If you landed on this post while on the lookout for Lovecraftian horror, apologies.
This post is about my city. The city I call home. And a discovery.
20+ years ago, yours truly started walking. And he learnt most of it on the sands of the beaches of the city. And the sands inside that mighty temple. For him, it wasn’t just another temple. It was a play area. The meeting point of elders. A place where old Maamas did their morning/evening walks. Just that their attire always had to be mundu and mel-vastram/veshti. He loved dressing up like that to get inside the place. The small storage area outside the walls of the place where people can store their stuff which were not allowed inside. No one had an issue with the arrangement and people spent the time inside in complete peace.(Even though the gossiping folks had their share of issues of international importance)
The best part he loved about the place were the festivals which used to happen twice a year. One around Diwali and the other, around April. There were a lot of exciting things about it. First, his dad would take him to the eastern entrance so that he can see the huge teakwood statues of Pandavas that are taken out during the time. Another thing he looked forward to, was the procession inside the premises, on every day of the festival. First, a caparisoned elephant carrying a drummer would pass through the huge corridor, announcing the arrival of the King and the deities. A minute or two after the elephant has passed by, a dozen costumed folks pass by, which he believes now, represented the different sections of the society.(craftsmen, soldiers etc) Once this was over. The king would lead the procession. He was followed by a few other members of the royal family and behind them, the deities, carried on palanquins. There would be three of them. This part was what he liked the most.
Because he would see his father fold his hands as a mark of respect when the king passes by. Most of the others would just stand in attention when the king is passing by and fold their hands when the deities pass by. The opposite was done by his father. He learnt more about the glory days of the kings from his father. How the democratic governments ruined what the kings had done. Most of them, works of engineering unimaginable to the modern day civil engineers. His father would also tell him about the articles made of precious metals which the kings would present before the Lord, of whom, they were supposedly mere servants. The simple lives they led. The things they did for art and science.
He took in all he could about the mighty kings, their wealth and their lives.
Fast forward 10 years, he, like all the others in the city, learnt about the precious stones used as decorations on the presiding deity. He felt proud about how it was hidden from the invaders who looted all other parts of the few 1000 odd provinces filled region known as India to them. He was happy that the gems remained in the confines of the stone walls.
Fast forward 10 more years. He finds that a few doors inside the region were being opened for inventorying purposes. What followed was the frantic cries from everywhere about how the wealth should be
destroyed used for good purposes by putting a value to it. A value, which is a joke even on paper. For little do they realize that a 10g bar of gold costs lesser than a 10g necklace of gold. Or do they realize that the funds which are supposed to be used for the good purposes end up in the pockets of those who least deserve it? Charity it seems. The ones who do not spend one rupee from their wallets on charity want the wealth spent on it.
Like the MP from my city said, “It’s easier to do charity when it’s not coming from your own pockets”. I bow to the man.
The city is named after Anantha or the endless one. The city was in a timeless sleep. It has been upset.