KIRAN RAO BATNI writes from Bangalore: On a recent visit to Mysore, my wife and I had the good fortune of visiting the good ole’ Venkateshwara temple in Vontikoppal which, incidentally is a hundred decibels less noisier than the quietest temple in Bangalore. So much for peace of mind in Bangalore.
Anyway, after doing our saashtaanga samaskaaras to the Lord in the sanctum sanctorum, the two of us were standing with a small distance between us–a distance enough for any decent sized human being to pass through. Yet, there was this really lean gentleman just out of the sanctum sanctorum standing behind us and waiting for God-knows-what.
I couldn’t believe how anybody could refuse to take advantage of a fully open trafficless highway right in front of him! It was as if there was a rubber band between my wife and me which was repelling him!
Now, I don’t typically do this in Bangalore, but I asked this gentleman to go ahead and overtake us out of the temple. To my utter shock, instead of budging, he simply said, “Dampatigala madhyadalli hogabaradu” (one should not walk between a married couple) and stood there. After glaring at him like a couple of barbaric (Bangalore) fools, we stepped to one side, and he walked out without disturbing the matrimonial “dipole moment”.
It’s not that I haven’t heard of this funda before, but this small incident in Mysore put me in a pensive mood for the whole night. I couldn’t sleep. The man’s questions still haunt me: How did he know we were a married couple? Have we gone too far from the culture of this land in Bangalore? Is it because of drinking in what we needn’t drink in from (pardon the cliché) the west? Have we really started giving a damn about other human beings in Bangalore because we can’t tell who’s who, who speaks which language, and who has come from where?