Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will It Ever End?

..and the saga continues.

I went to the temple around 2 weeks ago to pray for a few random things in life. Well, the real reason is that I had spoken to my mom that morning and she asked me to go to the temple instead of just sitting at home and sulking (it was a saturday). I tripped on endless cups of chai the entire day and finally decided to leave at 7.

The temple closes at 8.

It took me around 45 minutes to reach there because one, it was raining, and two, for some reason the folks who built the temple decided to build it in the middle of a tiny, godforsaken town, the roads to which have been cursed with endless number of speed limits at different stretches. Also, the last road that takes you to the temple was covered with a fine layer of pure white ice (not snow, ice).

Anyway, I park my car and entered the temple. I saw panditji talking to an Indian couple. His wife was also standing there, just listening to the other couple crib about life. I removed my shoes and went to the hall where all the idols are. I folded my hands, closed my eyes, and started praying. But, the constant bickering of the husband and wife outside stopped me from fully focussing on what I was supposed to focus. They both were so freaking loud - it was like they both were trying to outdo each other. The guy was telling panditji about how he told his boss that he would not go to California and that he wants a project in Des Moines and all that. In my mind I was like, yeah right, as if that's going to happen and as if you actually talked to your boss in that tone. The wife was complaining about the weather and about how they don't have comforters and what not.

Anyway, those two idiots left the temple, and at the same time I finished my prayers. Panditji came to me and said, "main aapka naam bhool raha hoon" which literally means - I am forgetting your name. I told him my name and he went, "oh yaad aaya" (Ah! Now I remember). He asked me why I was visiting after a long time (September). I just rambled something and escaped the situation. Obviously he did not remember our conversation from my last visit, so he said, "to south se hain aap" (So you are from the south) to which I made a funny face and told him (again) that my parents are from the south and that I was born in Gujarat and brought up in Delhi. He said no wonder you speak such good hindi. I smiled a "whatever" smile. He then brought forward the silver plate that had the lit karpur so that I could take aarti. The plate also had a few one dollar bills that other people must have donated. I took the aarti, looked at the bills, and then looked at panditji. I saw a gleam of expectation in his eyes. I think he was envisioning me pulling out my wallet from my pocket, taking out a dollar or two and keeping them in the plate. I, on the other hand, was thinking about the only dollar bill that I had in my wallet (I keep it for a rainy day. I am more of a credit card person - I am a sucker for 2% cashbacks), and whether or not to let it go.

I decided not to.

I kept looking at panditji. He kept looking at me. After a few seconds, the gleam in his eye vanished, and I saw anger. And perhaps a little bit of embarrassment. I am sure he must have called me an a-hole in his mind. But I really couldn't do anything. I definitely felt bad for coming to the temple and not donating anything, but I went with my instincts on this one.

He chatted with me for a few more minutes, but only this time I could not look him in the eye. First, because I was embarrassed, and second, I thought that a third eye might pop up on his forehead and burn me to ashes there and then. He gave me prasad also - four bananas, probably because it was time to close the temple and he wanted to finish those bananas on me. I got excited nevertheless, and grabbed those bananas with a smile on my face.

I went outside, got in my car and kept thinking about when the day would come when I would go inside a temple and come out without embarrasing myself or someone else.


Heart'n'Soul said...

@I kept looking at panditji. He kept looking at me.


@The thrid eye


Btw - if u not in to it... y do u even go to the temple???/

Venkat said...

I love going to the temple. It's just that I am a little too lazy..