Edit Post: The Author respects the views and sentiments of every religion. He also has no problems with people who are deeply religious and spiritual( though he finds a tad difficult to relate to them) . Indifference and hatred are two diametrically opposite emotions. This is completely my views(obviously!) and I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings.
I'm a Hindu. At least that's what my second name says. But, if I strip my life to the bone and analyse what being Hindu means to me, what answer would I get? What has religion to do with whatever kind of a person I am? How does my religion affects my life? Let's see, as being a Hindu, I go to temples, I celebrate Diwali, Holi and ten thousand different festivals. The festivals are a nice break, you get to hang out with your friends, meet everyone in your family, general bonhomie and good spirit. Nice feeling. But, is that feeling 'religion centric'? No. The argument, according to me, is not to pass cynical remarks on any religion(mine, your or your neighbour's) in particular, but to objectively analyse what I've gained from it. I have not. Every religion is a parametric function. Going to temple/mosque/gurudwara/church, celebrating Diwali/Christmas/Id, fasting/feasting on some important days and dates.
Cricket, movies and Gods is our country's obsession(not in that order!). People are just obsessed about anything related to religion, painstakingly taking measures to do things according to 'vidhi', not eating, continuously chanting, feverishly praying, and even imposing substantiated by warning of blasphemy. 'Arre, aise mat karo paap chadega.' 'Kaisa ladka hai, pooja bhi nai karta.' Now, let's consider an example, say about a 'Sawan'. Some non- vegetarians who have no qualms about grinding their teeth into meat almost every day of year suddenly develop cold feet during that month. 'Paagal ho gaya hai kya? Saawan me chicken khayega?' Now, this, according to me is 'mother of double standards'. You either do a certain thing, or you don't. Eating and behaving in a particular way for a certain period of time makes sense in what way? What kind of belief is this? That it is a function of some days and then vanishes into thin air? But, people buy that and 'religiously' follow it. Do they think their God is foolish? The point is not about being a vegetarian or a non- vegetarian,( though vegetarian sounds cool on moral grounds) the point is about beliefs and even more than that, it is about showing respect.
People won't do certain things on tuesday or a thursday( or any day which is convenient for them). Why? They would like to dress up their defence by some very pure sounding 'belief'. Conceded. But, have people peeped inside and contemplated whether it really affects them? Yes? Because our ancestors have been doing it , that's why? Do they really own it? But, if these very 'belief' gives someone their peace of mind, then I'm off guard and don't really guarantee a say regarding that. But, even then it is one of the ways of attaining happiness that is in my opinion, bizarre. I would find it difficult to connect with mentaility of that sort. People have manipulated almost every thing according to their convenience to such a bastardised extent that there exists a very thin line between belief and superstition.
Going to temple and praying is also something which escapes me completely. Why do you need a special institution to show your faith? Why has faith been begun to be dictated by some strange laws? Open your shoes before entering a temple. Why? A sign of respect? How? Does the respect comes from our feet or our hearts? Practically speaking it might have to do with keeping a pious place clean, but, even then it is exaggerated to such a degree that it is stifling. And pointless. When you believe in something, you believe in it. True faith and belief never was, and never would be fickle.
So, what does that make me? Am I an atheist? I have really thought a lot about this question. And I know the answer now without a speck of doubt. No. I'm not an atheist. I do believe that there is something which transcends us, but, he doesn't have a name, doesn't tell me to do things in a particular fashion. For me, he is someone, who lets me be me. He is someone for whom I have immense love and respect. But, for that I don't need to go anywhere, chant anything, read anything, recite anything. He doesn't care whether I fast or feast. He is bindass, he is super cool. And I know he would be there for me, when I need him the most. He gives me solace, when I am cornered. I believe in him. I worship him.