“Govinda, Govinda! Keep the line moving steadily,” volunteers directed the daily rush in the temple. Devotees from all around the country converged on this day every year, to celebrate the holy occasion.
“So much crowd! 20 years back when we had visited, it was much manageable. Can’t they start a senior citizens line?” Mr Vaidyanathan, her husband grumbled away, getting jostled in the crowd. “Patience, my dear. The more you are ready to wait, the more blessings you shall receive. As for the senior citizen, still a year to go for you” her faith in the almighty never wavered.
Together they walked to a small hillock at the back of the temple. “Here we are, exactly 20 years later,” Kamakshi’s eyes widened as she couldn’t take her eyes off the numerous cairns in front of her. Neat, messy, small, big the hillock was lined with thousands of wishes people had built on.
“If you pray at this temple and place a rock cairn, Lord Govinda will grant your wish. You will have to revisit the temple to pay obeisance once you get your dream house,” their family astrologer had suggested this temple 20 years back.
“Mr Vaidyanathan, please read the conditions of the rent agreement carefully. No extra nails on any of the walls, don’t overuse the geyser. You cannot use the society gym and swimming pool and don’t forget to pay the rent on time!” the initial agreement was for 2 years, but there were many extensions and new contracts too.
“It has been 3 years since the foundation stone was laid. God knows where has the building file got stuck?” the family religiously traversed half way across the city every month to the site of their home. Over the years, they observed the slow progress with hopeful eyes. “Wow! A new mall is coming nearby, we will go shopping every weekend!” the kids were overjoyed with the changing landscape of the town.
“The drawing room looks huge; I want to hang life-size portraits of us. And we shall buy a new sofa set, in beige color as I always wanted,” Kamakshi would spend hours envisaging their home, sweet home.
“Mr and Mrs Vaidyanathan” in her mind, the nameplate shone in brass, on the wall beside their door!
“I am at so much peace now. We have fulfilled our promise to the deity. I am going to recommend this temple to all my friends. Patience and faith truly help,” they both made their way down the 400 steps of the temple.
“There is a message in our building WhatsApp group. Kamakshi…” Mr Vaidyanathan gasped and sat with a thud on the bed.
“Breaking news – A new housing scam is unearthed in Mumbai. Owing to the builder’s negligence,150 flat owners have been declared illegal occupants. An FIR has been filed….” – the television blared in their hotel room.
At a distance, the temple bells rung, a young couple built a new cairn!
Author’s note: This story is an amalgamation of my personal experience with cairns. 10 years ago, I had built a cairn in a temple in South India- praying for a sweet home. The next ten years, we lived out of rented places, waiting for that place of own. While we are fortunate to have got our house, there are many for whom it’s a wait of lifetime or sometimes, their houses are snatched away for no fault of theirs.
This tale is just one of them. We live under a roofless sky! But we spend a whole life, getting a roof over our head.
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