01st March 2016

After the most wonderful experience of being inside the Tirupati Tirumala Golden Mandir, the ques were directed through corridors towards the outside. While going on this route, we were given what we call in Singhalese “muluthen bath” or in Hindi “prasad”. It's rice made in the temple given to pilgrims. It is given in Hindu temples [Kovils] in Sri Lanka too, that is why I am familiar with it. This rice is cooked differently. It is a sweet rice made adding milk, sugar, nuts and dried grapes [sultana]. It is delicious! I've always loved it when I got them in Sri Lanka and love the Indian version given at this temple too. Everyone got a big portion served in a saucer sort of thing made out of dried tree leaves. It is similar to what you get gravy or pani puri on the streets of India. A sadu served it to all people, for free ofcourse. The 3 of us found a quiet place and ate it. Ooh I really enjoy this part. Even if nothing else, the whole trip was worth it to have this! The gentleman I met and his wife asked if I saw the God well. Ofcourse I did! I was standing right in front, thanks to them. They wanted to know if I made the wish to find a good husband. I just smiled. They said they wished it for me :) such sweet people. Being single for way past 30 years, I wish to find a husband for sure. But at this moment, I wished for my whole family. For everyone's wishes to come true, not only for myself.

We were happy as how things turned out. Then after eating, the couple took me along with the rest of the crowd showing me the rest of the Kovil. The gent explained things and showed me things not to miss. It's still a beautiful place and my heart is filled with so much bliss. Yes, bliss, that is what I said. It was such a happy feeling and spiritual too. There are rituals that people do. I also followed a few as the couple instructed. I could see many families shaving their heads off – mother , father and children alike. Apparently it is a form of puja. It was odd to see women with shaven heads.

Once the tour in the mandir was over and we were out, the lady said something to her husband. I didn't understand. The husband asked me if I was tired, or if could go on. Ofcourse I was up from whatever, and been traveling, but, I had energy. The husband said, that since it is less crowded today, the wife wants to go another round to see the God again. If I am too tired and want to go I could, they would rejoin the que. I was like 'OK' no problem with me! They were surprised to see my enthusiasm. Hey, I had no where else to go. I came all the way to Tirupathi, and I didn't mind going on the route for a second time. I had nothing better to do, really. The couple was excited. We went back to where we started, the place that did the initial security checks.

Now that it's daylight, I am noticing many things I missed before. This place is nice actually. There are 2 security checks at this entrance. This time I entered through the other security check and not the one I went through before. I went through the ladies' security check. Bags checked, no phones or electrical items to handover so all clear. At the body check the 'wife' went before me. The lady securities who checked me didn't allow me to go further. I was like “what's going on?”. They said in Hindi “ you can't go without dupatta [shawl]”. Huh? But I already went in once and now I'm going for the second time. “But miss, it is not allowed to go inside without dupatta or proper attire”. I was in jeans and t-shirt. I was concerned of this the 'first time' I went in, but, since everything went smoothly I didn't think it was a matter of concern. Apparently it is. The 'wife' also came back seeing something was wrong and inquired. She also told the security ladies that we already went in once. But the security was strict. The 'wife' protested and I told her to stop. “It's ok I already saw it once, I don't mind. You go ahead”. then I gave her my laddu ticket to get my laddus too. “I will meet you at the exit”. She was disappointed and sad that I couldn't join them for the second time. I don't know why I didn't take their telephone number. Since I didn't have my phone, I couldn't even take a picture with them. But hey, I can do that once we meet at the exit. Right now I am just glad that I got to go inside the temple one time even with all these regulations and tight security. What if it had happened the first time? My whole trip would have been in vain. Maybe there IS a God and this is a sign. God gave me a chance because of my dedication and determination and basically just raw guts to come all the way here alone. But he just didn't want me to push my luck ;-)

I walked out. The male securities at the outside said seeing my disappointment turning back, “you are not allowed to go in without dupatta”. I told him I went once. Asked him for directions how to go out and he showed me. Since it was day time, seeing everything made me lost. Since I came in the darkness, now with everything in sight, it was confusing. As I went back on the same route I came, it was nice to see the things I missed in the dark.

Coming out of the kovil, first thing to do was to get my shoes! I wasn't sure if they were still there. Maybe someone has already taken them and I am to go to Tirupathi town bare-feet! I went there as soon as I could. No one was there at the shoes counter. The door was open. All shoes were exactly where they had been placed. Unbelievable! Shoes don't get lost! Wow! Impressed! I guess no one wants to see the world in another's shoes. I mean, all those who come here are ones who pray to God, so maybe the next man has more problems than me. Maybe my life is much better as it is than to get into another person's life. Anyway, I was glad to find my shoes.

Then next thing is to get my phone. Didn't know where I was supposed to get it from. Followed the signs that mentioned about the phones, electrical items collecting. Then, I was out completely. There were shops to buy souvenirs. Bought earrings [they are on sale in my shop page]. Got a good bargain there. When I was going to get lost in the bangles and all the stuff that was there to sell, my conscious reminded me of my phone. That should be my priority. I can shop later. Asked the shop keeper for the directions to the phone collecting place. It was tricky, but I found the place. A big place outside of the temple, just for keeping all the electronic items that is collected per day. Wow, that gave me a glimpse of how much crowd this place must be seeing everyday. The inside was like a railway ticket counter, and similar in size too. Once I gave my ticket, the man there went in and brought my phone. Everything has an order, cool. Before leaving the place I checked if it was really my phone and that it was working well.

I came outside and in front of the main entrance. Everything is so unfamiliar in the day light. But, these are the same places I passed and went through when I was going in at 4 in the morning.

There was a big tree in front of the main gate and a short wall was built around it. It was the road, so there was no where to stay or sit. But people were seated on this half wall.

I too sat there and waited for the couple...


Original Post on www.thesathiworld.wordpress.com

Published by SaThi