• Cauvery Madhavan

I’m a contented atheist. My conscience is my only god.

I floated in and out of Catholic and Hindu beliefs until one day I stopped.

A quick Hail Mary at home if I was about to get a tongue-lashing from my mother or a silent prayer to Ganesha before a maths test in school – it was a no-brainer. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri.

I was born in India into a reasonably devout Hindu family and therefore, very unsurprisingly for then, received a traditional Catholic schooling.

Educated by nuns, Irish in the main, I was one of many millions of children who were part of that strange trade-off between middle-class Indians of various faiths and the Catholic Church.

To be “convent-educated” meant you had received more than just a schooling – you learned to be an adaptable creature, capable of absorbing disparate, sometimes conflicting, ideologies, compartmentalising or marrying them as needed between school and home.... Read More