Even before the train came to a stop we could always hear the coolies (I am sorry, I don’t mean to offend the workers, but the people who help us carry our bags are referred to as Coolies). Now that I have use this word again, I am wondering if we should (don’t laugh) refer them as baggage handlers, you know to be politically correct?
Since we were 3 ladies (mom, sis and I) and Dad alone, he used to have tough time following the coolie (who is walking too fast for us) and still keep track of us so that we don’t get lost. Ah! Who ever thought of a cell phone in those days…
If we are walking up the hill’s (7 hills) we need to start a little early in the morning. So we used to send our bags up the hills with the help of some cloak room. Ascending the hills is another experience which, according to me, every one should undergo at least once in life time. The greenery, even in summers is something you will across only in Tirumala Hills; And not to forget the waterfalls every where. But it’s been a while since we went up the hills by foot, I wonder if there are still as many as we had over a decade ago. Usually if we start early in the morning, we used to reach by noon or just after noon.
And then again another long line to get accommodation. While mom, sis and I used to sit outside (literally on the road), Dad used to get us room to stay for 2-3 days. Would you believe if I said that sometimes he has to stay as long as 3 hours in line? But you would notice that the accommodation provided by TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam) is far cleaner than the private accommodation and at a much lower price.
As part of our family tradition created by ourselves, we used to shower and go and sit opposite the main temple. There used to be steps, not anymore. And as a rule we had to have some raw mango’s seasoned with salt and red chilli powder. Soon after dinner (usually in Woodside or
And for some reason my mom used to book the Suprabhata Seva darshan, the first Darshan of the day. It used to start as early as 3:00 AM, which means we have to make sure that we get up at least at 2:00 AM to make sure we shower, wear new cloths and go and stand in line. And sure enough Tirumala is as active at that time as it would be at noon.
Explaining the line it-self perhaps deserves another thread. Sometimes I wonder, why do we have to pay to get Darshan? Lacks of rupees are donated to TTD every day, why can’t they make it free? In free Darshan line people usually take 2 days before they get a chance to get a glimpse of Lord Balaji. When have we become so arrogant that we are forcing ourselves on Lord while some people are struggling in free-line just because they can’t afford.
And if you are stuck in queue, you will always have people singing Govinda Gooovinda…Yedu Kondala Vaada Venkata Ramana Govinda Gooovinda…Not exactly sure what it means. But I know that as soon as I hear Govinda…I know its Lord’s name we are taking….
And thus, the spirit of Tirumala Balaji drapes Itself on us, as naturally as the fragrance from the incense, as we prepare ourselves for His Darshan…
Sorry…to be continued….didn’t realize it would run in to pages.