I am at a temple. Standing and praying. Multiple devotees crowd in, with their offerings. Some have flowers in their hands. Some others have coconuts. Others have ghee. Oil. Butter. A lady has a vada-mala ( a garland made out of vadas) I stand in line, and pray. As I open my eyes, I see a rat jut around. Amidst all this offering is a curious artifact. A 300 odd page, bound notebook. I wonder what it could contain. Perhaps someone is opening a new establishment, and that’s their account book. Perhaps some kid is giving his exam, an overzealous parent has given in his notebook. Perhaps it is the kid himself. Couldn’t quite figure it out.
What could it be?
That week, one a dully day, I started for home after a long & dull day at work, and was immediately greeted by a traffic jam of mammoth proportions. It was 9 in the night, and I wondered what caused it. I rolled down the windows and checked and looked. I could see a towering Lord Ganapathi, on a huge truck. With acccompanying music and wild celebrations. I knew it would be a while, before I could get home. As I looked around I saw fellow motorists. All with a frown or a scorn. Some with anxiety. Many had given up. We could do nothing but wait.
As I saw the cavalcade pass me, there were about 4 different idols each 20-30 feet high. Some other statues accompanied the giant idols. (One of them was Ronaldhino’s. And no, am not making this up). If the lake that was to receive all this had a blog space, it would have put in so much of material, that the servers the world over would have crashed !
The President of the Congress Party is coming to
A couple of days later, the
There is St.Mary’s feast happening in
Pen to Paper:
A strange and wild thought came to my mind, and I started to put paper to pen on it. I talked to a few people, and then calculated what the average cost of putting up a Ganesh pandal would cost. Then proceeded to look around and find out how many such pandals were there enroute to work and back.
The total amount that would have gotten spent on the Ganesh Pandals, by conservative estimate is about 5 crores. ( In a 15 kilometer stretch). And this is pure money cost, and doesn’t include other aspects like the amount of time spent and free labour / space etc.
The politician’s visit to the state costed a cool 30 crore, by official estimates.
And by the way, coming back to scene one and the note book. The note book had 300 pages of ‘Sri Rama Jayams’ written. Neatly. Legibly. And ornately. I am sure it would have taken a great deal of focus and purpose in writing it all out. 300 odd pages. Phew !
Over the last couple of weeks,
Imagine a 100 crore as corpus for pensioners. The money could help in our society growing! For education of the poor. For the aged. For the homeless. For trees. For the environment. For infrastructure. The subjects that cry for our attention are just so many !
Now, don’t get me wrong. Am not an atheist. Nor am I a right wing fundamentalist or whatever. It pains me to see ignorance continue to have its cosmic dance over millions of people. It affects me deeply to see how age old traditions have become mere exhibitions of pomp, crass & vulgar popularity. Our seeking for selfish reasons have long overshadowed our traditional endowments of society, mutual help and collective growth!
Five years ago, a bearded man, blew up scores of people and attributed it to God ! Daily, people keep fighting, and dying, in the name of God !
Perhaps some day, God will be bigger than religion and its accompanying ‘high priests’. I guess we need to wait till then.
I am not sure how long. That perhaps is a question, the answer to which, is blowing in the wind.