He closes his eyes and repeats the words to a prayer his mother taught him. He knows exactly three and a half minutes of it, because that’s the time it used to take from getting into the car to reaching his school gate every morning.
He then picks up some vibhuti (sacred ash) and applies it on his forehead, pops some into his mouth, a dash on his neck, and lifts out his perfectly tucked in shirt, to dab some just above his belly button. It has to be always be in this exact order, order brings comfort of not having to think, and not thinking is a sip of chai in a chaotic world.
He wonders if his father put the vibhuti for him because his father did it, and his father’s father before that. Did his drooling Neanderthals ancestors have an inkling to slap some on their tummy before heading out of their caves for a round of mammoth hunting.
Religion is a cold, hard, unforgiving wall, habits are a warm hug you give yourself.