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Harry, Christena, Bengaluru!

November 12, 2014

It’s been a while since I had been to such a place. But I was sure how it would be. Adding coal to fire, my friend had painted in my mind a vivid impression with the description of his last visit to the joint – the loss of self-inhibitions, the jumping jitterbugging people with zombielike personae, the wails of ecstasy coupled with gentle supportive claps by the mesmerized and the gentle jazz like background music with garbled words in an exotic tongue. I am always self-conscious of my movements in the public. But to indulge in such activities in a closed hall crammed with people seemed to alleviate the voyeuristic afflictions of the secretive others. Yet, I decided to go…

The drivers of three-wheeled automobiles in Bengaluru consider themselves to be the descendants of Parthasarathy. However, they are like defective machines, with more (monetary) input than (locomotive) output. But Bangaloreans have adapted to the demands of these practical agents of Yama. The driver wanted a hundred rupees additional to the meter cost or one-and-a-half times the meter cost for transporting four of us to the joint. After much haggling, we came to an agreement and the transport was successful with little or no interventions from the friendly traffic police against our crowded automobile. While the driver wanted an exact change of three Rupees, I demanded, rather unsuccessfully, an exact change of two Rupees in return for a five Rupee note. Well, we don’t get what we want all the time.

Though the joint did not have the looks of a conventional one, it was rather airy and inviting on the outside. Run by an organisation with mystically incomprehensible number of branches all over the world for similarly minded fanatics, the joint was an excellent instance of persnicketiness. Despite the low turnout for experiencing the pleasures of life, we had to move slowly placing our feet in unison to the looped audio instructions in a dull and tired male voice. We were expected to repeat the words audibly heralding our ‘saviour’ from all troubles. I decided to move silently with the queue of men, women and children…

It was time for us to enter the large hall dedicated to gratify our senses. Our targets lay beneath three towers bedecked in kilograms of gold. Three individual and specially constructed rooms housed our objects of attention. Trained faithfuls lifted their hands in the felicity on feasting their eyes on the wondrous contents of the rooms. Various books hailing the philosophy of the institution’s ways of life were displayed for purchase right next to the three magnificent rooms.

Our queue had to pass painstakingly through several stalls selling the organization’s merchandise before we could reach the free medicine alleviating the associated exhaustion. Photos and videos cannot explain or convey our experiences across to a bystander. There were old women climbing over barricades to receive the medication. We could not touch the medication for it might harm the skin and leave temporary indicators of the damage it wreaks. Once our pains were subdued and our minds again straight, we left the joint as we entered it.

While we sat down in the hall containing the three rooms, exhausted and awaiting any miracles, an interesting thought struck my mind –

“While they worship a man bleeding from mortal wounds writhing in pain and close to his Father, we here worship a super Man dancing and playing a flute with women jumping around him in joy.”

And by the way, the final ISKCON prasadham of hot khichdi satiated my hunger like medicine.

Hari Bol in Barcelona followed by Hari Bol in Bengaluru!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Pulomaja Dasgupta permalink
    January 11, 2015 12:43 pm

    such blasphemy, much shame! 😛 “jumping, jitterbug people” (of Bangalore)…i am wondering if poor me, one of the esteemed author’s 3 companions to ISKCON, falls into that category?

    nice writing, by the way! and i’ve finally checked out your blog so u better repay the favour, or else…bad karma, you know!

    Harry Christena! i mean, Hare Krishna! 😉

  2. August 11, 2017 2:58 pm

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