The Broken Rules

The bus was inching closer towards the destination, taking me away from my Home after a well spent 5 day vacation. I sat there in the last seat, my favorite one, staring blankly at the road, mind clogged with memories. The last seat, the seat where family people and ladies try to avoid, the seat where usually people don’t come and ask you to change to another one so that they can sit with their spouse/fiance/lover. The last seat, the seat of the singles. The bus had halted at a stop. An Activa on the other lane caught my attention. The right indicator was blinking and buzzing and he was moving intelligently towards the left for reason known only to him. BAM. The van driver efforts went in vain, and the guys in bike were on the ground in pain. Fortunately, both the vehicles were slow, and could see that there were no serious damage.

Time for drama!!! An onlooker decided to play the role ofjudge and was questioning the van driver and was giving free session on traffic rules. The van guy was furious, he could have landed behind bars for no fault from his side. We have some weird rules, out of syllabus but very much in practice. If a two wheeler decides to commit suicide by jumping from nowhere, the guy in the four wheeler will be held accountable, even though the car is just parked on the left most side of the road possible. Thankfully the Activa guy accepted it was his mistake and apologized.

Anyway watching all these, i felt like a god (you can imagine a yellow animated ring on top of the head). I had saved atleast three people who wanted to commit suicide in front of my car on three different occassions during the five day vacation. Pure luck. Driving in Madurai had become a challenging and stressful task indeed. It is still hard to believe the rate which traffic in Madurai has grown over the past four years. People who were satisfied with just a two wheeler for the family, now have a bike for the son, scooty for the daughter, activa for the parents and a car for the family. Great!!! No issues, but the traffic sense has been the tortoise slowly inching towards the destination.

So now we have two wheelers drawing Rangoli on road, share autos who sincerely maintain just an inch gap between you and your vehicles, driving in car has never been peaceful like the bike. The rule seems to be simple, keep moving forward and if there is an obstruction move to the left or right without watching the rear view mirror.

With luck in favour of me, managing to drive without action and adventures. While i enjoy each and every bike ride even in traffic, with car it has just been the reverse. You also get the additional responsibility of protecting morons on road. Patience has grown a bit, as i continue to imagine the idiot in front as responsible parent or a studious son or a loving husband or a lover boy running to his little girl, and try not to get tensed by the way they drive. And the learning process seem to continue endlessly.

Trip to Varichiyur

To be exact it should be kunnathoor. Could call it as the only good thing that i did during this vacation, which was destroyed by Diablo, lord of destruction. Coming back to the trip, once again should thank Prabhu anna for interacting with history professor Dr.Venkataraman and inviting us for the trip. This time i thought i went prepared with a scribble pad and a pen which doesn not write!!! So it was once again had to rely on my memory, which i know is a bad option. Anyway will try to list whatever i remember.

Varichiyur is small village near Madurai, around 10-15KM from here. There were two rock cut temples built by Pandiyas around 790AD. Here are a few points gathered from Dr.V’s talk.

* Udayagiri temple will be built always facing the east, usually built for the new king who comes to power.
* As usual, there is a lingam that is scooped out of a single rock.
* There are two dwarapalakas and they have two hands, which means they are a bit older. Later the dwarapalakas, were sculpted with four hands to show that they are not common men.
* Regarding Nandi, looks like the worship of Nandi or the bull started at around 1500BC.
* There is a statue of standing Vinayagar in the front of the temple. Looks like this is supposed to be rare. It is a customary to sculpt a Murugan statue opposite to it. This is missing here. So historians feel that the temple is incomplete.
* Dr.V also talked about the lingam. The lingam is built as a long shaft. I have no clue on how they arrived at the conclusion, but looks the lingam represented Brahma, lord of creation, Vishnu, who protects and Shiva.
* And regarding the dravidians and Aryans, initially people from Persia, came and settled in India and they are the dravidians. Later, people from Europe, drove the aryans to the south and settled in northern part of India, and they are Aryans.
* Later the different sects were formed, where Brahma was ignored and the feminine nature was given importance, forming the sakthi cult.

There is another temple in the west, called asthagiri. So the sun rises in the east, where we have the udayagiri. The whole hill is also considered as a huge lingam. So the sun moves from east to west, having a view of the lingam, and in the west, we have the asthagiri. Asthagiri is built for the old king and the difference is that, it has a arthamandapaa which is a empty space for the king to sit and pray. So a temple can have a Mahamandapaa where the people gather, arthamandapaa for the old king and the sanctum sanctorum or karbagrihaa where the god resides.

After that we visited another rockcut cave in the same hills. This was supposed to be a place where the buddists or jain monks resided. There is also a long cave inside that. One has to crawl if he wants to continue the journey into the cave. Looks like people ventured into the cave forty fifty years ago and from their words, it is believed that there is larger space inside the cave, where around 20 people can sit. He explained a bit about the inscriptions there, which he had also deciphered.

Everytime i hear his lecture about the idols, my belief that it was nature that was worshipped as god by men doubles and the athiestic feeling increases, and free time is wasted thinking about it.

Would suggest referring to Prabhu anna’s blog entry for further details. He was the one who had written some points from what Dr.V said, so might have accurate and missed out details of this post.

Anyway altogether it was a good trip, informative and the only reason i woke up at 5.00 during two weeks of my vacation.

Few Updates from Madurai..

Had never seen so much crowd at a single place in Madurai. It was totally packed. Though there were squads to control the crowd, they were of little help as the crowd wandered as per their wish. A large group of paati’s caught a corner and were resting along with their grand daughters, unwilling to enter the crowd. They resembled like a few old protesters gathered to fight for their rights. From their face it was fully evident that they were tired. One could easily lose their kids in the crowd. It had brought together people from all around Madurai. I would not be surprised if it was some festival in temple or something, when you come across such site inside a garment shop, i was a bit surprised. That too in Madurai, where i had shopped peacefully, where shop owners usually invite with a gentle smile. All this happens inside Pothys, which has opened a new outlet in Madurai.

First visit was by mistake and alacrity to see the new shop. Last week, wanted to test it once again, to see whether it can tried. Had spent some time thinking over it and came up with the idea of visiting the shop in the afternoon hoping sun would help us in keeping people at home. But we were wrong. For once again, we were forced to waddle through the crowd. This is the first time i have seen so much crowd concentrated in one shop, not sure whether it is my ignorance or it is actually uncommon. Is it the name or the advertisement or curiostiy or the escalator that has attracted the crowd, i am not sure. But it wont be favourite shopping spot till i hear some positive update. Anyway they seem to be doing a good business there, and is evident from the shop’s bags and plastic covers that can be seen with most of the people. So how are other shops doing ? God only knows.