I didn't like sitting there alone. It was lonely - one thing. And people were starting to notice that I am alone. THAT, I didn't like. I noticed that the gate we came through is now closed and people were forwarded to the next room. Since this was gonna take some time, I thought it would be better to go out , take my shoes from the place I left it and bring them to the footwear keeping place here. But then I got to know that we are locked in our room. There is no way out. No one can come in and no one can go out. The only way you can go out is from the Darshan route, which, will be open after 9am. After the security checks, people are put in these rooms and kept until the Darshan opens up at 9am. No one is allowed to go back. I can understand this system. It helps to manage the crowd, especially during peak season when it is packed. Otherwise with huge crowds there would be utter chaos.

No where to go, nothing to do, no one to talk with. It was time I made some friends. I saw the man who jumped into my conversation and gave me information on the laddu. He was dressed up well, an elderly man with a beautiful woman with him. The woman had been touched by time passed by, but she was well maintained. When I say maintained I don't mean posh with expensive clothing and cosmetics, but her skin was youthful and her whole look was not worn out and tired like other women. Though she was older, her youth was well preserved. The man and the woman were talking and laughing like a newly married couple. Although, I didn't think they were a newly married couple #1 they are not young #2 the man was much older looking that the woman. Besides, Indian married couples don't laugh and blush like this. They hardly even act like they like eachother in public. But these 2 were clearly flirting with eachother and the woman was blushing every-time the man apparently made a joke and they both laughed. I was at a distance,so I obviously couldn't hear or understand what they were talking about. But still the body language was clearly flirty and very much attracted to eachother. The man would often whisper something to the woman's each and pat on her knee or leg below the knee during the conversation. It was unsual couple behaviour. I honestly thought they were an extra marital couple. An older married man in love with a younger woman and not married to each other. Something like that. I didn't want to be hanging out with them, but since I had already spoken to him and his english is good, I went and talked to him to ask a few more questions to clarify my doubts.

After a little chat he introduced the lady to me. I was being pleasant and didn't show my disgust at this extra marital couple coming to a sacred place like this. It was clearly not any of my business anyway. I just sat next to them, finding refuge from my "alone-ness". To mingle and not be noticed as being alone. The woman couldn't speak English, so didn't talk directly with me. She and I talked through the man who translated everything between us. I was careful not to tell them I am foreign.

The hours didn't go by very fast. I was not sure what was happening or what would happen. So once in a few minutes I would ask the man something and then the rest of the time would avoid them, leaving them in their 'love talk'. But as this 'uncomfortable' conversation went on, [the man was very friendly from the beginning though] he just introduced himself. As in, started talking about him self, his life what he does , about his family and so on. Then only did I find out that this is in fact his real wife for the past 30 odd years! OMG! They are still so much in love like how they were when they first met. They have grown up children and these 2 are grandparents. Since the kids are married and living on their own, these 2 would go visit places as they pleased. He's a retired policeman,they live in Chennai. The wife is originally from Hyderabad and moved to Chennai after marriage. So she spoke Hindi. Then I spoke with her in Hindi and with the man in english and we started having a very nice chat. All throughout, I was kicking myself [in my head] of how narrow minded I had been to judge them. But how sweet it is to see couples growing old and yet the love is still young. As we spent more time together, I started noticing that she in fact must be as old as she claim. There were slight lines showing age when you look very closely. But all in all she is beautiful and youthful. Probably it's their personality. The man is not very serious, he's fun and loving and the woman also go along with his jokes and craziness. She laughs very femininely with shyness and grace and yet has a bubbly spirit. The man [I have forgotten his name though] would tell the 2 of us various information about this temple and Indian stories. They were pleasantly surprised when they found out that I am from Sri Lanka. They had heard about my country as a beautiful place. I told them about my trip, that I am planning to spend the whole month travelling around India. He advised me to be careful and not let any Indians know I am foreign. He said it would be dangerous if people knew I was foreign. Since I had the looks, he told me to just go by as an Indian girl. It is very dangerous to travel in India as an Indian girl as it is, let alone a foreign girl. That was very good advice. They were such nice people.

We had a great time chatting.

Original Post on www.thesathiworld.wordpress.com

Published by SaThi