The massive open theatre was rocking to the foot stomping numbers of Lopez. The crowd was going crazy, when the elegant figure stood poised with her newly colored hair all set to dance to the tunes. I m a single drop in an ocean of fanatics, shouting and jumping to catch a glimpse of J Lo. She just parted her lips, to spell a curse “Waiting for tonight…” the alarm went off ending my beautiful opera, my sleep and her seductive curse. I m not ready for this, waking up around 4.30 a.m. and getting ready to meet Lord Srinivasa Perumal for Vaikunta Ekadasi.
I could see my dad moving with ebbing alacrity and mom dressed in her newly bought green sari. I knew I can’t look for an excuse to hide my head under the pillow. My brains were standing on its hind legs and begging for the dream to continue, but my heart said, “you’ll be stationed somewhere for the next Ekadasi”. With my thoughts still lingering over J Lo, I was ready to pay my visit and get my ticket to heavens. After waging a lone battle, I was forced to pull up my socks.
The enchanting voice of MS Subulakshmi came floating in air, welcoming the devotees to Srinivasa Perumal Temple. The blue lights adoring the temple‘s Gopuram were a treat to our eyes. People thronged in serpent queues, which never seem to have an ending. My dad was happy to experience the agonizing wait, which lay across us. Not much was left for me, than to stand here with my arms crossed across my chest. There s always someone waiting to join our boat, like the girl in front of me, cursing her mother. She was in a white shirt and a skin fit denim jeans.
I didn’t t know that I was staring at her manicured finger nails, but my mom nudged me with her elbows. Oops !!! I was like a kid caught red handed while trying to steal a cookie. Still, she s my mom, smarter than me, she asked, “ Look at you, what’s that in your chin?? Can’t you come shaved?”
“ phew!! Goatee beard ma ! I haven’t come for an interview??”
“ stop your lame excuses! You gotta be disciplined while you come to temple.”
I pointed my finger to the girl standing in front of me,” then please enlighten her”
“stop pointing !!” she was grinding her teeth, furiously. My mom pulled me behind her, putting an end to the little drama.
Tiffs and argument continued as the queue progressed forward at snail’s pace. Hymns of Thirupavai were recited; cries of ‘Govinda! Govinda!” were heard, announcing the opening of Vaikunta Vassal. The crowd went bizarre when the Lord’s procession entered the Vaikunta Vassal. Everyone tried to shove others, losing senses, to step into the corridor of Vaikuntam. Vaikuntam Vassal had two Brahmin priests serving us with theertham and thulasi that tasted great to my parched throat.
After a stunning visual treat of Lord Srinivasa along with Boodevi and Sri Devi dressed in lotus garlands, a temple official gave us sweet pongal. Wow !! It was basked in ghee and fried cashews, teasing my taste buds. When I had a handful of it in my mouth, I knew, anyone could have made me believe that earth was flat. I doubt, if heavens were far away, nope, I don’t think so, perhaps it was sliding down my throat now.