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Chapter 26
A few days after the meeting on the esplanade, I took mycourage into my hands and went to see Father at his office.
"Father?""Yes, Piscine.""I would like to be baptized and I would like a prayer rug."My words intruded slowly. He looked up from his papersafter some seconds.
"A what? What?""I would like to pray outside without getting my pants dirty.
And I'm attending a Christian school without having receivedthe proper baptism of Christ.""Why do you want to pray outside? In fact, why do youwant to pray at all?""Because I love God.""Aha." He seemed taken aback by my answer, nearlyembarrassed by it. There was a pause. I thought he was goingto offer me ice cream again. "Well, Petit Seminaire is Christianonly in name. There are many Hindu boys there who aren'tChristians. You'll get just as good an education without beingbaptized. Praying to Allah won't make any difference, either.""But I want to pray to Allah. I want to be a Christian.""You can't be both. You must be either one or the other.""Why can't I be both?""They're separate religions! They have nothing in common.""That's not what they say! They both claim Abraham astheirs. Muslims say the God of the Hebrews and Christians isthe same as the God of the Muslims. They recognize David,Moses and Jesus as prophets.""What does this have to do with us, Piscine? We're Indians!""There have been Christians and Muslims in India forcenturies! Some people say Jesus is buried in Kashmir."He said nothing, only looked at me, his brow furrowed.
Suddenly business called.
"Talk to Mother about it."She was reading.
"Mother?""Yes, darling.""I would like to be baptized and I would like a prayer rug.""Talk to Father about it.""I did. He told me to talk to you about it.""Did he?" She laid her boo............
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