Buddhist.” should I tell him that more specially I am a vajrayan buddhist?
“But you know, Buddhism is not a religion per se but philosophy” I went on. I always say that when ever I talk about Buddhism. Somehow I don’t know who I was trying to convince- me or the person I am conversing.
“Yea..yea…” he didn’t look convinced but seems more like humoring me. Even I wondered what I was trying to say when I say its philosophy. philosophy of what? a doctrine of what? of whom?
“What about you?” I asked in return. He looked like a Jew and wasn’t people from Israel jew?
“My religion is Baptist and no its not Christian” he said at the same time. He must have seen the look on my face that asked why he said that. “Many people think it’s the same. Christianity and Baptist. So I say it before anyone ask.” I laughed.
“Really? this is the first time I am hearing about it.” I have read all sorts of books but I never connected Baptist being a different religion. or maybe I ignored it and would have remained ignorant if not for Nazar as in Nazareth.
“So who started it” I asked curiously.
“John the Baptist.”
“Ah!…I heard about him but never thought he started different branch of religion. I thought he was a disciple of Jesus or maybe one of the saint.”
“How do you practice it?” if it was different from Christianity the practice will be different I suppose.
“Oh, differently!,” was the proud reply. “there are not many people. around few thousands maybe. And we do not marry other religion or allow others to enter it.”
I was amused “So it must be pretty hard to find spouse in this tight religion and might have cousins marrying each other”
“Yea yea..not many people” but there was no further comment and that ended our conversation on religion as the lady I was waiting for came in. I told him I have to go and he wished me good luck. I wished him good luck and was sad to end our short conversation.