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Ready, Steady, Charity - 23

Aish's words - Exercise, rejoice, temperature

Ammani's take

Vatsala wondered, not for the first time since morning, what the point of the whole exercise was. They had been standing in the queue outside the temple for close to 6 hours in the soaring temperatures. And from the looks of it, they were condemned to be there for at least another couple of hours.

The temple was the second busiest religious centre in the world after the Vatican and attracted over 12 million people annually. And looking around her, Vatsala was sure all 12 million of them had decided to converge on a single day. Govinda! Govinda!, chanted someone from behind her and the throngs joined in obligingly. Govinda! Govinda!

A few months earlier, Vatsala had been down with a serious bout of jaundice and her mother-in-law had prayed for her recovery. So no sooner was she able to sit, than the family had started planning a pilgrimage. She had mounted a weak opposition. I'm sure the gods will understand if I did not come, she had suggested one night to her husband. Why don't the three of you go and mark attendance for me by proxy? But he was adamant. You don't want to incur the wrath of the gods, he had insisted. So she was left with no choice but to come along.

They had arrived at 2 in the morning only to be confronted with thousands already ahead of them in the queue. And with every passing hour, the crowds had swollen and the lines barely inched ahead. Just as Vatsala was about to give up and collapse with exhaustion, there was a commotion ahead of her. Step aside, step aside, someone was shouting and there was a sudden scramble of people to get out of the way. The orderly arrangement of people a moment ago soon began to disintegrate. A posse of sniffer dogs materialised out of nowhere. Policemen, bristling with authority, promptly appeared behind them. And the crowds, as if jolted out of a stupor, decided to scurry for cover. Bombs, muslims, terrorists. Words came tumbling out at random as no one seemed to have any clear idea.

Soon thereafter they learnt that the temple was to be closed for the rest of the day. And devotees were advised to stay away until further notice. Looks like the Lord will not grant us a darshan this time, sighed her father-in-law as they slowly made their way back to the hotel room. The Lord is punishing us for something we must have done wrong, muttered the mother-in-law who thought of Him in much the same way as her high school maths teacher. Thank you, Lord, thought Vatsala as she lowered her head and grinned with relief. She would have to rejoice in private.

Comments

I love how the Mother-in-Law slots God and her math's teacher together! Lovely :D
Shankari said…
Just back from Tirupati and reading this!


:)
Anonymous said…
Hi,

Here are my words, "Ammani, Shofiend, Neha"..

Nair
Mahadevan said…
The Lord, like a good teacher, can hear the lamentations of the last bencher also.

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Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

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-

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