Conversation on Conversions

“So much noise on conversions” I told Lulu, my parrot, ‘There are conversions at every stage of life. What non-sense these MPs are talking!”
“Leave them alone,” Lulu said as he nibbled at guava, “Members of Parliament need conversion first.”
“That’s a big bazooka, Lulu. Why so? Why do they need conversion? Many of them follow their religion and others follow their mind. They are well read. Some have criminal record, but conversion for them? I mean, that’s too much!”
“They must be converted to think differently first, that’s what I mean.”
“Ha, ha! I see your point. The debates in the parliament are not worth reading. But talking of conversions, I have a theory on where the fear starts. It is deep rooted in my psyche!”
“Really? What are you referring to?”
“The fear as you know begins with childhood experiences. The way they teach you conversions in school and put questions in examination….”
“You are referring to conversion tables? Centimeters to Inches, pounds to kilos, miles to kilometers? Ha ha! I understand you. The young generation has no such fears, they use calculators! Conversions have a different meaning for the MPs, read newspapers, man!”
“My first conversion which I remember was very early in my life. I learnt some classical music and became a critic. Then I realised that it was important to appreciate music rather than being so evaluative. My conversion was from being evaluative to being appreciative.”
“That is a very big conversion. From being evaluative to being appreciative. People with average IQ achieve it faster than those blessed with higher IQ. But that is not what those MPs are talking about.”
“I also got converted from being Osho-hater to a great fan of Osho’s teachings. I mean I am referring to his teachings as they come in his books.”
“He was a great man indeed. He said “Conversion means a radical change in your being.” Life’s experiences take you there. Is that what you are referring to?”
“Yes, yes! I can tell you that all men face serious conversion issues soon after marriage.”
“Now, what’s that?”
“Your wife converts you from non-vegetarian to vegetarian and from occasional drinker to teetotaller. That’s immediate.”
“And what’s later?”
“She converts you from being Mama’s boy to her devoted husband!”
“Ha, ha! Good one!! Conversions are there at every step in life, I see your point. But that is not the conversion MPs are talking about.”
“Are they talking about conversion of religion? You have all combinations among Hindus, Muslims and Christians.”
“Yes. That’s what they are discussing – ‘howling’ is a better description.”
“Don’t they realise that conversion must mean change of mind-set. Not the tag we wear. Isn’t being ethical more important than being religious?”
“You got it. Supreme Court Justice Mr O. Chinnappa Reddy said, “I believe that by getting mixed up with religion, ethics has lost much of its point, much of its purpose and a major portion of its spontaneity.”
“Why can’t people understand it? Changing mask is not the solution to their problems and changing mask does not change anything.”
“Because they do not understand that conversations are more important for changing consciousness and those are the most meaningful conversions. Conversion to another religion is pointless. There are no meaningful conversations in your society!” Lulu said as he danced on my head and then flew away.
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”