Apr 18, 2008

The Temple of Small Things.....

Everybody loves Pillaiyar...I love him too...for many reasons...He is not-so-good looking, he is huge, he does not admonish you even if you scathe him, he grants wishes, big and small, immediate and mediate, (He is the God of Wishes!!!)and he is ubiquitous..every other street in an Indian city (and every apartment) is bound to have atleast one small Ganesha temple or atleast a perch, where he is blissfully poised...


I frequent a neigboring "Pillayar kovil" everyday, its a small temple neatly architected, and beckons me with its mystic silence..After a hectic day's running around with bizarre intellections, I try to spend about ten minutes in this temple to oraganize the random thoughts... Maybe if this recollection is done in the presence of the Elephant God, He would erroneously assume that I am dreaming about Him and only Him, grant a few more wishes I put forth to Him....
Maybe not... He has a brain as big as His head to see through my chants....Well, am I the wishful thinker or is He??

Today is a typical day at work, I go to the temple ...I see the usual main players around....the lady who sells flowers and arugambul who looks at me earnestly for a ten-rupee-transaction, the young and vivacious junior gurukkals who patiently repeat the mundane routine of aarthi and theertham to every damn living thing that enters the temple...the senior gurukkal who has been self promoted to the more lucrative fortune-telling business, sitting with the panjangam of an erstwhile era, future-telling the always great futures of the faithful crowd waiting on him, And of course, the Lord Himself in a corner... I sense something by its absence today...and I look around, and there it comes....a brand new Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTS-i brought straight from the showroom to the temple, seeking the Lord's blessings...our Ganesha entertains atleast two vehicles a day..He is the Vehicle God...

I leave my footwear obediently outside the temple , enter it, exchange a greeting with the junior gurukkals, nod at the Lord and accept the aarthi deeparadhanai.I then go around the Lord's statue an odd no of times, chant the 'Vinayagar agaval' - the only decent slogam I know, and think about my wishes for the day and petition my lifetime wishes...all at once....well, I am good at multiprocessing....I then sit down after the namaskarams. I close my eyes, tune in to the Ganesha chants in the background....and let my sixth sense take over...I open my eyes to see enlightenment, I see a pair of skinny jeans and spaghetti-topped girls dutifully seeking Ganesha's blessings, their eyes are closed in reverance, others eyes are wide open...in well, a natural reflex...

The old couple enter the temple...They are a cute pair, must be in their 60-70s. They go for a regular evening walk and drop by the temple as a custom. They don't talk to each other, just an occasional nod, and an eye-signal when its time to leave...And then there is the younger pair, to whom the temple is a conveneient rendezvous for the daily meeting up and catching up...They are busy ranting and giggling, oblivious to the surroundings....Well, Ganesha does have a good history of pairing up lovers...He helped His younger brother Subramanya make his sweetheart Valli fall for him, and it wasn't a straightforward way.....He is the Indian Lover's God as well.
And then the school girls, who have their public exams shortly,praying their hearts out for 'better than the best' marks and more importantly, 'easier than expected' questions....Ganesha undoubtedly is the Student God as well!!

I wait for my hero...and he does turn up finally, toddling besides his grandmother and elder brother...I smile at him...he looks at me and keeps looking at me, and looking at me, he trips down. He gets up, looks away from me, and runs besides his grandmother who is now going around the Lord. Together they complete the odd no of revolutions, and as serendipity would have it, they sit beside me. The boy looks at me again, and his eyes meet mine, they remain transfixed for a while, I sense love, he senses some unknown fear, and he inches towards his grandmother letting out a whine. His grandmother draws him close, he snuggles to her lap, and avoids me. In a few minutes, he takes a bold look at me again, I remain smiling at him, he can't take that anymore, runs behind the navagraha statue and remains hidden...His grandmother is puzzled, and so is his elder brother, they call out to him, he does not acknowledge.."Why is he hiding behind?" his grandmother asks, well, only two heads know the answer, I chuckle to myself...Whatever do I do to young men ;) ??

So, what is my purpose of these daily temple visits? I am wondering to myself...I can't think of any, but am reminded of this poetic line by a friend..."When Purposelessness becomes the Purpose,... it is Homecoming"....I head for home....