Last week my family along with my in-laws went to Tirupathi for 2 days. The 2 days were both an intolerable ordeal and an armpit tickling experience for me.
From the beginning I was opposed to the notion that there is a God atop a hill and we have to go and see him right in his abode to seek wishes, otherwise his ego would take a hit and he wouldn’t do us favors. But as is the case always, nobody took me and my rationalizing efforts seriously.
It started 10 years ago when my father booked a very special darshan ticket for about Rs 25000. The waiting queue at that time for this special darshan was 10 years. Now, it is 25 years. That is, if you wish to see that same darshan now, you have to pay the amount, which I doubt will be more than the amount when my father booked 10 years ago, and then you will receive a ticket that says your darshan is slotted for 2038. It’s a ticket for 2 people. So my father considers himself and his wife extremely lucky, and believes that they are looked down kindly and lovingly upon by the God who has chosen to grace only people who pay the exorbitant amount to see him. The special darshan is this: About 20 people, including my father and my mother sit before the stone God and watch him while he takes bath, for about 3 hours.
Ridiculousness number 1: I still don’t understand why they can’t relay the God-bathing-show, live and stream it in youtube? Won’t it serve all the people in the world? Won’t the poor feel blessed if they are able to see the darshan at least through youtube instead of paying big money to see the event live? Did the scriptures say you shouldn’t put a webcam inside of the temple and telecast all the events as shows? Clearly what it shows is the greediness of the folks running the temple. While I was standing before the temple, 2 poor looking guys came over and asked how to see the God. I asked him what tickets they have – Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 300 or anything like that. He said he didn’t have any tickets. He was going to be screwed. Still he can see that mighty God if he goes in the free counter. The last time I heard, which was a day ago, the waiting time in the Rs 50 counter (mind you, not the free counter) is 18 hours. Eighteen-fucking-ridiculous hours! Only if you have money, you get to seek the blessings from this God. That’s the way he rolls.
Ridiculousness number 2: My father had actually booked 2 of those special darshan tickets, which would allow 4 members to enjoy the peep show. The temple authorities agreed and sent the 2 tickets 10 years ago. But then about 6 months ago, they sent a letter to my father saying the rules have changed. It seems one person cannot book more than 1 of that ticket, and that they are going to cancel one of the tickets my dad had paid for. They also said they’ll refund the entire amount. The greedy bastards. They just didn’t anticipate 10 years ago that the ‘business’ will boom and grow as it has grown now. And now, they thought they can resell one of my dad’s tickets for a hefty amount to some rich politician. So they decided to fuck my father. Considering that only 20 people are allowed in that once-a-week darshan, and that the next available slot is for 2038, I assume they would’ve sold it for at least a hundred thousand rupees.
Ridiculousness number 0: In the beginning was the God. And that God created an angry man going by some name that I don’t bother now about. He, along with others had come to Tirumala to see the God who had created him. Of course, the middlemen, called the Priests asked him to get his ticket “stamped” before seeing the God. Of the 4 counters available for stamping, only one was functional and the whole world waited for their tickets to be stamped by that one counter.
When a lot of people stand packed in a queue with their privates rubbing off of other people’s buxom bottoms, natural gal tend to form. It’s plain chemistry. Foul smelling farts from one person entered the blood stream of all the person in the queue. That moment I realized we are all from one soul and that the notion of ‘self’ is simply a lie we tell ourselves.
After waiting for hours in the queue, the angry man goes to the counter to get his stamping. But he is told that his ticket needs to be ‘updated’ in the first floor. The angry man is frustrated, goes up, gets his ticket ‘updated’, comes back, only to find himself defeated psychologically by the cruel Queue that didn’t wait for him. But he makes up his mind to fight the rough battle ahead. He passes by all of us as if we were all invisible, goes straight to the counter and asks for his stamping. The Queue is enraged.
You have to know that the Queue is a living being by itself. It lives a docile life, occasionally farting noiselessly, and is never easily agitated by the ruffles of life. The only thing that turns it into an ugly villain is a non-complying member who tries to get his way without paying the price.
The mob thrashed the angry man. The angry man saw this coming. He pounced back. “Who’s mistake is this? Who’s mistake is this? Huh? Huh. I ask who’s mistake is this? HUH? I paid the dues. I smelled the farts and wasted already an hour standing in the queue. But he’s asking me to ‘update’ my ticket at the last moment. WHO’S MISTAKE IS THIS? AARGHH? TELL ME SIR. TELL ME MADAM. Who’s mistake is this? Should I stand in the queue again? Huh? Who’s mistake is this??” The Queue didn’t expect this. It usually won the battle with its tactical subduing of its enemy. But this was different. So it yielded. But now I was enraged. Every time he said, “Who’s mistake is this? Who’s mistake is this?” I felt like retorting back, “It’s your mistake idiot. You are 60 years old and still haven’t sharpened your bullshit detector. It’s your mistake if you keep shouting and then get a heart attack because of that. Even if you staged the whole act just to get your way into the queue, (which I doubt seriously, considering the fact that you sweated profusely during the course of the outburst) it’s still your mistake for being responsible for wasting your time, money and health to see a stone God, without at least having a peaceful mind to enjoy the experience.”
Ridiculousness number 3: All my life I’ve been looking for business ideas that would make me rich and famous. The best minds in the Silicon Valley have a tough time coming up with successful business ventures. Paul Graham, the ultimate venture capitalist invests in about 2 dozen new ideas every year. 90% of them peter out eventually. His show is running only because of a few outliers. But I tell you one business idea that would never fail to make money for hundreds of years to come. I discovered it while I was in Tirupathi.
Here’s the idea: Marry Lord Vishnu to his wife Lakshmi. Ya, you heard me right. Make Lord Vishnu marry Lakshmi before an audience, and you’ve got a breathtakingly successful business venture. Here’s the detailed mechanics (aka, the business plan): You do it once a day, every day. Arrange a smallish marriage hall within your temple that can hold up to a hundred people. In the center stage of the hall, seat the God statues of Vishnu and Lakshmi. Pay a high priest to do some mumbo-jumbo in the form of throwing stuff into a burning log. Charge Rs 500 per head to the marriage show. That’s it.
There’s no scaling issue with this business model because once you have enough people flocking in, and flocking people will, you can either increase the per head charge or simply build another temple and marry God copies. Also for variety, it need not always be Lord Vishnu. There are a million Gods in India. Pick any, build a cult, and surely people will come. Do make sure the priests are topless and have unshaven armpits. There’s something about their armpits. I guess it’s called the Axe Effect. Oh and one final thing – ask your priests to carry an utterly insincere attitude throughout the ceremony. It just brings out the divine feeling in people like nothing else would.
Ridiculousness number 4: Money-sucking tonsured cunts. That’s who the priests at the Padmavathi temple are. You’d expect people at the service of God to be right next to God himself in terms of virtues. But these cunts are worse than the lowly beggars. My father being the purest devotee that he is, wanted to see the Goddess in closer proximity. But the middlemen who bathe, cloth, touch, praise and woo the God, wanted a deal. Seven hundred bucks we gave. But the priest cunt discarded it saying he wanted a Thousand. We had no choice. The free queue was a mile long and moving at a snail pace. We had to catch a train in the evening. So we gave the money. The transaction happened right inside the Goddess’s holy abode, just a couple of feet from her. It’s pretty obvious that the 1000 will be split among all the cunts inside, depending probably on seniority. A lot of cunts inside the temple and in this blog post.
I say the World be divided, not into Atheists and Theists, but into Believers and Non-Believers. In that system, though I don’t follow any sect, I and my devoted father will be the Believers. The cunts, though in the service of God, will be the Non-Believers.
Future Plans For Tirupathi:
The Srinivasa temple at Tirupathi is the richest hindu temple in the World. People who come to see the God, not only pay hefty amounts for tickets to see him. They also drop money and gold in a huge Hundi strategically placed inside the temple. The story of the hundi goes like this: Lord Srinivasa had to marry Padmavathi (or is it Lakshmi? I don’t know. He seems to be a Playboy. Lots of ‘gals’. Lots of fun). Instead of just marrying in a cost-effective way, he decided to do a gala wedding. He borrowed money from a rich God called Kubera. Lots of money – 1.4 million Gold coins. The wedding happened. Now the poor lord is indebted a huge sum of money. He decided to pay it back by coming to Earth, standing atop a hill and blessing all the people who put money in a hundi he kept next to him. That’s the story. Go check the wikipedia page.
Now, two questions beg my attention.
1) Why would any one consider a chronic spender, a role model? Lord Srinivasa proved himself to be a disaster when it came to money matters. But the irrational people still go to him, ask him more money, and then feel sympathy for him and put some money in his hundi. Ugh? That’s why I never put money in there. Every time my father gives me a five hundred rupee note to put in the hundi, I stand in the queue, move with the crowd, act as if I’m putting the money, and then tactfully pocket the money. In my defense, to me it feels like people are throwing money. That’s painful for me to watch. I respect money, so I won’t throw away the money my father gave. I know how hard he worked to earn it.
2) The debt amount was 1.4 million gold coins. Do they keep track of the principal and interest amounts collected so far? If so, at one point in future, the debt will surely be paid and the hundi should be put out of service. My guess is that, the temple authorities are not keeping track. And I bet it’s not an accident.
“Watch Special Live Darshan of Balaji in Full-HD, 3D Video for only $999″: The whole venture does not scale well. Soon they’d hit an upper limit on income by selling Lord Srinivasa’s time. So I guess, the future technological revolutions in internet will aid in their problem. With the invent of smart TVs and gigabyte internet connections, it would only be a natural evolution for the authorities to decide to sell the God’s time in internet behind a payment gateway. It’s easy to imagine my dad wearing a 3D goggle before the samsung smart TV and losing himself in the sight of the great Lord taking bath.
God-minions: A lot of temples with the same Lord Srinivasa will arise in and around the infamous hill. They will all be governed by the Tirumala authorities. Some kind of relationship between the main temple and the minion temple will be established to make people into thinking that this minion God is also as powerful as the main God, or at least has some of his power. For example, they could claim that the flower in the minion God’s left hand will always come from the flowers that adorn the main God’s left hand. Some thing like that. This way the minion-temples can gain their own cult, if only in a small way, and add up to the income of the whole. Never forget that you can also clone the hundi and marriage ceremony of the main temple. People will always want to depart from their money if they found themselves next to a hundi.
Note: I’m aware that most of the money is spent for charitable causes also. The Tirumala devasthanam has built a lot of educational institutions and hospitals that do good to poor people. But it’s easy to see that not everything goes for the best of the causes. There are manipulative Pigs inside and outside the temple that see the temple’s potential, and want a big bite in the profits.
Word counts: First draft: 2360, Final draft: 2353