January 2021 \ Diaspora News \ CREATIVE WRITING
Writing about sacred food helped me figure out my faith: Shoba Narayan

Award-winning author and columnist Shoba Narayan is a graduate from the Columbia Journalism ...

By Vishnu Makhijani

“Around the time I began visiting temples to write about their sacred food (prasadam and its different connotations), I decided to figure out my faith. I wanted to figure out how I felt about the Hindu rituals and practices that I had dismissed as being patriarchal. I re-read the marvellous and imaginative Hindu myths that I had heard from my grandmother as a child. And I talked to many experts about my religion.

“Food seemed like an innocuous way to do this. Sacred food as a way of fusing a secular identity with spirituality in some form: that was my plan. What I didn’t know, what I didn’t anticipate, is that once you step into the realm of faith, your heart and emotions open in ways that you cannot predict or control. You’ll see when you read the book,” Narayan explained.

It’s a book largely - but not only - about Hinduism “written by a (sceptical) Hindu who seeks to answer larger questions about faith. Like the following: What is the role of religion in your life today? Do you pray? How do you pray? Do you commune with the divine through rituals? Is it through chanting verses in Aramaic, Arabic or Sanskrit?”