It was a bit funny that the bus crew got there first by a pretty good margin. Or at least, we were surprised. In the car it felt like we were making good enough time, though I suppose we did stop for Café Coffee Day, and Murali was driving, as always, ever so carefully, cautiously, and with constant awareness and fear of the unpredictable drivers and their cars that surrounded us.
click here for the real sound) with added doppler-effect fashion was our cousins and mummy rollin on by.
We arrived in Tumkur late afternoon/early evening. Just before sunset, we headed over to the Sree Siddaganga Mutt to witness the evening prayer, led by the 104-year-old Dr. Sree Sree Sree Shivakumara Swamiji himself. Swamiji has been running the Mutt for the last 70 years of it’s more than 500 total years of operation. In addition to founding the Sree Siddaganga Education Society, he has expanded the reach of the Mutt to provide free education, food, and shelter from the 200 students it had when he started, to over 8,500 students today.
Deccan Herald Spectrum.
Back to us, our experience at the prayer has been described in vivid fashion by our very own Kat O’Connor in case you need a quick refresher. There was a crowd of thousands of boys, all dressed in red cloth with three white stripes marked across their foreheads, praying in the streets of the school. We arrived somewhat in the middle of it, and proceeded to take pictures and video tape them, as white people (and Pras) do (though Pras’s pictures mostly turned out blurry and we didn’t end up using them).
Of course they became curious and proceeded to mob us as soon as the prayer ended. It was a bit funny as we failed to notice that we stood directly in the path of Swamiji and his pedestal, where he proceeds after the prayer to sit, write, and receive his admirers for thanks and blessings. So we couldn’t understand why the kids that stood around us, near this rope fence leading to an altar at the end of the suddenly formed pathway through the magically parted crowd, were being scolded and beaten to get out of the way. We, meanwhile, had no one to look out for or after us, so it was only at the last moment when Swamiji came barreling down on us that we realized it, just barely able to leap off the tracks into the safely waiting arms of our newly adoring fans.
The next day we would visit the TVS Academy School and then return here, but under completely different circumstances. That tale is forthcoming, if it’s not out within a week please, pleeeease feel free to send me hate email (or friendly reminders =).