Although that sounds like a sleepy airy walk in the park, it isn’t so. It actually translates to several days of walking 30 odd kilometers daily.
It is the annual pilgrimage. Walking with their bare feet carousing the tar of hot roads, on which see some reinforced steel radials with hot speeds, more often than not. They walk. Carrying their belongings and all else that they would require on the journey atop their heads or slung across their shoulders
Unmindful of approaching traffic that could consist of whizzing buses or wheezing bullet carts, they walk. They are easy to spot. Dressed in a radiant yellow or an ensemble of green, roads in rural TN close to the foothills of Palani see them walk on.
I am told that they walk early in the morning. And late in the evening. Together making for almost 30 KM every day. They chant the holy name of Lord Karthikeya. And walk on.
The same happens in Maharashtra chanting the name of Sai Baba.
In Kerela they walk in the name of Lord Aiyappa.
The Amarnath Yatra up in the Himalayas.
And so we walk in the name of every God that we call out to. Mother Mary. Allah. Krishna. Shiva. Buddha. Mahavir. And ofcourse, Karthikeya. All over the country. And around the world too.
We walk many many miles over many many days. In penance. In celebration. In thanks or asking for something dear. I presume all the time that the mind is active while the legs plough on will provide for some reflection and reordering of thoughts. As well.
And so we walk on. For many miles over many days. In a strange quest for discovering love. Compassion. Peace. And well being.
Incase you cant imagine doing this with this level of an intensity, here is a suggestion. The battery of good Lords will agree, we have traversed an almost similar distance when we walk half way down the street and smile at our neighbour, help someone, do our duties with diligence and spread some cheer.
Walk on people. Walk with hope. Walk with joy. Walk with belief that life can and will be better for all of us.
By the way, that’s exactly what the doctor ordered. All doctors. Walk on.
This is Peddar Road. A road on which I frequent more for running than for anything else. Once a week, and this road and its incline is a nemesis of sorts for inept runners like me. A Sunday morning on this road, looks like this.
On weekdays, this road holds more wheels than legs. Definitely more expensive wheels than most districts of Mumbai. Quite naturally, there are innumerable number of hours that you could be forced to spend stuck in a signal. Not knowing what else to do, but for twiddling your thumb and swearing at how ineffective our governments are and how fundamentally vacuous our democracy is.
The government has been proposing a construction of a flyover. Eminent residents living the area have resisted this. For a number of reasons that must be patently obvious to them, but cant seem to make sense to the rest of Mumbai, let alone the rest of the word.
So we see a logjam. Everyday, cars pile up. Inconceivable number of motorists hurl the choicest of abuses. Ofcourse, I don’t know for sure. But given the propensity of several motorists to heap abuse for anything starting from following traffic lights when no one is around, this is more than just probable.
Now its become a political issue. With parties taking a stance for or against. No one wants to give an inch. Life goes on.
Somewhere in rural Maharashtra. One of the roadside stalls had this to offer. Now, red guava is a personal favourite. Naturally, the foot came off the accelerator and the car came to an instantaneous magical halt.
Drooling with vivid pictures in the mind of red guavas, we went in and chose a few guavas.
Only to find just a while later, just as the teeth were sinking into what looked like one heck of a luscious red guava, that it wasn’t red inside after all.
The vendor, without bating an eyelid, informs that the ‘red’ in the ‘red gauvas’ kept on display were ‘painted’ guavas. The only guavas he had were all white !
I am livid. I ask him if he is right in doing this. He shrugs his shoulders and says, ‘Life has to go on sir’!
Theres this store in the corner. Which sells short eats through a window. It was a village sometime back. Now, it’s a well respected suburb of big city Mumbai. In the neighborhood tall buildings scrape clouds. Cars zip in and out of the building and life reeks of a certain ‘busy’ness.
Amidst all this hustle bustle, somehow, this store has survived.
The genial Maharastrian gentleman who runs this store, is usually very warm and receptive. So is he today. He smiles at me and asks ‘2 packs’ ? I smile and nod. Two packs of chewing gum get placed on a bottle.
There is no one today. So I chat up. What does he think of Foreign Direct Investment in Retail I ask. Filled with the usual city-dweller arrogance perhaps, half thinking the old man that he is, there isn’t going to be any answer. Leave alone, a cogent one.
‘Let them come sir’. He says. ‘
They can never be me. I can never be them. We all have our roles’.
With a pause and a smile he says, ‘Life has to go on’ !
Have a lovely week ahead people !
Save perhaps the policemen on duty !
Pretty much covers one part of the festival spread over many days. The festival itself is a ten day long affair. The pomp and show of a ‘celestial wedding’. The majesticity of a ‘God’ in motion. The piety of the simple. The preparedness of the city. The commerce that keeps knocking on traditions doors. Yet a culture that somehow survives, are all things to see.
Its a must watch.
The next year around, give me a shout if you’d want to visit ! 🙂 The festival involves a deity taken in procession from Alagarkoil into the heart of the city ( a distance of more than 20 odd KM). The young and old rejoice. As part of the festival there is this traditional ‘water spray’ by the young and the old. Specially adorned. Chanting the name of Govinda.
Spraying water to cool things down. Spraying everywhere. Often targeting the camera of a stray blogger !
Here are some images that survived such targeting !
With a synchronized precision that will give a Russian gymnast some competition, the trunk is extended. A coin or two is propped into the trunk by the devotee. The trunk is then lifted and placed on the head of the devotee ! Blessings from the elephant God himself !
And the mahouts don’t even bother to stand. Any management type would be quick to classify this as a ” ‘mature process’ that runs by itself !”
The forms are many. The sequences and the rituals are so distinct and unique from each other, that an alien wouldn’t comprehend the single word – ‘Prayer’ which encompasses all the activities!
Well, the activities themselves range from elaborate one month yagnas and constant chanting of mantras to a less than a millisecond activity of crossing the chest and looking up into the sky as one crosses a place of worship atop a speeding bike ! In-between there is an ever expanding milieu of activities: candle light vigils. Monday – Sunday fasting regimens. (With an additional colour or two for specific days of the week). The list is endless.
Well, as much as there are different places of worship. There are different times of worship too. Most during a trying situation. Praying for a miracle when the odds don’t favour one are the most common. I remember praying to God that my favourite teams must win match after match (particularly when I knew it was difficult for them to) ! I remember praying to God for good grades thinking they were probably improbable!
I vividly recall praying for peace in
Basket ball player said,
“Excuse me guys for just a sec
while go bow my head”
And in the quiet of that room
The basket ball player prayed,
“Oh God if nothing hear me now
I know that fate is made.”
“So help us lord to win this
game, it’s the big one man, you see,
If we lose this game that’s itg for us.
Please do this, lord, for me”.
And as his body knelt in prayer
He looked up the sky,
“And while I am here and have
sometime, I need to ask you why?”
“They say you never help teams win,
Just do it once I pray
We will pay you back in kinder deeds
Or in another way”
“Thre reason I cant help you win”,
the lord then replied
Is as youre asking me to win,
So is the other side”
“I am every body’s father and
I must not take one side.
So games are played on your own
Or they would all be tied”
“But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pray”
He answered him with care
“You can pray that players don’t get hurt. And
that all calls are fair.”
“And then I wont just watch the game,
I’ll bless it with my care,
Because dear son you need to learn
That life’s not always fair.”
And while the player heard this voice,
He bowed his head in prayer,
“I pray for fairness”, said the boy
“And for your tender care”
“You shall be blessed”, the lord replied
Your team and you the same,
And now will you excuse me my boy
I cannot http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/amoxicillin_generic.html miss the game !
This poem gave me a new perspective. What does one pray for ? Is it for good health ? Is it for settling scores? Is it for the other guys defeat of for my victory? For our safety or is it for growth? Is it for our betterment or is it otherwise. The essence of the prayer must not be lost in the ritual surrounding it. The end must not be a victim of the means!
As the next generation moves on, there are two distinct patterns emerging. One a serious ritual minded pattern which subjugates the ends to the means.
On the other, there is this apathetic pattern, which does not believe in the power of prayer. Inbetween, the true essence of prayer has gone incognito. Children pray for good grades. Parents pray for miraculous results. The country prays for victory of their team. The bulls and the bears will pray for the markets to swing either way. The corrupt politician prays for more money without being busted by a sting operation. And the media person running the sting operation, prays for more such corrupt politicians ! whew !
Maybe we should think a little more, while praying. Maybe we should pray for fairness. Maybe we should say a prayer of thanks more often. Lets remember that all prayer has a the person praying hoping for some good. One way or the other. Maybe we should focus on the end !
And, as and when that happens, Our children will definitely going to be a happier lot. I read this somewhere…
What to ask for
Be conscious of what you are asking for. You can pray for something specific and get it. Or you can pray for a quality of life, and get that. Praying for specifics is risky, for you are dictating a form. Praying for essence guarantees reward, for you are seeking an energy. Rather than dictating a specific object as your goal, designate a quality of experience.
Before you climb the ladder of success, be sure it is leaning against the right wall. You can get what you think you want, or you can get what you really want. All thoughts are prayers, and all prayers are answered. You pray more with you thoughts and intentions than with your words.
Infact, you are praying at every moment. Every asking that proceeds from the heart is a prayer. Ask for your soul’s dreams not your minds. When the mind and soul come into alignment, you will achieve the mystical marriage that gets your head out of sand and into heaven.Life goes on ! Prayers hold the answers !