Pic: Entrance to the EME temple.
Can you believe it? Everyday, during my month-long vacation, I got up at 430-500 AM. And, I did not set any alarm. Be it courtesy of either the nose getting blocked or a headache or a bad dream or the urge to purge, etc- but, I’d be up at the same time daily. That’s what faith does, I’d say, since the prayers at the EME Temple would be at 545 AM and I just had to be on time to attend them.
Pic: The Temple. What is unique about it is that it "is a symbol of communal harmony and composite culture of India with the main deity, Shiva, in the Gyana Dakshina Murthy form. The four entrance doors are made in semi-elliptical shape representing the Jain religion. The Sabhamandap(Prayer Hall) in the shape of geodestic dome represents Islam. The structure of golden colour on top of the dome bears resemblance to those used in various Buddhist monuments. The 22 meter high tower represents Christianity and the ‘Kalash’ on top of the tower represents Hinduism."
On days when I walked briskly into the temple premises, I’d have rookies(would be army-men) in and around the temple campus saluting me smartly, no doubt being unaware of who their senior officers were. Hence, rather than risk getting a reprimand from them for not saluting, they’d salute anyone who looked like an Officer.(Ahem)
One of the two retired Uncles who used to come regularly for these prayers (In fact, both have been coming there since years) made me wonder whether I’d have his level of enthusiasm when I reached his age. (Efficient listener that I am, he told be a lot about himself, right from his name being RCP, his being in the Faculty of Science in Baroda’s MS Univ, there being five other people with exactly the same name in the university at that time, his having retired in 1994, one of his sons being my age, etc.)
Now, this Uncle had a unique way of incorporating his temple visits with his morning exercises. First, before entering the grounds (There’s a big lawn, there’s a place for taking off shoes, and then there’s the temple premises), he would do his stretching exercises for 5 minutes. Then, some side thrusts, at the same time looking at God’s image(s). He’d also begin jogging in place. (hehe..this was the most unusual). Then, while the ‘Om Jai Jagdish’ prayers were being sung, he’d move his arms totally to the sides at 180 degrees angle, and then bring them together as a clap . He told me that it’s quite sad that others don’t do this as a way of exercise. Hehe.
After the prayers, I’d go off on my morning walk of @ 40 minutes to one hour(It was too humid to walk more than that), round Fatehgunj. On the way, I’d stop at this tea stall guy’s larri, for a cuppa ‘special tea’.(Special tea, in Gujarat, means the milk is more than ½ the cup and boiled once (Instead of being 1/5th the cup and boiled umpteen times, as is for the ‘usual’ cup) which he serves, and it also has adrak(ginger) and it’s made separately, instead of being served from the umpteen-times-boiled tea which they serve. The price is also special(double), but, it’s worth it.
One day, I did go to the Sayaji park walking track, and enjoyed the sounds of the birds and the animals. But, it felt like walking on a busy Mumbai street at peak hours, there are so many people now, out walking at the same time. Some walk in teams, chitchatting away, others discuss their business even at that hour, while others carry their cellphones and keep staring at them, wondering why they don’t ring.
So, overall, quite a nice 5 AM to 715 AM routine, daily. I’m missing it already.
There are 4-5 FM channels in Baroda now. On one of them, the FM radio RJs give traffic updates just like they do here in Dubai. One day, I was listening to their update, and heard’ On the roads, there does not seem to be a traffic jam anywhere. However, near the University tea stall, there definitely is a queue of people lined up for their morning cuppa. Couldn’t help smiling at that one..
Righto then...till the next post,which'll be very soon, Cheers and Take Care!