Saturday, October 18, 2008

India Trip 2008 (3)

It is saturday night. Time now is 10.32pm. I'm at home after a hectic day today. Yes Deepavali is looming but i was rather busy with work till afternoon before i headed home for hari raya open house organised by my immediate neighbour. Hari Raya is on for a month mind you. Yes, nice delicacies and now that Poratasi month is over effective thursday (buka puasa yesterday with some beers and nice food, not that i like beer) i enjoyed what my neighbour had to offer. Then it was out to Jusco to get supplies for the house.

I'm watching my team Liverpool play Wigan while i'm blogging now and to my dismay Wigan is leading 0-1. Hmmmm playing at home at Anfield and this is how they start. What made me decide to blog today was the fact that i've been having my pals visiting my blog and thus far i have more than 350 people or rather friends (i've only told my friends about my blog) visiting my blog and that reminded me that my India trip blog is 3/4 way through. I don't want my friends to come in and get stale stories and hence i've decided that my india trip has to come to an end today. Don't want you guys to refer me as tiga suku. Hahaha!! Please bear in mind that i am in no competition with Tun Dr Mahathir to beat his record of people visiting his blog now standing at an astonishing 8 million plus visiting his blog. Goalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. Dirk Kuyt has equalised for Liverpool. What a goal.

Alright lets get to business. I stopped the last time at Lord Vengadachalapathi's debt story. Lets go back to where i stopped on my trip. Fortune Kences was the hotel we stayed. Hotel rates in India has sky rocketed. The room was 2,900 rupees per night and that is without breakfast. That translates into RM 265.00 per night. If i remember correctly i could stay in a five star hotel in Malaysia. Why i say if i remember correctly is the fact that i have not stayed in a hotel room in Malaysia for some time. Rooms as i have mentioned in Tirupati is clean and good. So in that sense it was ok.

Anyway, we had organised for ourselves to get special tickets for entry into Tirupati. Which means we get special entry through a special gate which takes us faster through the queue whereby we join the others with no special tickets half way through. These tickets are only available to hindus who are NRIs and with people with letters from ministers from India or higher up. NRI translates to Non Resident Indians . We are given those tickets upon producing our passports. The tickets were to be delivered to us at our hotel room by 10pm that very day for "Darshan" the following morning at 4am.

But as you have it, the way god plays his games (Andavanin Leelai) our agent told us to collect the tickets at Tirumala at 4am the next morning and proceed to the temple. Tirumala is where Lord Venki is. We were told to go to the office opposite Canara Bank to collect our tickets. I called our driver Abdul and told him about this and he confidently said he will take us there. So, another early morning for us. Its up at 2.30am and by 3.15am we left the hotel to proceed to Tirumala. The security enroute to Tirumala is very tight and it being the Poratasi month which is a significant month to pray to Lord Venki, the traffic to Tirumala was even worse.

We got to Tirumala at about 4am. Round and round. Merry go round. Our driver couldn't find Canara Bank. I had to take the lead. Stopped the driver at the entrance of the special entrance accorded to NRIs, Bala and I went around asking how to get to Canara Bank and after about 1/2 hour of walking we got there and got our tickets. And half hour back to where my parents were waiting with the driver.

The driver checked with the police manning the special entrance and was told that we would have to take a longer route. I had enough with the driver and told him that i will take charge from then on. And so i did. Told my parents to walk close behind me as i approached the police manning the special entrance. Just told him "nanggu ticket unnayi, meru malaysia ninchi ucharu" and thats it he let us in. What i told them was i have four tickets and we came all the way from Malaysia....that too in telugu. Thank god, working with a telugu boss long time ago did the job. But just imagine what i had mentioned in my earlier blog about seeing the Lord. He has to give the go ahead. What was initially to be a 4am entry eventually became 5.30am. So what so special about the special entry? Nothing really. He makes you come to him when he wants to. No short route.

By the way, Wigan scored their second goal. What the fish.

As we went in and joined the others in anticipation of a good "Darshan", i was preoccupied at the tenacity of others who actually took the trouble of bringing their young ones going through the queue. While many infants were crying away as it was rather hot and stuffy queueing up, there were others who were fast asleep due to the timing. As we inched closer to the sannadhi, i was getting restless. I couldn't wait to unleash my grouses to the Lord. But knowing that we will not get a decent time to look directly at him and express my grouses, i started early. This time around the shovelling and pushing was less intense.

To my surprise, this time around a ramp had been built. Which means the moment we turn to the Sannadhi, the ramp built up to down allowing us to see Him from the beginning of the turning right up to the end. And as i have mentioned earlier we being NRIs and somehow the ushers would recognise that we aren't citizens of India, they allow us longer "Darshan". Longer here means 15 to 20 seconds. Thats all.

I had a good "Darshan", thanks to the fact that i am tall. By Asian standards I am tall. Standing at 5'10 3/4 of an inch. That is tall. After that it was straight to the "Undial" or tabung in malay to put in your part of paying towards Lord Venki's debt. I had many with me. My wife also known for her generosity had mentioned to her friends at office that i will be going to Tirupati and hence me carrying others donations. After that it was collection of laddu. Each ticket entitles you to 2 laddus.

Dad and mum had vowed to donate their hair at Tirupati and so they proceeded to have their head shaved. So, its my first time seeing my mum bald and apparenty from the day she knew herself it was her first. Well we all have our firsts. As for dad it was not his first time and so i am used to seeing him bald. While waiting for my parents to have their heads shaved, Bala and i decided to have the stall side Poori and coffee. My was scintillating. Very tasty. And how much did it cost? 10 rupees each for 2 Pooris. Damn syiok woooo.

Goallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll........Liverpool equalised. Liverpool and I have something in common. Coming back from behind. All this time Liverpool was probably going through 7 1/2 years of Sani. Hahaha. Let me stop on the beers and get back to blogging. What the...Goalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll......Liverpool have just scored again. more beer please.

Went back to the hotel to check out and it was to Padmavathi Temple after that. As i have mentioned in my previous blog, Padmavathi was the expensive wife of Lord Venki for whom we are paying the interest for loan taken from Lord Kuberan. Padmavathi temple is a must. If you visit the Lord, you must visit the wife. And so we did enroute to Chennai.

Can i promise you guys that i will finish this tomorrow. Really tired. I keep typing double of everything and Liverpool won. If there is a typo or some gramatical error, it will be rectified tomorrow.

Nite nite

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