Friday, April 03, 2015

The Old Temple

Those wide roads of yore looked suddenly shortened. The lake of waste water where we once bounced stones on the surface seemed shrunk. The old path through the water was gone - but the road by the side remained - again, it looked narrow. The long distance that it took to walk to the
temple seemed so less today. The cycling path where we spent hours also seemed quite small today. And then the temple appeared in the distance. Everything we see when we are a child, seems smaller when we visit the same place once we are grown up. Distances shrink and sizes reduce...

The temple. Old memories revive as I walk in. The mind registers the changes and the constants. Starting off with the place to keep the chappals and the Ganesha at the door, it seemed familiar. The flight of stairs that once took a long time to climb were today over in a jiffy - why were they so strenous then? And then, as I moved up, "This place used to be slippery, now it is nice". "They have a roof in place" The mind makes mysterious jottings - though I know it does not completely
overwrite the older memories. I might be as intrigued of it now as I would, if I visited a few months later perhaps. Some memories are best in black and white sans the jazz perhaps.

From the main deity to the next one - it all followed in a pattern that seemed to be etched in memory. Like visiting a childhood haunt, which is what it was. From childhood to teenage years, the temple was my haunt. Where I shared all my thoughts, feelings, wishes (some fulfilled, some
not). I had made god work or so I thought. I smiled as my mind wandered past the wishes - marks I wished to secure in each subject, college admission or that I got a chance to beat up the bully at school or asked god to get lightning to strike him (twice - just to be on the safer side).

Many things were the same - the deities, the offerings and the atmosphere. The hand raised to ring a bell whose position was shifted. Eyes searched for nonexistent people. The priests who were young when I was a kid now looked old. The older ones looked wizened. Would they recognize me? No, they did not, as the tantri offered me sandal paste in his usual nonchalant way. But he would smile at me when I was a little boy - he does not recognize me. I smile.

However, there are no wishes this time. As it was the last few times. I wander around the temple in gratitude with sparks from each of the hundreds if not thousands of visits coming to my mind. I smile to myself. I sit there in quiet solitude. I bow in reverence one last time as I head back.

I will come back once again, I tell, mostly to myself.

No comments: