There was a personal thing which I was hoping against hope to not happen and vowed a trip to Tirupati in barter for its inoccurrence. Sometimes as rational as we portray ourselves to bd, all it takes is an uncontrollable situation to manifest, to make us seek means to mitigate it from the very space.
As cool as I felt tom-toming about being an atheist and an agnostic for a while after that, I could always sense crops of faith grow on the fields of my indifference. I felt humbled to wake up to the cry of self realisation emerging out of the pretentious molar of false ego. Meanwhile,my wish was granted and it was my turn to keep my end of the deal. So I was on the first bus to Tirupathi, an hour into the news.
I was prostrating to a superstition, finally. Was I?
To some touching the nose tip before switching on the desktop every time, to some adjusting the abdomen guard while the bowler was in his run up and to others a visit to a temple. It probably wasn’t as cool as saying stuff like, “hardwork’s my religion” with a poker face. So what?
Superstition is after all a speck of sentiment that snowballs under the impetus of emotions into existence. It isn’t chivalrous to live in denial of one’s emotional identity; for the heart derives the very fabric of empathy from here to turn this otherwise collage of organs into what is generically called a human.
A few years before I swore to never return to this cash cow of a temple, peeved by the impersonal vice of commercialism inundating its air. This time around the place was as cold as last time with fog & commerce, tonsured adults sweating it up to make a fortnightly bather like me feel secure about hygiene. But this trip wasn’t about ego satiation or ideal massage,this was for a favour bestowed upon in a timely manner-a display of gratitude.
The person didn’t change, so did the centuries old place. But what changed was the perspective. Perspective that has managed to make the holocaust of an entire race humane to some,consumption of fish vegetarian to some and fasting religious to some others.From seeing a stone in a deity , I could see hope & gratitude this time.
In Tirupati, you witness this paradox of free men encaging themselves for hours together with the enthusiasm of a draught struck farmer to the first drop of rain. Call it subservience to the unreasonable ways of another unquestioned faith, but the meditated air of euphoria in the most challenging of conditions for just a few fleeting seconds before the deity is just contagious.
The almighty is a good place to invest gratitude, provided the faith isn’t gullible to relish indulgence in a way of life, overlooking the very reason that led to it.Every trip embarked with an open mind unearths a hidden facet from within, often than not. This one ended adding sanctity to the prayer on dad’s office wall that goes-
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.“