It is not very often that T and me feel the urge to visit God's house. So whenever we do feel it, we keep everything else on the back burner and go there for who knows why God called us. Who knows what goodies are in store for us? I do believe greed and selfishness are two of the reasons (if not main) that make people visit him. So it was that on the cloudy Saturday evening both of us decided to go to a temple near our house. This temple is like a mini mall for gods as is the fashion these days. Its basically a Shani (this God is a paradox, his bad influence is supposed to bring bad times to one but he is also the God who cures people of all problems in life) temple but he shares centre stage also with Ganesha (God with elephant face who is supposed to make any new venture in life go smooth) and Subramanya (my family diety). There is also a special enclave which houses Hanuman (God with the monkey face who is supposed to rid one of fear), Gayathri (the God of the powerful Mantra) and Navagraha (the planets along with the Sun and Moon are also worshipped in Hindu culture because they all are supposed to have a unique influence on one's life). I believe in God and then I believe in Intuition. I get them quite often. And that day was no exception. Take for example the fact that when we both were about to leave our uncle came to visit us. We had to stay for sometime to exchange pleasantries with him. I thought maybe we could go to the temple the next day. But our uncle urged us to carry on. That’s when we discovered that it was raining heavily outside. On hindsight I feel this was an omen. But we decided not to heed it and we started to the temple as soon as the rain slowed to a slight drizzle. When we reached the temple I gasped at the crowd that had gathered there. Saturday being an auspicious day to worship Shani the temple was thronged with devotees. I told T that maybe we should come back the next day since it was so crowded. But he just scoffed at my timidness and we made our way in. Intuition?
There is a light pole in the temple compound which had become the centre of a huge circle of footwear. (One cannot enter a Hindu temple with footwear). We also left our footwear albeit at the periphery of the circle. As I was getting my sandals off I noticed two guys sitting in the shadows near this pole. What I noticed about them was the fact that they were trying very hard to look disinterested. I felt a pang of doubt going through me. Was it intuition? I distinctly felt that they were upto no good. At this point T suggested that maybe we should have a quick darshan of the main God and leave since it was so crowded. But I being the scared-of-offending-God kind felt that I had to say hello to all the Gods before we can leave. T’s intuition. So we first entered the outer enclave with Hanuman etc and took around 5-7 minutes to finish our prayers there. I went to the main temple and stood there searching for T through the crowd. I saw him walking up five minutes later and announcing what the intuitions of the whole evening were leading upto – our sandals were gone. Stolen! The thieves had taken both pairs gone! We went back to the circle (and by this time it had started raining hard) and searched through the umpteen pairs but to no avail. Our Reebok and Woodlands sandals were gone. By then the ringing bells had reached a crescendo implying that the evening puja was coming to an end and the whole thing had a dizzying effect on me. I did not have interest in God anymore. I was standing waiting for the holy water and all I could think of was the lost sandals! God called us for this? He wanted to us to get rid of our very nice sandals? It dint make any sense to me. Once we were out of the temple I felt a little silly at our situation. Both of us barefoot walking in the parking lot and T had to ride his bike barefoot. We decided not to embarrass ourselves by telling folks at home that we lost our footwear in a temple of all places. But as we neared home I felt the need to share this with someone (apart from a victim). We burst into the house and burst out with the story to T’s mother and grandmother. We got the expected reaction. They laughed out loud. They sobered up on hearing the total cost of the sandals though. We lost footwear worth Rs.2500 in one shot! My m-i-l told us not to worry about what we lost. Her reasoning was “Peede hoyithu”( Evil eye has gone). Instead of losing something bigger we lost something small and that’s how God has compensated in his balance sheets. Now everything fell into place and I again started believing in that rare urge that we get to pay a visit to God! Was it an intuition that made me tell my m-i-l? Now I don’t feel so bad any more except like our grandma said "Peede eno hoyithu ashtu costly chapli hogodha?" (The evil eye is gone but should it have taken such expensive footwear?)
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