Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Height of Discrimination!

On my first trip to Jaipur, I visited all the usual touristy locations, one of them being the Jaigarh Fort. It's an amazing place and I was astounded by the artistic and functional architecture. One of the sites of interest inside the fort is a temple of Ma Kali, which houses an idol brought and installed by one of the rulers after a conquest in Bengal.

The idol depicts a fiery goddess; otherwise it looked like a normal temple to me, and I went in for a darshan. As usual, I completed my chants and namaskar and waited in line to accept the arati, kumkum and thirtha (holy water). I was given the first two, but when I extended my hand to accept the thirtha, the priest gave me a nasty look and pushed my hand away with such vehemance, that I turned around and walked away in a miff, without giving him a second glance. What kind of discrimination was this... my brother received the thirtha, so did all the men in the temple, but none of the womenfolk!

It was when I was waiting at the door (with an annoyed expression on my face) for my brother to come out, that I noticed what the devotees were offering to Ma Kali... a box of sweets and a bottle of liquor! So that was what was in the priest's copper cup, and that was what the men were receiving as thirtha. No wonder the tourist guides kept going back for second and third helpings of the holy water.

That explains the priest's action, but two years later, I am still annoyed with the discrimination. If men can taste the holy liquor (!) why not women? Being a teetotaller, that would have been my first real taste of alcohol, and this punditji had to spoil it ;-)

1 comment:

Shrilatha Puthi said...

why not look at it this way...goddess kaali wanted u to stick to ur principle of teetotallarism, so she helped u in the form of that arrogant priest!! think positive :-)

anyways be happy, u havent lost anything much by being deprived of that theertha (in kannada slang they use the word theertha for alcohol, like ur tamil taNNi)..