‘Namaste’ a voice greeted me sometime back. I looked up at the voice. It had a face of a man clad in a green jacket with chandan on his forehead. ‘Namaste’ I murmured back for courtesy showing absolutely no interest to carry the conversation any further. ‘From China?’ he asked my mistaking my murmur for interest. I shook my head sideways and laughed finding his observation incredulous. He left. He must have been scared by my laughter. Here I am wearing a kurti from Bharat. In fact everything I am wearing is made in India barring my shoes most probably made in China and he mistakes me for a Chinese. I’d forgotten that people often mistake me for Japanese, Korean etc thereby was taken aback. Dherai bhayecha kasaile mero mongoloid looks notice nagareko.Dhanya this reminder
I am in Pashupati as I type this on my Nokia. A flock of pigeons just flew past the main temple right in front on me. I am sitting on a window of a stone structure that houses a Shiva linga just across the temple. The temple of the ever emerging Kalki lies across the river. There’s another temple to its left with a lotus/chakra like structure at the top where people keep throwing coins for reasons unknown to me. Real time update: A dead body arrives wrapped in yellow cloth. Someone’s blowing a conch. A boy startled me from the back by making a ‘dyau’ sound and scratching my right arm. What the hell! I was too startled to react, left the spot and now am sitting in a different place. His nail marks stay on my arm. He could’ve been hiding in the place as I saw him in the corner as I stood up to leave. Maybe this is what happens when you look like a Chinese here! (Late observation: the guy looked like a teenager and wore his jeans very low. Saw this as he walked out of his dark hideout.)
Jehos, I wanted to write something else but the scratch boy has put me in a different frame of mind. Hope dirty nails aren’t vector of diseases. (I know they are.) Kya yaar, here I was minding my business and get scratched by a moron? A man doing a monkey’s job in Pashupati? Nonetheless, people are still throwing coins at the temple discussed above. No sooner the coin touches the ground few boys rush to collect it. I don’t know what coin throwing is supposed to do. Maybe it will bring wealth, luck, happiness or whatever is the belief. The only thing that I see is an act of coin throwing and instant collection. Those coins will be smoked like I can already see some of those boys doing. That’s all. That is reality to me. I guess the coin gives some consolation or fun for people who do so and luck and happiness to the ones who collect it. A win-win situation.
There’s life around me. There’s talk. A guy to my left is talking about his HIV related NGO. There’s the sound of a huge bell and other small bells coming from the temple. Their sounds are distinct. ‘Shambhoooo’ someone just called out.
A dead body lies in Brahmanal, another awaits its turn in the waiting area with ‘Narayan’ written on a wooden frame above it. Death continues as gracefully as life does. I come here now and then for the ambience of this place; to experience this atmosphere of belief, the smell of death and listen to tolling of the bells…But I know that mere observation of death is not the realization of the transient nature of life. No uttering of ‘Narayan’ is going to liberate me from my sufferings…neither is Shiva…It’s just easier to think someone else is going to clean up our mess isn’t it?
(July 4, 8:41 am)