O Fatima

Having been raised a devout Catholic – my family prayed the rosary every Wednesday if that’s any indication – and despite my prevailing issues with religion, Fatima holds some meaning for me and the thought of finally seeing it in person was significant. After what seemed like a trip on a slow-moving Indian train, groggily we finally reached our destination, and it could be the anticipation accumulated over decades and the countless times of having seen the movie over the years, I, sad to say, found it a bit wanting. The weather was still not cooperating, and the entire place looked a bit in disarray, with construction being done in more than a few large areas. Not exactly conducive to introspection for a pilgrimage site – instant comparisons with Lourdes in France were quick in coming, though maybe unfairly. After checking out the points of interest and visiting the tombs of the visionaries, we capped our very short trip by lighting candles, only this time the solemn act was replaced by a literal bonfire – we were practically made to throw our candles into a roaring fiery blaze. I think this may be meant to represent what a hellish experience would be like, which worked because I could only barely keep my composure in front of the blazing cauldron. All in all it was great to finally pay Fatima a visit, if only to satisfy that part of me that still believes.

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