Monalisa Dash Dwibedy

Recently I bought a new house in front of a church; initially I was proud of my choice. However, soon it shook the core of my religious beliefs leading me to think negatively. I am sure my experience and lessons will resonate with many who are gullible like me.

I am an atheist and theist. I try my best not to abide by religious beliefs. Religion has divided humanity and God is definitely not happy about it. When the believer within me is dominant, I always speculate what God would do in a particular life situation.

A few months back, when I purchased a new home with a Church directly across the street, both atheist and theist within me felt very proud. First of all, I am a born Hindu and I did not hesitate to buy a home in front of a church. Secondly, If I tried to buy an affordable house at any other place of the highly desirable lake town, I would have got one facing another house across the street. But the view of the church and its wide green landscaped lawn was soul-soothing .

I did my housewarming ceremony as per the Hindu tradition. I strongly believe in negative energies and hence to ward off the negativity (if any), I invited an Indian priest to do the housewarming. Though it was a little difficult to find a Hindu Priest nearby, I was lucky to get help from a fellow Indian.

In my religion, there is a belief that a home in front of a temple does not bring peace and prosperity. As a few days passed by, something happened to me. It came as an illness, the belief downloaded and installed itself cunningly little by little ; It felt a little awkward and more awful at times, but that was all .Once it established itself within me, it did not move any further ; it lay low and I was able to convince myself that there is nothing wrong with me.

One day it started blossoming; when I started to inquire about the VASTU impact of living in front of a church. As I searched in google, there seemed to be both positive and negative impacts.  The positive energy can flow due to the gatherings and prayers while the negative impacts can be due to funeral services that are provided by the church.

I made a point in my to do list to check if the church is providing funeral services at all .I also thought to check with my neighbour if she knows anything about it , but I was not yet sure how to ask her in a way that she does not think less of me .

Every time I walked to my balcony, I saw the cross sign of the church, which reminded me of the textbook picture of Jesus with blood oozing out of his body. As traumatic as the feeling can be, I admit that I am subject to these kinds of scary thoughts. Some days, I also imagined Jesus looking at me from the entrance of the Church and smiling for my bravery of respecting all religions equally and blessing me for not being superstitious for his home being up the street from my home.

It was almost a month of living in the new house and every day I was watching the sunrise with wonder. As the house faces east, both the sun and moon were rising and shining bright though my master bedroom windows. Few times I woke up at night just to fill my eyes and heart with silvery moon beams. I truly loved the house but still the thought of living in front of a church was not filling me with happiness. So far there were no services held but the church’s website said they provide funeral services.

The believer and non-believer within me fought against each other almost every day and to my surprise, most of the time my superstition won. I was certain a change had happened in the last few weeks, but where? It was an abstract change which was very unsettling. Is it me who has changed? Or it’s this town or this house or something else; I wanted to know the change agent with certainty but could not. I did not even think of “what the God would do “in this situation. It seemed like God almost escaped through the back door.

I was still in a whirlwind of dilemma, when one day I decided to rent my house. I posted an advertisement with its location being in front of a church. Many people wanted to rent the house. Tenants’ interest in my house was filling me with hope every day. The people who visited my house liked the location of the house as much as everything else. About the church, the most frequently asked question was “how rush is the church on a Sunday? “

As I showed my house to more and more prospective tenants each day, I was slowly getting out my orthodox thoughts. The hogwash-war within me was surrendering to peace. I was getting a big lesson on what some religious beliefs can do to a person. At times, it can eat your mind and snatch your soul away. When you rely more on your dark side, it will start to rule you .

Before the truth hides itself, let me tell you that last month I rented my house and my tenant is very happy.

(The author is an IT Consultant living in Toronto. Views are personal)