Monday, April 10, 2006

A token visit to the local temple (a.k.a.) The silly joys of irreverence

These are some notes that I had written originally on February 27th of this year, after a pleasant visit to my hometown, and intended to publish it. Not very unreasonably, I never finished it. Now, I am publishing it here, after some bare editing to make it palatable to the reader, in lieu of the general principle that this blog should be the only place where all my written pieces of you-know-what should remain.

Feb 27th, 2006

I went home this weekend that just went past over us. Among the eventful things that happened were the meetings I had with lot of long-lost reduced-to-hi friends. The one who studied till 5th standard with me and then diverged his path from the rut and went on to do more manly things, one who quit the school past his 10th standard and joined a polytechnic course, and so on. It was nostalgic, to say the least.

Not visiting the temple in the past dozen visits back home meant one thing; that I’d have to visit it this time. Also, it happened to be Sivarathiri. Exhibiting absolute pretence, my amma asked me to come to the temple because it was Sivarathiri. The actual reason wasn’t that. It was that my last visit to the temple is already past the expiry date and will no more be valid; even if not with God Himself, at least with amma. So, we walked over to the Ayyappan temple (the Ayyappan temple had a Shiva deity as well) nearby the sea shore.

I, sometimes [1], wonder how irreverence comes to me very naturally. For e.g., the first thing that struck my mind when I heard that my Computer Networks professor was *actually* a professor (with a Ph. D and all) is that how dumb the one who gave it to him should have been. The possibility that the dear pitch bald (this is expressed with utmost empathy as there are flourishing signs of the same showing up with yours truly as well) professor was capable of doing something that is confounding to the rest of us never struck me. As a matter of fact, during my final year project work, I myself have confounded him with such unpalatable balderdash (conceptualized during an ‘insightful’ grape juice session) passing it off as new ideas (since he really insisted upon new ideas and publishing them on journals and such stuff) and made him listen to it for some good amount of time.

This time around in the temple Lord Shiva was having his day; or night as a matter of fact. There were a host of aunties and housewives each of them equipped with an unbound book white-covered thin book full of slokas in Tamil/Sanskrit, most of them written in Tamil though. My appa was on the mike reciting Rudhram and Chamakam, the couplet in the Vedas/Upanishads on Lord Shiva. There was one more person, much younger, accompanying my father who just couldn’t recite it as loud as my father did. (Angry with himself and this world, he came out and repeatedly checked if the mike was working right and tried really hard to bring its volume down so that his voice could also be heard.)

Greeting everybody you know on your way with a token “Hi! How are you doing?” is perhaps the most difficult task in this world. Worse it is, when you are from a nutshell of a place where everybody knows everybody else. So, as you smile and try evading one aunty, you would have already missed another one. That’s good, you may think. But, as you round about the temple [2], she will catch you again and you’ll have to explain the possibility of you actually missing such a huge figure. And you rue to yourself, what Subhash Nagare says in Sarkar, “Kitni baar samjhaya hai tumhe Zero! paas ke phaide dekhne se pehle, door ke nuksaan ke baar mein sochna chahiye.

So, it’s better to catch as many of them while they were reciting the slokas so that they pardon you with a portending smile and miss those slokas (which somehow gives you a great pleasure). My sister who was pretending as though she was really interested in the proceedings was only managing to doze away. I had already started thinking about the post that I am making right now and more specifically this line that I am typing now.

[1] - which means that, I really don’t wonder, but claim that I do, so that I could pass something off as a new post.
[2] - this, perhaps, could be the reason why this tradition of going around the deities must have originated; so that one can meet people and talk to each other on the way and spend some quality time.


  1. If you want a seriosly good laugh watch these hillariously funny videos Laughter

  2. Well,talking of temples and irreverence - my mom declared recently that she'll never take me to a temple again - and quite innocently,i asked her why - she summed it up in a line "Temple is not an exhibition"!

    PS: I'm back dude. Beware of comment bugs ;-)

  3. Well, talking of temples...let me talk of mom was asked a personal favour from the priest in our church - never to bring me into the hallowed chambers again (he couldn't stand my facial expressions)