Temple Under The Filth

I drove slowly into the street, searching for the little Ram Mandir I had heard about from Mrs. Kumar. She had said, “Though it is a small temple, it is clean and pious. You get a calm feeling here.” As I had some time at hand this evening, I decided to explore this little temple I had never visited, though it existed in my neighborhood.

My car inched its way up the street. I followed the directions Mrs. Kumar had given me, yet I could not locate the temple. The only thing that I noticed was the stench. Where was the temple? I drove till the end of the road, turned around and re-did the whole route. But nowhere was a little temple in sight. Was I missing something? That’s when I noticed the tree. It had sacred bits of thread and cloth wound around it. The temple was beside.

I had found it at last… and was I happy? NO!

There below the holy tree lay strewn, garbage in polythene.

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The Holy Tree Outside the temple

Braving myself after what I saw around the temple, I walked inside. The white marble floor felt cool in the evening chill of Delhi. I spotted the priest and asked him why the filth lay around. He said they were the offering that was made the previous day to the deity on the occasion of Chhath puja. I closed my eyes and walked out. There wasn’t an aorta of piousness there.

Celebrations and festivities are something we all look forward to. There are traditionally followed rituals and customs that are adhered to. It sure is the time to pray, eat, and celebrate with family and friends. But why is it that after every festival day, we are unable to cope with the garbage we generate?

This was especially noticeable the day after Diwali. My morning walk was a nightmare that day. I saw strewn all across the pavement and road, in affluent colonies, packets and boxes discarded after the fireworks inside were consumed.

We Indians are very particular about our traditional practices and customary rituals. How I wish we were equally particular in clearing up the muck we generate.

  1. The more I read your blog posts the more I see that you and I think alike. I am also appalled by the littering with plastic bags full of ‘pious’ offerings that I see near temples and especially rivers. It really turns me off.

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