Wednesday, July 8, 2009

3. m

On the way back, we felt a sharp aching in our bellies and we had to thrust something down our food pipes to defeat it. Smoke had burnt down all that we had in our bellies, making the trip stronger for us. There was a fierce urgency of gobbling something NOW!

The arsehole of the world has a peculiarity about its shops. They close down at eight thirty post meridian. After that, every inhabitant of the arsehole is left to struggle with his own destiny even if they need a matchstick. One has to come to the Chowk, where all shops close at nine thirty post meridian or has to go to the adjoining town at a distance of ten minutes form the Chowk.

We sought for the most probable places which would be open at the moment. We found each one of them closed. A fear began building amongst us. Everywhere we would go, we would find shops closed. We wouldn’t find anything to eat. We would have to seek for every shop in the Arsehole and find it closed. We won’t find anything to eat. The ache in the belly would grow and we would have the worst craving for food of our lives. Then slowly the ache would grow and suck everything in. First our gall bladder, then our pancreas, then our liver, then our lungs, then our tongue, then our teeth, our eyes, our intestines, our bladder and finally our hearts. Everything would stuff the belly up and then begin churning. The dilute Hydrochoric Acid would be released in our belly and each of these parts would dissolve into it. And we would obviously die in absence of each of these body parts. We remembered the references and incidents which fortified this fact further.

We desperately kept finding for a shop to eat. And we were persistently finding each one of them closed. We went frantic over food.

“What now?”
“I don’t know”
“What if we don’t get anything to eat?”
“We will die”
“I don’t want to die”
“Me neither”

It wasn’t important who said this to whom. Both of us were in the same state of mind and body. So the conversation could be looked at from both the sides.

But God is a powerful being. Or luck is a strong factor. Or co-incidence is a greatest trick of time. Or whatsoever.

Piyush’s vehicle stood after taking three jerks before a temple. The jerks which a vehicle takes if you ride it on a slow speed at a high gear.

“We need something to eat…”
“We will get it here…”
“How? praying?”
“No…by pretending to pray”
“But the god won’t listen to our pretended prayer…”
“But the priest would…”
“Yes…I think so..”
“And he’d give us Prasad!”
“Bloody Bhenchod…What a magnificient idea!!...he will save us from dying!”
“Yes…what do you say then?”
“Let’s pretend to pray”

He parked his motorbike out side the temple. I realised it was the same temple, the voices from which could be heard as we sat on the Rock of Loneliness.
We entered the temple. On the right of the temple there was a small lake of people sitting as if prepared for a discourse. And before them stood a lone microphone. We crossed the next door. And we saw the god.

We saw two black stone idols, dressed and garlanded. A god and his soulmate. Both stood close to each other with their hands on their waists. The way parents look at the mischief of their toddler. They stood as if they were looking at the world with distress and were about to question each one of them who were responsible for the ruckus.

I moved closer to them. They looked at me through their stone eyes. The couple from Pandharpur. The guardians of countless saints and followers. The inspiration of innumerable pages of poetry. And the reason for largest sacrifices. The couple behind the miracle that shaped the generations and minds of Maharashtrians. The parents whom their kids meet twice a year, walking over a distance of hundreds of kilometres from every corner of Maharshtra. The Vithoba and the Rakhumai of Pandharpur. The love of millions of Warkaris. The hope of and resort of the numerous distressed souls. The Marathi face of Vishnu. The Ghati incarnation of the Krishna. I closed my eyes and a voice rose to the skies.

“Pundalik Varda….Haare Vithhal”

Hundreds of cymbals rattled in synch with each other. A strong voice overcame them and sang aloud.

“Hari mukhe mhana…Hari mukhe mhana….punyachi ganana koan kari”

‘Sing the god’s word…sing the god’s word…for your deeds are counted’ A verse from the Dnyaneshwari. The abridged version of Bhagvad Geeta written by a great saint Dnyaneshwar at the raw age of twenty. Almost my age. A Geeta for the common men in Maharashtra.

I opened my eyes. I saw Piyush greedily shoving the bananas from Prasad into his oral cavity. I walked past him. He didn’t seem to notice. He didn’t seem to care.
I walked towards the voice. I saw an army of white kurta, dhoti and large turban clad men with cymbals in their hands. Ringing them in unanimity. They raised to crescendo as I approached near. And suddenly they stopped. One amongst them took his flute to his lips and played it aloud. It filled my ears.

A sudden voltage fluctuation turned the mercury lights blue. Spreading a blue gleam over us. Their clothes seemed blue and my body. One of the cymbal men came to me and placed a peacock feather in my pocket.

They all turned to me and began singing.

“Hari mukhe mhana…Hari mukhe mhana….punyachi ganana koan kari”

‘Sing the god’s word…sing the god’s word…for your deeds are counted’