On A Devotional Trail
Sitting in the cold almost freezing comfort of home, the man of the house feels a divine intervention beckoning him to seek blessings from the clan deity in a far flung, blink and you miss it, a tiny town in the region from where our ancestors lived. I try to dissuade him to avoid being burnt crisp or the fear of being popped into a popcorn travelling in the merciless heat but 'he' the typical alpha male will not change course once set, of his directions. Tickets are booked after a lot of heated debates ( a better word for loud vocal arguments).
Minutes before leaving hubby dearest decides on a last minute indulgence and off he goes leaving me with the last minute scurrying around of things to do. We arrive at the airport with minutes to spare after doing a cross country race on the traffic logged roads of 'mah citi'.
Out of the cool confines of the airport and into the furnace of Rajasthan and quickly hopping into the waiting cool cab, (us spoilt city brats). Watching cactii, hardy flowering Babul trees growing in the arid soil, women dressed in pretty, colorful 'ghagra-odhna' faces covered with ghunghat, walking gracefully, a dash of color on the bleak landscape, narrow roads make me appreciate my adopted state which is home for me. A cuppa of good strong chai while long tailed birds(too lazy to google for their name)merrily hop around us, and we soak in the relaxed lazy peace which envelops us like a mothers warm hug..
The tiny hamlet with narrow streets, vintage homes which seem to whisper stories of ancestors who migrated in search of a brighter future generations ago. We seem to give in to their legacy which is held together by thin frayed threads and enticing us to take on this journey in search of our long lost roots. The huge palace like temple built by generous devotees, will be home for the night. The food served at the temple has the flavour of devotion which makes us overlook the not so clean surroundings. Faith tinted goggles make us indifferent to the surly servers, the stained water glasses and other nuisances which would not be tolerated in general.
A feeling of calmness descends upon us during the 'Shayan Arti', something similar to the bedtime stories which drains away the niggling worries of the day and leads to a sound sleep. The pre-dawn chimes of the temple awaken us from our slumber on a strange bed. A quick shower, dressed in traditional finery, with the bright red 'odhna' pinned to drape over the head we head for the morning Arti.
A pooja done with a hovering pandits supervision, the men of God, expert in scriptures, shower us with detailed instructions on flashing the big rupaya,(they do have to support their families)and we have a speedy, hassle free pooja. The tolling bells, drum beats, bright flame of the Arti lead us to a deep trance where we find the soothing solace of the divine.
Our greedy souls wanted to score some more brownie points, we went on a temple marathon to pay obeisance to as many deities we could. We travelled across towns with magnificent, if slightly run down. neglected 'Havelis' spectres of a glorious past. The long winding queues, devotees singing 'Bhajans' while waiting for a glimpse of their revered deity, we were also a part of the melee.
What drives people educated, illiterate, from all strata of society to these crowded, almost commercial money spinning places donning a mask of spirituality. Is it the fear of a unforeseen future with the hopes of navigating it with the guiding belief of the holy hand, or is it a placebo which makes believe in ourselves, providing the moral support to push forward on attaining the unachievable. I think it’s our belief and we make the impossible possible.
Various temples, innumerable calories in the form of the sweet prasad, burned a few standing in queues and the long walks to the temple entrance. A drained out but replete couple waiting for the plane to take us back home. A sense of accomplishment, feeling of positive energy and a determination to tackle whatever life throws envelops us, which would keep us going till the next divine call.
Devotional nirvana achieved to leverage us to the highs of life.