01st March 2016

I was seated on the half wall outside the gate of Tirupathi Kovil. Waiting for the couple who helped me so much, throughout the entire Darshan. Even if nothing else, I had to thank them for the great help they did, taking care of me and everything. I didn't take their phone number so I had no way of contacting them. Besides, the Kovil collects all electronic items, so I can't contact them anyway. I really wanted to keep in touch with them even after I come back to Sri Lanka, and also wanted to mention them in my blog. They introduced themselves to me but, I cannot remember their names. I roughly calculated the time that would take them to go through the Darshan once again and come out to where I am. Since the gates to the Darshan is open, there won't be a 4 hour wait, so it would be just the time to go through the queue and come out. The queue also would be less by now as most of the people went to the Darshan in the morning. It would take at least one hour or something. While I was seated there, there were other Indian people also. Of course. And seated next to me was this family. When Indian families go on pilgrims, it's like the entire village. Since I was seated right in the middle, they were on either side of me. They were speaking in Hindi, but not the complete Hindi but had a different accent and dialect. I could understand what they were saying as a whole. Just pretended not to be eves dropping or understanding. I don't think they thought of me as a tourist. They must have thought I am Indian too. They were obviously loud, but not too trouble making or did not inconvenience me much. The boys were teasing the girls and the elders were laughing. At one point during their laughter, one of the guys knocked on me. By now I knew the way of behaviour when in India. Men would “accidentally” knock on you and if you just ignore or do not react, then they would try to take advantage of the situation and become a complete nuisance. The proper way of avoiding this is to always keep your guard up and be utterly rude. This I learnt from going in the buses in Chennai. The women are strong and don't let men take you as a joke. Even if a man knocks on you as an honest mistake, women would give a killing stare and sometimes even shouts at them. Therefore, men are a little cautious of making such mistakes let alone doing it on purpose. But, when it is someone who stands out like a sore thumb, someone who is different from the rest of the crowd and clearly look like not from the neighbourhood, they would try their luck. So, when the teen-aged boy knocked on me, I gave him the “killer” stare copying the Indian women and quickly moved a little away from him. He was like “ oh sorry sorry, don't think anything bad, it was an honest mistake. This is the place of the God, this is Tirupathi, I wouldn't come to this holy place and do bad things, don't think anything bad...” and went on and on with apologizing and justifying and protesting. Of course. he felt embarrassed as the ladies in his group giggled at what happened. But, it wouldn't have been so if I hadn't reacted in that manner. So the lesson here is, even if you know that the man did it as an honest mistake, just react and show your disapproval. After the incidence, the group was less louder and was more concerned about me sitting there in the middle.

After waiting there for about 30 minutes. Was getting tired and bored. I was the only person there with no one to talk to. The souvenir shops were just there, so I thought I would just do some shopping and hang around the place until they came. Whoever who went in had to come out from there. The mobile collecting place is there, so the couple would have to come there anyway. I went to the shops and still made sure to keep an eye on for the couple. They wouldn't be so hard to spot. I spent the past 6 hours or so with them, so for sure I can't miss them.

Indian street shops never stops fascinating me. They are so amazing with their enormous variety of things to sell. I always feel like a child let lose in an ice cream store. The bangles are my favourite. I have made a pact with my self that, where-ever in India I go to, I mean to whatever state I go to, I would buy bangles from that place. That would be my souvenir from that place. By the end of my trips I would have my hands filled with various bangles from all over India. I love love love bangles. The love started during the time I was studying in India. and now it's just continuing. So I was checking out bangles to buy. I have so many bangles at home,so I had to get bangles of colours I don't already have. Drowning in bangles could be my new habit. When in India. I really can get used to it. I bought bangles and also souvenirs of the Tirupathi God to take home to give out to family members and friends [things I bought in Tirupathi are available in my SHOP page].

Then after some window shopping I remembered that I had not taken any pictures of this place. There was no proof that I was ever here. So I went back to the entrance of the Kovil, where the Golden temple is seen so beautifully at a distance. Took pictures there. The area was filled with people singing 'bajan' holy choir, praising the lord. It was like a variety show outside the temple, with people singing and others dancing to the tune and all that. In the midst of it all, vendors selling souvenirs of Tirupathi. When I type this, it does sound like chaos, but its not. In fact it was a nice environment. The songs lifted the spirits and made it come to life. Now seeing the Golden temple from the entrance taking pictures, seeing pilgrims in their holy attire, bald headed, people singing praise, dancing all that combined together was a nice atmosphere.

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Seeing all of this in the daylight it was nice. This temple is situated indeed in a very beautiful location. After taking pictures I wanted to record the dancing and singing of the devotees. I was doing that with my phone SONY XPERIA E4. While I was doing that, something went wrong , as if the phone was confused. And then it was stuck. The touch screen was not working. It wouldn't respond. It had gone to automatic lock and now I can't activate it. No more video recording, no more picture taking. I couldn't even switch it off. So didn't try to do much as I wanted to save the battery power.

Again back to my spot at the gate and the half wall, I waited for the couple. Been waiting a while but couldn't see them. Then maybe I have missed them. They must have gone by now as it had given them ample time to see the temple and come back. No point waiting any longer. Besides, since I have cancelled my return bus ticket, now I have to find a bus to go back to Chennai too. Again even on the outside, in the daylight, everything was confusing because when I came it was dark. Crossed the road and asked a man how to get the bus back to Tirupathi town. He said the bus stand is just there, showing me with his hand directed towards a short distance right behind me. I was in the middle of everything all this time. And this is the same bus stop I got down at when I came here. Took a bus back to Tirupathi town. The view was beautiful, coming down the hill. Too bad my phone is broken and I can't take any pictures. The weather was also nice and soothing, not too hot. It took about an hour to come to Tirupathi town. Went straight to the hotel I was staying at the night before, to collect my refundable deposit.

Had to wait some time to collect it after the staff contemplated a while whether or not giving my deposit back. Well, it was as if they were not expecting me to come back to collect it. Anyhow, after quite a wait, they finally gave my refund and I was off to the bus halt just across the road of the hotel.

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the detailed bill at Hotel Vikram which I got after requesting for one :S

There are many buses going to Chennai, so it wasn't very difficult getting into one.

On my way back I was happy about the entire journey here, and glad I came. A little sad for not being able to say a proper goodbye to the couple :(

 

Original Post on www.thesathiworld.wordpress.com