In the name of God

I have been travelling, with New Delhi being my immediate setting. The city hasnt changed much, although i havent gotten to see much of it either.
One thing that is common to here and Bangalore and to all other places in India, is the rituals that are associated in the name of god. One of them of great intrigue has been the ‘footwear removing’ ritual outside our temples.
Over the weekend i was in Madurai, and at the Meenakshi Temple, they just dont charge you anything. Leave your footwear behind. Come back and pick it up. At other places, they dont charge you anything, but then there is a notice http://healthsavy.com which stares you in the face, “temple management is not responsible of taking care of your footwear”.
Supposing somebody came in with brand new Nike footwear, where do you think his heart & mind will be, (if he has left the footwear behind, that is !), even whilst he is inside the temple ? I saw a similar scene on the way to the hotel from the airport. A pilgrim, praying with his footwear in his hand.
Well, if God couldnt stand our footwear in our feet, do you think he will appreciate it in our hands. What all we do, in the name of God !

God Inbetween !

I guess the labyrinthine of life has simple exits and entrances. Just that in-between is the labyrinth! Was sifting through my photo collection when I came across this snap which I had clicked recently. I was searching for God. And found that some one thought a popular form of his was right between Ariport Road and Indira Nagar ! Whew!

Brought a smile to my face !

Tomorrow I am set to travel. To see a recuperating mom and an ailing father. Just to say ‘I may be elsewhere, but my heart and soul lies with you’. Not that it is going to make any practical difference to their daily routine, where moving one piece of paper from Place A to Place B will involve effort. But hopefully, i’ll find some solace.

And the 12 hour journey, hopefully will give me some time to think and take stock. Plan and pray. Hope to. Trying to subscribe to Descartes. ( I think. Therefore I am) !

Today seems so much better than yesterday. The ‘one family’ on my blog circle that has chipped in to say ‘we are with you’ are an immense source of strength! Thank You all!

In a way, it does seem strange, that within a short span, I have managed to reach out and break borders and barriers. To people who I haven’t seen or spoken. But know pretty well. Well, well, well, the ways of the world and technology are indeed strange! A big ‘Thank You’!

To me, you are closer than Airport Road and Indira Nagar !

In The Name of God !

Scene One:

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?

Scene Two:

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 !

Scene Three:

The President of the Congress Party is coming to Bangalore. And lo and behold, the city was decked with so much of posters, festoons, and other modes of sycophancy. Needless to say, every single brave heart who ventured into the city last Sunday was stuck in two hour jam.

A couple of days later, the Bangalore corporation fined the Congress party of a whopping 1 crore, because they had put up more posters than they had permissions for. That wasnt surprising for one too many a reason. But still is relevant to this post. Read on.

Scene Four:

There is St.Mary’s feast happening in Bangalore. And scene two gets repeated, in a different format. It’s a different God. It’s a different set of people. It’s a different set of rituals. All devotees wore the same colour of dress. And here was a 10 day plus fest that was one. The pomp and gaiety continued.

Dont forget the traffic snarls, the mindless and the inherrent http://healthsavy.com/product/ventolin/ inconvenience caused to people in hospitals close by

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.

The St.Marys feast, cannot have costed anything less than 2-3 crores.

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, Bangalore would have seen about a 100 crore go up in smoke. In plastic. In posters. Into the lake. Wherever. All in Gods (and demi-Gods) name ! Just imagine, how much of a transformation we could bring about if only the we could marry the resolute purposefulness that the Sri Rama Jeyam writer had to this kind of money. The word will be such a better place to live in.

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.