August 1, 2009

3 seconds later...

Want to know the value of 3 seconds? No no... I don't mean this in the way that a fraction-of-a-second can make a difference- so don't go asking the accident victim or the people with big regrets from big moments. I am really only talking about something on the lighter side... like temple queues. Being in the land of a thousand temples, Kanchipuram, it was imperative that I visit a few on my yearly visits here to my parents-in-laws' house. And so we temple-hopped today. While a couple of them were deeply, spiritually satisfying, one of them was one of those thoroughly commercialized affairs where you had to pay for everything from leaving your footwear outside to getting normal dharshan of the God/Goddess. Mind you, this wasn't even one of those temples like Tirupati where the monetary collections were part of maintaining some vague decorum or strata of luxury. There must've been about 30 of us in a queue today waiting to get a glimpse of the main deity. Yet, everyone was in a hurry. Why would one come to a temple if they were in a hurry? Beats me. And I am sure that they weren't exactly in a hurry... it was just the way they were used to being in temples. Want to know the value of 3 seconds? Ask the sweaty woman who makes it her business to drip all over you and push you with all her weight from behind while if she just waited instead, she could still glimpse the deity in like 3 seconds. Or the man who's twice your size trying to elbow you into a corner so he can squeeze past you in the single-line file and be ahead of one more person (or how-many-ever more he manages to elbow past). Oh and I hate groups that are trying to move in packs. My philosophy is if you get separated, deal with it (unless you have kids walking by themselves risking a stampede). The line's usually so narrow that you are unlikely to evaporate or get lost. Have a reunion at the clearing after the dharshan for God's sake instead of squeezing past in groups or worse, holding onto one another to keep together. Perhaps, it's a mental victory of sorts for all these people who do it... that they caught sight of the deity 3 seconds before the guy behind them or say 3 minutes before the end of the queue. No, that doesn't make sense, does it? Why not then move in an orderly fashion and behave decently rather than stifle the already stale air in the waiting queues by huffing over someone else, or worse dripping perspiration over them? We'll never know.


Googler said...

Hilarious.. HAHAHAHAHAHA. I m sure every1's experienced this but reading it is like reliving it. LOL!

Gandalf said...


Jaya said...

Googler, Gandalf-> Glad you find my harrowing experience something of a laugh... Believe me, it isn't so funny as it is frustrating when you are swamped with bodily fluids from someone else! But like Googler has remarked, of course everyone's experienced it :D. Thanks for the comments, guys and keep visiting!

Ram uncle said...

While in most countries a "Q" grows backwards, in Tamil Nadu (or whole India)the "Q" grows sideways. I experience this in Chennai in every walk of life; whether it is a bus where passengers board before one can disembark; driving on roads, all vehicles occupy the entire width (left and right) of the road while waiting for green signal, leaving no space for incoming traffic. Or at Aavin booth or vegetable vendors where when you wait for your turn, people who come after you stretch their hands/talk to the seller for their requirements. Still worse, have not we seen people coming in cars/2-wheelers stopping in front,drive-in shopping. List is endless. And it is also in temples, that is very sad. Perhaps, is it God's will that we pray with some irritation.

I often wonder how civilised the Indians are? I can hear someone grumbling at me,"are you not an Indian"? Yes very much I am but those who violate basic norms and etiquettes of life are UNINDIAN.

P.S.: Please note, I do not mean to offend anyone. I long to see a better India and long to leave behind a better place for the future generations.

PrivateMartin said...

hi Jaya,

Your experiences are very true. I am referring to my experience in temples in North India as well. I love temples and love the idea to be ablr to go to one and spend some time there. But as soon as i am out side one and i see all the Q and a rush of people the whole idea of going to the temple seems so stressful. Specially the more popular the temple is the more crowded it is.

People want to jump ahead of you and it is not possible to pay your respect to the SHIVALINGA without getting drenched with water, milk andwhatever else that was meant to be offered to the god. People standing behind you dont wait for their turn to but instead try to take aim at the shivalinga hoping some of their offerings lands on it and they will be blessed.

We in our culture like to offer a lot of things to the god such as flowers, leaves, sweet, milk, and Dhooph the holy smoke thing. which in turn makes a mess in the temple, spoil the statues by leaving soot on them etc.

Well no offence to anyone, its just my opinion.


Shiva kumar Shankar said...

the push from behind and elbowing past are a couple of my biggest pet peeves when in a queue (be it temple or booking counters in train station or anything similar), it bugs me to no end!
Me and P went to San Diego's Sea World during the Christmas break and a few guys from our motherland, from state above our's were right behind, and guess how they were in the Queue?? Almost to the point of pushing on P. This while waiting in line for getting some lunch! Needless to say that bunch got an earful from me!
The problem is I am a guy who just cannot remain quiet, and guess where the trouble brews then! Especially where every one tries to be a Macho man!

Jaya said...

Ram uncle-> So true! And yet here we are a whole two fistfuls of people trying to "improve" India... and that's something that isn't going to happen unless the entire country cultivates a serious personality change overnight! But yes, India does have a penchant for sideway Qs... weird but absolutely spot-on.. Lets hope other junta realize that some method to madness is way better than madness itself. Thanks for the comment and keep visiting!

PrivateMartin-> Welcome back! Long time no see.. Hahahahahaa - at the whole taking "aim" thing.. I haven't experienced that personally but I imagine it'd be hilarious from a third person view as long as you are not the one getting drenched. BTW, have you been to Tirupati? The Qs have exceeded 24 hours waiting times in the past for a 20 second dharshan. Here's an added twist to all the sweat and stink - people eat vadas on the Qs.. Go figure ;) And yes, please keep visiting!

Shiva->Wow, aren't you the macho man? I'd have given them a stern look and left it at it.. but I am glad you vented! But yeah what's the point of pushing when you know that your turn ought to come? I don't get it... we probably never will.. Thanks for the comment and keep visiting!

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