"What is there to see around here?" I ask.
"See madam? Well, nothing really madam. Its just a sober town" the guy behind the counter replies. I was beginning to hate guys behind counters.
"Nothingggg?" I persist.
"Well, there are a few temples around but you would not be too interested, I presume" he concluded.
I walked upto a mirror and took a good look at myself, I felt his eyes trail me. I returned to the counter, "well, you presume wrong!"
He did actually presume right. But I was not keen to be received as predictable. I thought Indian cricket matches are the proud owners of that honour. I would hate to discredit them.
At this point, meet Mr. Ramanna. For the reminder of the tour, a key figure. Ramanna was a middle aged driver who had trouble figuring out why I was there. Sure, he could make out that I was there to see the place, but he had trouble understanding why. The staff told him something in the native language, to which he nodded honestly. I presumed he told him that I was a young lady, seeking the blessings of the Almighty for a hastened and prosperous hand in matrimony. Well, I presumed. He was wrong, anyway.
I am not a fervent theist to be honest. I dislike visiting temples. You will never get me to go to one even if Eddie Vadder was the priest in there. Okay, that was a lie. Anything for Eddie. But the point, the point is that I was doing something against tradition. Ironical, but true. I was going on a temple tour. For some strange reason, I did not resist much. May be because there was no one to force. Hmm.
Theology apart, the temples were interesting structures. They were these entire round pagoda like architectures, with the idol at its center. A couple of interesting notes follow.
There was one at this place called Madhur, which greets with this sign right up front, "Admission restricted only for Hindus". I had a laugh, but I could see no point in the moral high ground I was assuming. I was in a temple, for gossake! What could be more foolish- a sign as such or an action of accepting a spiritual entity as an owner?
There is an interesting tale for this one temple in Udupi. Apparently, long ago a few devotees were stalled from seeing the idol for some bureaucratic reason. So they start singing at one of the walls of the temple. Lo and behold! The statue makes a sweet ninety degree turn to face the singer. Now, there’s a real Indian Idol.
There were few more I visited but soon I got bored. Well, I believe in omnipotence of God, afterall. In other local visitations, Ramanna showed me something called the Baikal Fort. A very important incident occurred here apart from Arvind Swamy singing Tu hi re.. in Bombay. That being a certain jump off a seven foot wall by moi. The applause may die now, please.. because the result of this death defying dare devilry was a sprained foot. What can I say, two falls in three days!
So for the next two days, I had my foot up, watching waves crash on a beach somewhere on the shores of Arabian Sea. Atleast that’s what that sign said.