Okay, here something that happened a few years back. It may sound like memoirs of suraj, so please bear with me. I’m going to tell you guys about my experience as an altar boy. For those of you that don’t know what an alter boy means, well they are basically like stage hands for priests (Christian of course) during a holy Mass, every sunday. We kind of say prayers, and do stuff ( I honestly have no idea about it!) . I was about 10-12 years young and my family and i used to go to our local Malayalam church in Tamil Nadu. I did my Sunday school there (only because my parents forced me to attend it) the nuns there made me an alter boy, not because I was extraordinarily pious or any thing! They needed four boys about my age to make their requirement. And with only three boys regularly attending, I was kind of a lack of choice rather than a unanimous addition!
I am not beating around the bush, I was a terrible alter boy. Well I slept at the side of the altar even with, 50 odd people looking there the whole time! Most of them wouldn’t have noticed ( busy with their own slumber, appearing to meditate… but hey, god knows the truth right?). But the nuns and my sis-eager not to leave out even the most miniscule of my mistakes wait with a crocodiles patience for me to fall asleep. After the sermon I get a routine 15 minute admonishment of nuns, and a further lifetime of repartee from my sister and “friends”.
Being a Malayalee born outside kerala, it would be safe to say my knowledge of the Malayalam prayers was less than microscopic. And to make the worse, further worse my pronunciations sounded funny even to me! So the prayers were left to be said by another guy. And there are other small chores that I was remotely aware of, so it was left to the guy standing next to me. Which leaves me standing there doing nothing, the whole time but stand, sit or kneel at the appropriate times.
Even this simple exercise of standing and sitting seemed too complicated to my poor sleepy mind back then. More than once have I sat for the sermon and slept, so when every one in the church is standing up after the sermon I would be sitting there in my catnap, in front of every one. After 5 minutes of this humiliation my fellow alter boy finally finds it apt to wake me up. There was one incident where I slept during a midnight mass before Easter. Only the funny part this time was,I was standing up when I fell asleep all of sudden and fell on the alter table. The priest asked me after the mass (he was not angry, actually I think he was amused) “you could stay awake for one hour before Easter?” (this is where it gets hard to explain to the non Christians, the bible reading that day was, where Jesus Christ took his apostles to the top of a mountain on the night before the day he was executed. The apostles slept while Jesus Christ went to pray to accept all the mankind’s sins) so I said to the priest, “father, even the apostles fell asleep and you make a big deal when I slept?” of course I was tired and not in my senses when I said it. But the priest laughed for a full 5 minutes after I said that. He would narrate that to anyone standing with him when ever he saw me ( for the next 2 years I was there!)
I have never been an alter boy since then, and I don’t intend to being one in the near future. Two years of my reminiscence as an alter boy has made me panic-stricken on my idea of an alter boy.