Monday, May 30, 2011

Eventful Anniversary

Saturday was my 4th wedding anniversary and we had couple of things planned; going to a temple, lunch and a movie, all tentative and plan on the go. We decided to go to the famous ISKCON temple. As we started to leave my grandfather suggested a Ganesha temple, close to our house. Now I don’t like to be superstitious, but we always are taught or heard mythological stories that say Ganesha is the most important God and you always pray to Lord Ganesha first even before any other god! It’s our anniversary, why take the risk so I suggested we go to the Ganesha temple first and then the ISCKON temple. I have been to the ISKCON temple a bunch of times before. It’s always a great experience inside the temple, with respect to the elevated location, greenery, breezy location and pretty descent architecture. Frankly, I used to be in awe every time I visited before. Today I went after 4-5 years, and the whole temple Gopuram didn’t seem so enormous as it used to before. Reason being there is a huge skyscraper in the adjacent plot which you see while you go towards the temple; that totally took away the charm of the tall gopuram of the temple! L
I decided to perform the 108 times chanting of holy mantra -
Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Steps to move after each chant
The temple has 108 granite steps to move after each chant, and the mantra is also played on mild volume on the speaker as people also say it loudly. The temple is just amazing inside, with episodes of Krishna painted on the ceilings; HUGE painting & high ceilings.. great effect! Like any other temple in India, you are prohibited to take photos. The whole golden frames inside which the beautiful life-like statues of Krishna, Balram, Radha all look magnificent with glittery jewelry. The ISKCON temple I visited in Bothell Washington had similar statues except for the golden frames and paintings on the wall and of course the crowd isn’t that huge!

The only thing that bothers me about ISKCON temple here is the commercialization they have done of the holy place; when you finish your Darshan, you are bombarded by stores of all kinds, like gift shops in the US. Before, there used to be stalls only to sell books of Krishna, photos and paintings etc. Now you see bakery stalls, ‘eggless’ pastries, muffins etc. In my opinion, people come to visit theirs gods. The food and snacks they put out there to sell is all available outside the temple, even at normal rates! This commercialization takes away the whole holy, peaceful effect of the temple. It proves to be a money making business after all, in the name of god! Moreover, they have tactfully placed all the snack stalls way before the Prasad distribution, so devotees spend & eat on their way to realize that there is in fact free Prasad being distributed in the end! It’s like having a Starbucks or Denny’s inside a church! Doesn’t that sound inappropriate?

As we hit the road again to go to Mantri mall, it was a regular sunny day; jam packed traffic, annoyed drivers. We were stuck in traffic when a Maruti 800 car was coming from behind and an auto rickshaw driver pulled around him and very loudly he said to him, “Sir, you are driving very well, excellent driving skills you have there. Please continue driving like that”! In a flash of a second I burst out into laughter in the heavy traffic; sarcasm at its best! The car driver at first didn’t understand the sarcasm and he waved to the auto driver. HA HA….my husband warned me not to laugh that loud….well! It’s my life! And hey I love sarcasm! It always works!! It’s just another mode of Gandhigiri! You praise the wrong! Apparently, these days college students in Bangalore are volunteering to give roses at traffic signals to law breakers! We watched Hangover 2 at the mall, wasn’t as great as part 1…now that we know how the story goes, getting high & lost & then back-tracking your steps! The fat guy Alan is funnily annoying!
We stopped at Au Bon Pain, for a quick bite and had an amazingly degrading experience of the managers there that shall be another story!
Before leaving the mall, we stopped over to see some dance activity on the floor. A group of youngsters called Black Eyes, was performing B-boying. Indian boys are really into this western style of dancing & they are really good. They had a huge crowd cheering them. One of the guys performed the breathing-tick-tocking music they create over the mic. I don’t know what it is called. But he was really really good!
Then we went for the surprise visit to Tanishq to buy something! I settled for a ring J.  As the executive helped us find everything and filled out relative membership forms etc he realized today is in fact our anniversary! Duh! After the billing he asked us to wait for another 10 mins; it was closing time for the store. I kept getting weird thoughts as to why they made us wait..while all are leaving, the shutters are closed, no way to escape!!! Yikes! They tried to keep us busy with design brochures, small talk, “Sir where do you work..which company”. My husband, smartly escaping the question of ‘which’ company.
In about 10 mins, they arranged a black forest cake with our names & anniversary wishes. We were really surprised. This is the highest level of customer delight I have seen in India, REALLY!!! As we all understand, customer is the most neglected creature in a store, sarcasm! It was a good gesture and quite quick! J

Oh and I found a green feather, how often does that happen? J Only if I was British and was invited to a royal wedding, the feather would make a spunky hat! ;)


  1. Very very interetsing post.
    My best wishes to you on your wedding annivarsery.
    If you get an oppurunity, do visit ISCKON in Delhi.

  2. Thank you sir, for your best wishes :)
    I will surely visit the ISKCON temple. Also Akshardham temple. The pictures I have seen of the place look very magical & unrealistic!

  3. raj : and the lotus ?