Offend the Deafened

STATUTORY WARNING : This post may offend those who believe in organized religion. However, I wish that you read on. Because getting offended is what unites all of you.

I had gone on a weekend get away with my friends a week ago. It was to a hill station initially, but the lack of decent enough places to see and the “coolness” factor forced us to get out of the place a couple of hours after we reached there. We decided to do a triangle instead, heading for the “holy” city of Haridwar. The culture of the city is colourful and captivating. What I don’t like, however, is the abuse that the beautiful Ganges has to endure for the eccentricities of those who worship her. Humanity has this incredible knack of destroying what it adores anyway. The difference is heavily evident between the river at the foothills at Rishikesh and in the plains in Haridwar, hardly 20 km from each other. Of course, the damage starts at the former, with every Tom, Dick and Harry who has nothing to do in life attained enlightenment starting what is called an Ashram on the banks along with a bathing area, where people do all sorts of things. Except probably bathing.

We decided to have breakfast in a canteen associated with one of the “spiritual” tourism destinations, a mini-city of sorts where people can stay for a few days. What was appalling was the attitude of the staff there. First, they made everyone wait half an hour more for what is a paid service. Secondly, they really had that sarkari baby air about them. More like, “We get paid anyway. Who gives a heck about the service we provide?”.

While in a temple town, one is supposed to visit temples. We decided to visit one on one of the hills. I tagged along because it would be fun to see the town from so high up. And put my energy levels to test with the waiting in the crowd. There is a cable car service to get there, for the ones with not enough energy/time to get to the top. Normally, I will be comfortable inside a place of worship, irrespective of its origin, what people do there etc. The turn-offs for me however, are the signboards/messages that are posted for the ones who visit the place. Importantly, the ones which give instructions. To give you some samples :

  • Visit the other temple, hardly a couple of kilometers from this place. Isn’t this religious marketing, if I may use the term? As if it were wine and food. These two complement each other well, so we recommend that you take the two. Pardon me for the pathetic simile ever.
  • Beware of pick pockets. First of all, you are a pompous show off if you visit a very crowded place like a walking ATM or a jewellery shop. On second thoughts, I think the warning is for such people, who are not mentally developed enough to realize the consequences of such a risk. However, I thought that God would watch over them, at least in the places where they were installed.
  • Don’t Reuse the Offerings that have already been made. This blatantly declares that “We are a capitalist market. We need profits. Recycling can go and cry in a corner.” Alternatively, it could also mean that God hates recycling. Now you know why most of mankind is averse to that too, don’t you?

We had to wait a long time to get our turn at using the cable car, to and from the temple. Add to that, the time spent waiting to catch a glimpse of the idol amidst the sacred chants of the, wait for it, security staff “Chalte raho, chalte raho”(Which doesn’t mean “God Bless You” and in fact, means “Keep moving”). I have been called a crazy junkie for standing long hours to catch metal gigs. The longest being close to 9 hours for Metallica. The significant difference being that I get to see bands playing for 2-4 hours. And no one asks me to get out of the venue after one song. That, I pay for a ticket is a different thing. But then, I have one word for you. Tirupati.


About V
A software developer by profession, Milcom is a football lover and considers music as his religion. While he is not working, he likes reading blogs, listening to music, reading novels or simply sitting idle, in which he is a world champion.

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