Thursday, February 09, 2006


This post is actually a discussion that I had in Kavitha's blog on temples, but, I guess, is interesting enough to be a post in itself. It is about my visit to a historic temple, the first one after my stay in a foreign land which made me realise that temples in India, especially the ancient ones, are more than just places where you pray for your wishes to come true. This temple is special in that way because, during my visit I relived a short life with the belief system, priorities and way of life of our ancestors. It is a not life of faith, but a quest for the realisation of the absolute truth. It is a life of attaining eternal greatness by discipline.

Tiruvidavaenthai is more commonly known as Tiruvidanthai. It is on the East Coast Road, about 7-10 km from Tiruvanmiyur, Chennai. That is if my math is not too bad. The temple is one of the 108 Tirupathi's of Lord Vishnu. Its sanctum sanctorium has Lord Vishnu as Nitya Kalyana Perumal. He gives darshan as a Varaham. He holds Komalavalli Thayar on his left thigh balancing his left feet on Adiseshan. Pretty amazing! It also has a separate Sannidhi (as I am used to call it) for Komalavalli Thayar in her full bridal costume.

The story behind his name is also interesting. In Tiruvidanthai, lived a saint called Kavala Muni with his daughters. 360 of them! He prayed for the lord to marry them, and the Lord kindly obliged, marrying one each day, for a year. Thus the name Nitya Kalyana Perumal. At the end of the year, he merged all into one Komalavalli thayar.

The temple is very good and I guess is one of the temples better protected by the Archeological Survey of India. The outer walls of the sanctum are still inscribed with Tamil, clearly of the (g)olden days. Though I couldn't understand any (and I consider myself not too bad in reading Tamil). What else? There is a shed, possibly for the Ther, right after the Dwajasthampam (the flag made out of stone, if I may say so). Its actually pretty dilapidated. And there were two mandapams, one right at the outer entrance, and one to the left of the Dwajasthampan as you enter the outer entrance. To the right was more facts by ASI about the kings who ruled when it was constructed and other interesting things that I dutifuly forgot.

The temple's tank is about a five minute walk down the approach road from the temple. It is reasonably big. Honestly, I didn't have a chance to stop and look if the tank is any good. But the temple sure is very peaceful. No disrespects, but I would any day prefer Tiruvidanthai to any other Divya desam, or for that matter a temple, which may be more crowded all round the year. If only I was not this far from the temple!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The tale of two "Helpfuls"

There are two kinds of helpful people when it comes to any technical or procedural issues. That is assuming that The Helpful knows the solution to the issue.

The first kind will do a lot of talking and attempt to make you understand what the core of the issue is (which most often allows you to find the solution yourself) and then offer you the solution. From then on you go about executing the suggestion and wear a big, grateful smile across your face when you say "Thank you!".

The second kind will seize the opportunity to prove its capabilities, push you aside and take the centre stage and work hurriedly as you watch helplessly asking yourself "What the hell is going on here". When you actually ask the question with a little decency tagged on to it, it falls on deaf ears. When the solution is executed, you get a line of two of the wisdom which is too less to really make you understand the roots of the problem or the solution. All you know is that somebody has been successful in scoring a point over you, and that somebody is making it felt by the See-I-did-it-when-you-cant looks you get. You end up saying "Thank you", sans the big smile and get on with your work.

What bothers me the most is that the second kind does not necessarily play spoilsports when it comes to other things like partying together, or going to a movie. The whole behaviour is attributable to habit rather than intentions. I pity, rather than hate, such a kind for they appear to be bad when they actually learned the lesson of helping others. Only they got the moral of the story wrong.