Chaotic Thoughts · Photography

Loud Conversations And A Quiet One

Last week we went to Santala Devi’s temple.

Ms Teen had experienced the divine power of the goddess, ‘an impossible wish that came true‘. Hence she wanted a darshan. Was it another favour or just an excuse to get out of the house, she wouldn’t say.

The Government had unrolled  Unlock 5 Guidelines but home was still a detention center.

What better than visiting the abode of the hill goddess! You cannot go wrong appealing to the spiritual side, in these troubled times.

Temple bell hanging wrapped in red gauze cloth to prevent touch
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”             -Leonard Cohen

I was excited to be out and the early October chill was refreshing.

The steep climb on the other hand was a killer for my couch potato body. I wheezed like an asthmatic patient every ten steps. The jumping gazelles accompanying me were especially concerned about my flushed face.

You are tomato red!

Can you walk or do you need a push?

“Starting today, October is your Fitness Challenge month!”

I heard them and my creaking joints and pounding heart.

We made it to the top without any mishaps.

The temple bells were wrapped in multiple red gauze like cloth. Perhaps to impede the spread of the virus through touch. It was an unusual sight so I had to take a picture (the first one). By the way, the bell rang just fine.

A sanitizer bottle stood on a stand inside the temple while the prasad sellers had their own. Corona caution was unmistakable. We were under divine protection but one could never be too careful. The masks were firmly snapped in place.

Thankfully, the way we communicated with the diety remained unchanged. Santala Devi, the embodiment of Shakti, looked on unblinking as we offered her our prayers and prasad. Many other gods and goddesses outside her shrine jostled for our attention and agarbattis (incense sticks). I saw a tiny Laughing Buddha too sharing their space.

In the compound, tinsel laced, red streams of the same gauzy cloth hung from a ‘make a wish’ banyan tree. Its boughs were laden with countless ones.

You have to come back and untie if your wish comes true”, my mother told me the last time we were there.

I didn’t then. I was once again not sure when I’d be back.

We bowed and prayed instead.

Somehow I am sure that even without the red knots, the lines of communication were open. The gods heard us alright.

Banyan tree with red cloth tied as prayers and wishes to be fulfilled
“Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.” – Gustave Flaubert

Inspired by Lens- Artists Challenge : Communication

24 thoughts on “Loud Conversations And A Quiet One

  1. I would love to visit the place but as you said as long as there is an open line of communication, the rest doesn’t matter.
    So visited the place through you and had a good ‘darshan’.
    Thanks for the spiritual tour:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a memorable climb, Manjari. Was visiting a temple for the first time since the lockdown and this particular one, after a year. Therefore you can imagine my enthusiasm. It was physically as well as spiritually rejuvenating.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting look into some of the rituals we do not have here Sheetal! Unfortunately here in the U.S. it is not true that “you can’t go wrong” being spiritual. Many churches early on declared that they would be protected when gathering in churches for prayer. Sadly several became super-spreader events and attendance is now either cancelled or limited by pandemic spacing rules. How lovely to be able to make a spiritual visit outdoors!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tina ! Trust you to always look beyond the usual written word . You are absolutely right about religious places turning into super spreader events. I was terrified as well and therefore this crack of dawn visit materialized. News of happening in other countries has reached us and it is already giving the Indian Government the heebie-jeebies what with the festive period culminating in Diwali begins tomorrow. Appeals have been made and a whole lot of politics stirred in the mix. In India you cannot keep the two separate. Anyway , wishing health and happiness to your family and you. Stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann- Christine , your words literally had me twirling in sheer delight. That by far has been one of the loveliest comments ever for my writing. Thank you . It means a great deal to me. 😊

      Like

    1. That’s the beauty of Hinduism, Patti . We worship nature, have so many gods and goddesses with room for some more. There are innumerable traditions unique to each god. Tying the scarf fills you with positivity and hope for the future. Happy you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

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