Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day 7 - Madurai - Ayikudy

The windmill she blows

Purple haze

Peach coloured clouds

The silhouettes of trees

Ayikudy 19:06 pm

I started my day very differently in a noisy metro called Madurai. Woke up by 5ish and by 6 am had reached the gates of the Madurai Meenakshi kovil. A few people about on the streets and of course due to the nature of my outfit – tee and jeans – conversations.

Today’s conversation was with a bloke guarding the Western entrance of the kovil. He was with the Madurai Police Bomb Detection Squad deputed at the temple and very zealously doing his job. We did at least a five minute conversation with me of course talking about my whole life right from my antecedents to my current job profile. He called himself my brother. This was with context that I have a sister. I was thoda astounded at this but said theek. I mean if a bloke wants to call himself my brother, by all means do. So having finished conversation with my ‘brother’ I proceeded to the kovil.

Meenakshi ammal glowed like a beacon in her inner sanctum. I perambulated twice – once for myself and another time for family and friends. I loved the peaceful atmosphere in the temple at that time. Niceness that was. Got a bit lost – the temple complex being so huge.

Sat for a bit at the Lake of the Golden Lotus. Took some fotus of the temple stealthily on account of the fact that I didn’t particularly feel like paying 50 bucks to the temple authorities to take snaps. Walked around the outer temple complex. Met another policeman type who took me through the hall where Meenakshi ammal normally gets married. Saw a wooden ceiling which according the cop, was about 3000-4000 thousand years old.

Left the temple complex, grabbed some brekkie and left Madurai for Tenkasi. Took 4 and half hours to get there. More conversations about me travelling alone followed.

One of the amazing places I saw today was Srivilliputtur. First I saw this

then I saw a

followed by

I am in the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu and have realised most towns have a sizable Muslim and Christian population to warrant a church and a mosque and the standard cemetery that I kept seeing outside of towns by the wayside.

Reached Amar Seva Sangam at around 1.30 pm in the afty. It’s a sprawling campus on 13 acres. Run by two wonderful gentlemen who are doing a lot for the cause of the disabled child.

My father has been contributing to this organization for the past two decades now and everyone is thrilled to bits that I have come here. I have been told that I should get my father here and that is certainly something that I am going to strive to achieve.

As I was writing I was overhearing this conversation between two other gentlemen who were staying with me. One says, ‘We should get rid of our ego to work in a place like this.’ The other says, ‘Play the politics game to work in a place like this.’ I am unsure of how things work here but I feel that this place exists is enough for me. They are doing commendable work here which needs to be continued with help and support.

I got taken for a walk around the campus by the PRO chappie. I had tears in my eyes because there is stuff going on here that I am not going to do anything about except make a standard contribution (I decided against doing this as I found something else to make a contribution which I have outlined here) Its difficult being here. I am an able bodied person and I think I am an ultra sensitive that people are different and not able to cope as I can in my own world.

But there is work being done and one must do one’s bit to help out as much as possible.

I am listening to the strains of Tamil Christian(s) singing at the church nearby. The voices carry across the distances and there is complete darkness all around me. A strong breeze has been blowing since afternoon and it will carry on through the night. The two gentlemen are reading their newspapers and there is a quiet only broken by the breeze and the chatter of the insects.


dharmabum said...

the lotus pond has interesting legends attached to it.

tenkasi is simply superb - i had a chance to go there a couple of years ago, on my way to sabarimalai.

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