Saturday, February 4, 2012


As I grow older, I become more phobic. I have fears about crowds, about heights, about doing mathematics. I have conquered at least some of these fears - going to India certainly helped. If one fears crowds one shouldn't go to India, period. We went to the bustling vibrant town of Chidambarran. A magnificent temple is in the center of the town and all of the daily (and nightly) life takes place in and immediately in and around the temple. Siva is the deity here, and for thousands of years the Dikshita priests have carried out the ceremonies. Once a year Siva is taken out of his home, bathed, clothed, placed in a massive chariot and taken around the town. Taken is the wrong word. His massive stone chariot rests on enormous wheels of stone. The chariot is pulled by hundreds and thousands of pilgrims who pull the thick sisal ropes which move the chariot along the streets. They are the driving force, the motor. We arrived in Chidambarram specially for this ceremony. With my fear of crowds I find myself running barefoot over stones, dust, and asphalt trying to keep up with yatris (fellow spiritual travellers) running ahead of me. We are all trying to keep up with someone familiar ahead of us and we clutch each others' arms and scarves. We are in a swirling sea of excited Indian pilgrims. My fear of crowds dissipates and I joyfully merge into the ecstatic throng. My fear of heights I overcame on my last trip to the north when we had to walk across flimsy bridges over a swollen Ganges. So - I have a fear of computers and digital devices in general. In a terrible state of jetlag in Singapore I bought an iPad! My fogged thinking was that it would be really convenient to take to restaurants and cafes and blog and write. II shlepped my burgeoning amount of devices to work, but there we do not have access to wi-fi!!!!!!! Imagine that. My nights have been busy trying to read manuals. I went to the Apple store and got some advice. All seems so very easy and obvious when one is instructed by a chirpy youngster. However, I get home and don't know what on earth I nodded yes to so happily! But here I am, it is Saturday, and I'm in a cafe and it is working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yahoo.

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