Friday, June 01, 2007

Raghav goes to temple

It was hot and Raghav certainly wasn't enjoying it. He was sweating from head to toe and he could barely recognize his stink from his sticky stinky neighbours'. It was 11 am and Raghav was trying to rest himself in the temple. After a million "Why"s later Raghav had unwillingly packed his bags and had come to his village to visit his family deity with all 15 family members. He always had hated his aunts and uncles and traveling with them for 3 days certainly wasn't his best of dreams. But here he found himself sitting amongst them inside the temple which was a good 30 min climb, atop a hill some 18 hours from where he stayed at a nice cozy place in Mumbai.

The temple was a small room which could barely fit some 30 to 40 people at the most. Inside this temple hung a single 3-blade fan about 5 to 6 metres from the floor, which rotated at a real sloppy pace. It was as good as inexistent as it certainly wasn't sufficient to comfort - the 300 plus worshipers that stormed the place every second, a God, few dozen pundits and an irritated Raghav, who was pushed away by the guards as he'd stood before the Idol for more than the stipulated time of 2 seconds alloted to each devotee, and Raghav wasn't even one! Raghav was sitting in the middle of a small square meant for meditation. Raghav found it impossible to close his eyes as he kept his focus on the rat that seemed to enjoy itself amongst the crowd as anyone barely noticed its presence. What amused Raghav was that it was merely shooed away by a lady who had her eyes tightly closed in order to offer some serious prayers; who, hadn't she been in that state, would have had certainly cried for help on seeing the rodent! "Ah well! The God favors him", Raghav thought. Around Raghav sat some few hundred people offering their prayers and the pundits doing the needful by chanting away the prayers in a language best understood by them and probably the God. The rat quietly made its way out of the temple without causing any disturbance whatsoever. Raghav now tried to close his eyes and meditate. However the rice flakes kept hitting him and it really bothered Raghav. He nearly shouted, "Watch your aim!" but on realizing that he would have to do that at the risk of losing his place made him stay quiet. It was all bearable till the village Sarpanch decided to show up. Suddenly everyone had a change of taste! The devotees suddenly changed their God. More than half the temple suddenly touched the Sarpanch's feet as they shamelessly turned their back to the Almighty! Raghav's cousin turned to him and whispered, "Ah well, they feel, if not the labeled-God, at least the voted-God would grant their wishes ", Raghav chuckled. But his smile was soon to die away as now the entire "first family" of the village made its entry into the temple to offer their prayers. The villagers gave them enough space so that at least they could offer their prayers in peace. But this was done at the cost of the already present crowded devotees and Raghav, who had just about enough space to keep his toe from stepping in his neighbour's pooja! As a result bodies were pushed and Raghav was getting dragged behind.

Then it happened!

An elderly lady slipped off her sari fell head first on Raghav's shoulders. Her long, wet, sticky hair filled Rahgav's nose, who, while attempting to shoo it away, let the lady fall on him even more so that her arm slapped Raghav and Raghav's body, in order to save itself from falling, adjusted its right arm in such a way that it fell on the pooja of one of the neighbours' and extinguished the light or the aarti. The pundit not only stopped chanting the prayers but in the same sentence he swore at Raghav. The "fallen Raghav" now had the chance of looking at the staring eyes of the person on whom he'd fallen. Before the man could take resort to any form of physical violence (as Raghav feared then), Raghav quickly moved his left hand and pushed the lady off him. The result of his action led to displacement of three more poojas and Raghav was pushed out of the square. Now an enraged Raghav pushed himself out of the temple as all angry devotees took turns swearing at him.

Out of the temple and breathing life again, Raghav tried resting on the benches waiting for his family members to finish of their prayers. But peace was far from Raghav. The beggars came upto him and it took 20 minutes to explain them that he wasn't carrying any money. Irritated by the nonsense, Raghav went on to rest near the cliff, but the pile of garbage that lay astray bothered him even more. Dried coconuts, dried flowers, plastic and more plastic filled the surroundings. It was a garbage dump! Fuming he went back to the temple veranda where some pundits tried to coerce him into paying them some amount so they would offer prayers in his name. Irritated by the "God-on-sale" campaign throughout the area, he nearly screamed at his mother when she stepped out of the temple.

"I hate temples! These certainly are the filthiest places on earth or at least this one is! I try to offer prayers and I'm pushed away by the guards, I try to meditate and it's impossible to breathe, there are rodents all over the place, they try to sell God, there is garbage everywhere! It's the last place where God would choose to reside! If God does reside over here, I really pity Him as he has to witness all this muck that lays undisturbed around His so-called home! His loyal worshipers are blind, they go on to choose the Sarpanch before Him, why do they even care to call Him the God, instead they should just choose the Sarpanch as their God right? Mother, really where is God here?"

Mother quietly looked at Raghav and smiled. In a very quiet voice she said, "Yes Raghav, you were too busy to notice God".


Divya said...

Aha.. Well i might go against what you mean to say in this story but i don't see the point of going to temples... Why go to temples to worship? Does god live there or something? want to worship then do tht at home na.. or any place u want to... putting a statue of god doesnt mean that its a place ppl must throng to... ppl have their own beliefs n views of course... jus stating my own... hey suk u know of my divinity defined post na.. reiterates this.... and as such u kno i hate rituals...

Sneha said...

nice, nice. i liked the last line. it made up for all of raghav's negativity throughout the story :D

but what is with this name???

another brick in the wall said...

@ div: umm.. this post was never about God, religion, ritual.. i think i havent made myself clear.. i thot so too initially but now am sure.. i shall write a part 2 to this n then it mite make more sense to u :)

@ sneha: as i told div, i shall write a part 2 to this.. then it wud be clear i guess.. or am hoping so.. else i am really ashamed of myself that i cant even express my thots :S

abhu said...

true happens all the tym. there is this temple in hanuman temple in puri where i went some two years back. the condition of that place is a pitiable as that of the place u have described here. more than anything its the pundits that irritate me. imagine their gall!! they swear at u if u dont give them dakshina before offering prayers.

new age scheherazade said...

I don't believe in God, but that was very nice. especially the last line...did so NOT see that coming. but I rather sympathise with raghav. but then that's only my opinion.
nice comeback!

Virus© said...

Beautiful is the word I'd use for this post. :)

another brick in the wall said...

@ abhu: not bout God.. this post.. sorry

@ newagesch: me neither.. the post not on God n umm.. thank u :)

virus: *bows* thanks :)

Anonymous said...

hmmmmm...its very nice and yeah the last line is really nice!
@ divya: yeah one doesnt need temples per se, but you know then again there temples which just have the right knid of atmosphere, one which makes you feel that god is near you! one knows that god is there but temples help you to realise it, and it is sometimes easier to concentrate and be at peace whne you see people around you doing the same! then as i said the right kind of environmnet helps too, with the setting,and in a temple it is much easier to forget your problems and people, in fact the times that i have actually seen things in perspective is when in a temple , crowded thought it is rather than bein alone at home becaue you are also physically removed away from the problem in a sense. i do not know if i am making sense.
it is just very unfortunate that the word temple has been reduced to an image of statues, priests and rituals!

heh? ok said...

poor raghav. he's whiny like me, determined to be unhappy. needs his mother actually.

another brick in the wall said...

@ sim: thanks

@ heh?ok: yea u are whiny.. but dont think u r determined 2 be unhappy.. no way!