A chaotic experience at Tiruchendur temple

As I head into a temple

Standing tall with its gopuram

Underlining its grandeur and monstrosity

Luring the faithful and the besotted

As an ocean opens its arms

To invite the mighty ships

To sail in its capricious waters

Even the cynical and non-believing

Can’t help but turn their heads

Letting their eyes widen and sharpen

So as to take in, in its full might

The larger than life structure

 

I see a sea of the faithful

Families, men, women and children

United in their sheer awe

Even in their unending journey

Long as the great Nile

Tiring as the Mumbai Marathon

There lies a dream in their eyes

Like they would part with anything

Just for a glimpse of the deity

 

As my eyes take in this mystifying sight

I am suddenly jolted

From the dizzy heights of heaven

To the trough that is earth

As I am forced to part

with my upper layer of clothing

Which I had till then taken for granted

 

With curt sermons and hasty instructions

We are pushed into the chaos

Staggering and stumbling

Among a humongous mass of devotees

Like a packed Virar fast

Into which, getting in

Is worthy of a Nobel Prize

 

As we move, inch by inch

Drops of sweat glistening

Forming a tiny little stream

Snaking down my spine

At the pace of a snail

The sultry evening bearing down on us

Like an eagle on its prey

 

I wonder, if I am in the wrong place

I feel I belong here

As much as a fish belongs

In the murky land

Sapping the life out of it

 

However, Fate has mercy on me

A wrong turn here, a wrong turn there

Our journey comes to an end

 

I sigh with as much relief

As I did in my college days

After passing an entire trimester

 

I wonder what is so special

About the deity in question

That merited this arduous journey

Except that, this experience

Has given me a poem to pen

 

 

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