“ Two bloggers bump into each other at a blogging page on Facebook. What follows next is mutual love for writing. A noble thought strikes up for a guest blog. Something that was initiated at the beginning of the year finally found its way towards the end of the year. Good things take time, I guess.
Dear Sakshi, Thank you for letting me share my scribbled stories on your blog.”
– Vidhisha Vijaykumar
So, here it goes.
I have a thing for picking up pieces of experiences from my everyday life and writing it out. It is a piece of me that gets inked in my life’s journal.
And this time one such piece of life comes from a recent short trip. A happy Sunday when the whole world is in sync with ‘no alarm day’ and sleeping till noon, I woke up at 3 am (I am not quite sure if this is early morning or still late night). I was preparing for a day trip to Shirdi. Well, I guess I got my ‘bulawa’ to visit this holy shrine that has been on my wishlist since years.
The schedule was set, we leave sharp at 4:30 from Pune and reach Shirdi by 11 am. We took our tea-breaks, food breaks and finally made our way to the temple by 3:30. We had booked tickets for the evening aarti. The reporting time was 4:30. We were bang on time. There was a systematic seating arrangement for each group so that no one gets missed out in the crowd. I was really appreciating the way it was being managed. But then don’t we have a habit of jumping to conclusions too soon.
The line progressed slowly inside the temple, the main hall where the divine idol of Sai baba sits peacefully in a Darbar. The queue is separated at one point with men forming a separate line and the women on the other side of the railings. Now here is where our judgements are put to rest.
There are televisions mounted on the upper side of the wall on both sides of the hall. So every person in the room has a clear view of Sai Baba, the proceedings that are going on. But still, the human race is never satisfied with what is offered. So what do we do?
1. We push the person ahead of us with utmost force and zero humanity. Because we want to make our way to the finish line.
2. We climb the railings, the pillars to get a glimpse of the idol as if the one shown on the T.V is duplicate or maybe ‘made in China’.
3. We simply follow the crowd. Half of the population does a parikrama without the slightest hint of why it is performed.
4. A woman in front saw me holding a few coins and thought that it is necessary to drop a coin at the donation box when you touch the idol so she quickly started searching for a coin. Every time you do a certain kind of ‘Pooja’, it is a simple ritual that you keep some kind of sweet i.e. ‘naivedya’ and a coin or any amount of money as an offering. Post which starts your proceedings of reading the religious stories or aarti. The coins which I was holding were a collection from similar occasions. I simply decided to drop them in the donation box there. I guess I gave rise to a new blind faith.
5. Donation for the right causes. There are people who put in a lot of money when a temple is constructed, when a certain ‘Pooja’,’Havan’ is being held. I respect other people’s opinions and devotion but doesn’t it make you wonder why not put the money to make a human life better. God is everywhere even without four walls, he hears us even without a havan, and maybe he would have been happier when his creations help each other morally, emotionally and financially.
6. A bit of discipline is all that is required. There is a reason why separate queues are made. So is it difficult to follow it? Now here there were 3-4 men who barged into the ladies line from the middle without any hesitation. Some people have no shame in breaking queues and heading their way. God is not going to run away anywhere. He is still very much seated there even if it takes another one hour for you to reach him.
7. We also have a problem with rules. We believe in breaking the rules because being on the other side of the line always a gives a thrill. It was strictly written, ‘No Mobile Phone’. Yet there is this fellow who managed to sneak his mobile phone inside, all thanks to the hawk-eyed security check. And he doesn’t stop there; he goes on take picture of the idol. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had tried a selfie with the idol. Everywhere in the temple there were people trying to capture selfies from all angles. Does a selfie with God make you divine and shower that heavenly feeling on you? I wish someone could pour a bucket of common sense on these selfies.
8. And then brace yourself for the V.I.P line. Oh yes please use your privilege to get first while the ‘aam janta’ struggles to stand in the queue. Are we going to be segregated as general, V.I.P and V.V.I.P when we reach heaven and hell? If not I wonder what will happen to these people.
I always avoid visiting temples on any religious occasion or special Pooja days. Because I look for peace of mind and soul when I am in a holy place and during these days this is something you cannot expect. You get a crowd, you get people pushing you away so that they can get in front, all you see is everyone shouting at the top of their voices chanting God’s name but showing zero humanity and sensibility towards the people standing in front of them.
True devotion to God is in showing respect to others and having empathy for them. At the end of the day remember the purpose for which you have come to a holy place. To be thankful, to show some gratitude, and to find inner peace so why be in hurry? Why rush through the lines breaking them midway? Why create a chaos and be inhuman?
And as I always say, life can be less complicated if you have a little common sense with a bit of humanity.
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Writer @ doclibranwriter