I was born in a middle class, educated, moderately traditional family where family and social values were very strong. On the religious front, I remember my maternal grand-dad praying to Ram every morning for a couple of hours, tears flowing his cheeks. Mom would say her prayers and that was it. Dad did regular pooja every morning. My neighbours were strict Brahmo Samajists - only prayers, no idol or fire worship. I went to a convent school. Given this background, I grew up with a firm belief in the existence of a God and was a pious little thing :-D ..... but I suspect it was more out of fear of a wrathful God and fear of my soul having black spots on it (as I was assured in school, I would, if I sinned). Entering the teens, questions slowly popped up in my little head and I started doubting. I asked questions. My mom was at the receiving end of the toughest ones. But she was no easy knock over. One day I asked her for proof. "Look at the beauty of Nature around you, look at the flowers, fruits, animals, birds, insects. Do you think any human could create such perfection?" she asked. That was it. Q.E.D. There was some power out there which we could not dream of matching. I was not forced to follow any traditional rituals. Like all teenagers, my life ran into rough water ..... the source of trouble was academics ..... and one summer when Swami Chinmayananda was doing a Gita Gyan Yagna (talks on a chapter from the Gita), dad took me along. He was a regular attendee. I was totally taken in by the sheer logic and that was the start of my interest in the 'Gyana' aspect of Hinduism. Like long winded serials, take a leap a few decades down the line. I have had my personal relationship with God (a neutral entity, genderless, formless). If I must choose an "Ishta Devta", I'd say Krishna and Ganesha, for their mischievousness, practicality and cuteness. But that is where it begins and ends. My relationship is mainly a matter of day to day personal conversations and pow wows with, apologies, thanks etc. to that formless entity. All credit to Him/Her for all that goes right and all brick bats too for all that doesn't. Today my true Godess is Nature, Mother Nature and I can't but look up heavenwards with thanks for all the beauty, greenery, birds and other critters around me. All I can do is pray to that Mother to forgive the arrogance and stupidity of many of our species and my human limitations in ensuring that I do minimal damage to her. She knows I do my best.