Friday, October 18, 2013

Anbil temple visit.

Last week my husband was visiting me in Trichy and as we are wont to do during his visits here, we went to a temple. We picked Anbil temple, of Vadivazhagiya nambi or Sundararaja perumal. Lovely temple, serene, and we had a super darshan and prasadam-Puliyodarai and chakkara pongal had been offered to the presiding deity. Holding the donnais of prasadam, we  came out of the temple; I started distributing the puliyodarai and chakkarapongal to the driver when  all of a sudden  we were surrounded by  three urchins. I promptly handed over the remaining prasadam to the oldest looking boy and got into my car asking one of the men to buy a packet of biscuits for the boys. Now, while the boys may not have understood what I said in English, the word 'biscuits' must have registered, because they just hung around there and wouldn't go away. I saw one  of the littler boys  gesticulating; I rolled down the window to catch what he was saying; he lisped to me that the older boy wouldn't give him the food to eat. Worried that the little boy wouldn't get a share and a  bit upset that I hadn't myself distributed the food to the boys, I told the older fellow that he should share the food with the others. He looked calmly into my eyes and told me he would give it to.... I didn't catch the relationship he mentioned, and at that point I didn't understand what he said. Meanwhile the biscuit packet arrived. This time I gave all the kids there two each, keeping behind a few since I saw a couple of little girls sitting  under a tree with an old woman and I thought once they saw biscuits being distributed they would come running for them.  But they didn't. It was these boys that ran to the three ladies sitting under the tree. I saw the older boy hand over the food and biscuits to the old woman, who shared it among all the kids. Even the younger child who had lisped to me had handed over his biscuits to  the old woman. It was then that I noticed that one of the girls seemed to have a problem with her legs. She couldn't have come running to the car. I then realised that the older boy had said he would give the food to aatha/aaya? He knew she would give the food to all of them. They were to beg and take whatever was given, to her. It may be a huge racket, this using of children to beg, and in no way correct, but still,  this incident has left an  impression on me for different reasons. I don't  know if the poor kids went to school at all. Who taught them that sharing is noble? Who taught the older boy the calmness I saw? How was he not tempted to eat even a tiny bit of the biscuit? Was he not hungry?

Maybe it is a rule that if you get any food you can't eat it all by yourself even if you are tempted. Or hungry.

Why am I disturbed?

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