This had to be done... There aren't enough cynics around

Keep calm and believe

It was not until 2 hours before the return journey did I get access to a newspaper and the innate Indian tendency to overlook anything  the likes of Ms Dutt and Mr Goswami want us to believe is the burning issue, meant I had restricted my television viewings to nearly zero during the trip. Having the immortal ‘Sujatha’ for company meant there was never a dull moment. So as I scourged through The Hindu, I did find some really disturbing stuff.

Once again a city falls to a terror attack and our Grand ol’ Party asks us to ‘keep calm’. A 12 year old kid was apparently killed in cold blood by a nation our GoP believes is a close ally and asks the hurt people to ‘keep calm’. And when our CM refused to host the athletic games, GoP’s spokesman came forward to criticize the decision. We are all old enough and sensible enough to believe that there is no politician in TN (with power either here or at Delhi) that has in mind (let alone at heart) the interest of our brethren dead and dying there, but sport is intricately woven with politics here. How else can we justify our PM’s “forceful retaliation” for the LoC Attacks by ‘refusing to play with Pakistan’?

A few hours earlier, while offering prayers (“You give me this…. I’ll do this…”), I could not but help the priest talking to a local. This particular temple has this long standing belief that lighting a lamp in the outer wing would bring the wishes true and a million lamps occluding the way stood the testimony. Also, once the wish is fulfilled, another lamp should be lighted around the pond (which was also flooded by lamps).

Not that I am questioning the faith, but seriously, the priest ‘selling’ lamps-51 bucks for the ‘wish-lamp’ and ‘the fulfilled’ lamp for twice the price doesn’t seem…you know… ‘Godly’. Now if you thought this was the lowest, the magic workers in the abode of belief, could stoop, you, sir, are woefully wrong. Another historical significance of this place was where a saint decided to brave hell by divulging a secret held close to the heart of his community. In order to reach out to the masses, he had climbed to the top of the temple and cried out the chanting for all to hear.

We had followers wanting to re-trace the path and the MWitAB wanted to wait for 50 people to come and had the passage closed. A few swear words and death threats were exchanged before the door was opened. And the place: a disaster waiting to happen. It was narrow, steep and had plenty of places where one can break a hip or crack the skull. Guess it is just a matter of time before these folks are sued for liability.

Anyway, on the way back, the man forcefully demanded money-without a receipt, which yours truly declined- not a case of heroism, but my wallet was in the car and I needed all of the 10 bucks for the ‘puliyodharai’. The grudge he held made him switch off the light as I was making way through a particularly tricky ‘gorge’ and my faith was strengthened the moment I made it past unscathed and our guide knocked his head in the ceiling. Apparently, anger does blind the eye.

After enjoying the tamarind rice and relishing a tale of how a genius prescribed an anti-bacterial for a viral infection, it was time. After keeping calm, as demanded, I reached the Railway station, fuming, more because of the luggage that included three kilos of Tea Powder a friend –who had taken me to see the beautiful view point in Kooda-Nadu-gifted. Having had the entire state behind me (I was in the K’taka-TN border), I was reduced to a guy putting his luggage in that black roller thing.

The officers were busy discussing stuff and expectedly, missed my razor, Swiss army knife and even the fruit-cutting knife. So this was the ‘heightened security’ we were promised by our beloved leaders-each of whom is protected by a dozen cops…  This, in the aftermath of an attack that claimed lives… Of course, for them, we are just ‘votes’ and our lives are worthless.

And still, we remain Calm.