Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

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Kochi / Ernakulam, Kerala, India
A Doctor who loves to Live, Love and Laugh with the World! Absolutely crazy about Cricket ! Other Qualifications: A Tired Bathroom Singer, Retired Gully Cricketer and Satire Writer !

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Beggar of Hampi, Pride and Pricked Prejudice !

The Hampi Viroopaksha Temple
Being in Bellary and not visiting Hampi is just not possible. Early days in Bellary, I had heard enough about Hampi. Our primary school history lessons too had given us enough reasons to visit Hampi. Finally I did visit Hampi with a group of friends sometime in 1989 winter. Murali, Vishwanath, Jagan, Shadrak, Umesh, Vishwanath Nayak, Azeem, Thara and me were there on that tour.
Our group in Hampi
A lot has been written about Hampi and I can't better any of that. What stands out for me after 23 years is an experience that made the raw youth feel proud about our heritage that day and a lot more wiser for life.

We were going around the famed Viroopaksha temple. There was a bunch of noisy youth a few paces ahead of us. Being doomed to be Doctors, we were less noisy or perhaps relatively so. When we came to the western part of the temple, we were directed to a small dark corner room by some people. We all went there and saw this...
The Pin Hole Camera !
This is the famed pin-hole camera of Hampi where an inverted image of the main tower of the temple is seen on a wall of a small dark room through a hole in the roof of the outer fortress on the western side. As we were marveling at this piece of architectural wonder of almost 750 years history; the loudest of those boys from that group proclaimed loudly in Kannada, "Hey this is all fraud. Someone has drawn this here and that too inverted. How can people fall for such con ! blah blah blah".

There was a sun burned unshaven man appearing to be in his seventies, sitting just outside that room. He had unkempt silver hair, shrunken cheek lined by sharp bony jaws to his face and a frail body. He was clad in worn off saffron robes with an equally weather beaten towel spread on the floor. That must have been white some time in history but looked brownish yellow. He was obviously begging and there were a few coins on his towel.

He suddenly got up pulling his towel in a hurry, scattering his coins all over the place in the process. He didn't seem bothered, but went directly to the young man and called him out to follow him. He crawled to the darker corner of the dark room and asked the youth to hold the other end of the towel so that it was positioned in front of the shadow. All of us could see the shadow of the tower appearing on the towel.

We couldn't see the face of that boisterous boy in the darkness that prevailed in the room. But a lot of darkness must have been driven away from his mind in that beautiful moment. Though I had a camera on me, I couldn't capture the magnificent moment on camera because it all happened in such a hurry and the darkness in the room just didn't allow me to click the event. Alas !

Coming out of the room, the saffron clad man gave a lecture to the youth and his friends. It was as good a lesson to all of us blinded by the arrogance of our modern life. He said, "Oh you the pant and shirt clad city bred youth of today, young men; pause before you proceed to mock anything that you don't know. This is a construction that is almost 1000 years old and has stood the ravages of time like many of those marvels in this great place called 'Haalu Hampi' [Ruined Place]. This was the Vijayanagar empire where gold and diamonds were sold in the road side shops. Over 50 generations of yours must have turned into ashes since this place was constructed. Look at every stone, pillar and idol of this place. They were constructed when there were no machines and cranes and such things. If they managed to construct such a magnificent place at that time, what does it say ? Those people were far more intelligent, wiser, stronger and talented than you, me and all of us. Never again make fun of our heritage. You are a nobody who has done nothing precious yet and will achieve nothing in life if you continue with this attitude. God bless you with better sense in future !"

I could see the pride in the eyes of the senior gentleman and the pricked prejudice on the sheepish face of the youth. And was I having goosebumps ? I still get them thinking of that day. Ever since, I have made it a rule not to mock anything that I don't know or understand. Questioning anything is fine, including the concept of God. No progress can be made if we believe everything without questioning. But before you sit on judgement, make sure you are qualified enough to do so and you know the truth. Else, it is better to be cautious. The world is a lot more intelligent and wiser than a single human being can normally aspire to be !

Dr. Punned-it


  1. enjoyed this post .
    True we can never be judgemental and prejudiced on things we dont have a clue about
    and as far as our heritage is concerned it is richer and deeper than we can fathom

    1. Yes Hari Sir, I don't care much for the religion part of it. But the art, sculpture and history of our heritage definitely has lessons for us !

  2. Hi Govind Raj
    I can relate to this kind of situation.
    Nice reading. I didnt know you had this talent of being 'satire writer'
    Makes me feel proud of my classmate whom i knew only as 'bathroom singer'(not tired then!!)
    Gururaj Puranik

    1. Hi Guru, good to see you here. Welcome to LLL, drop in as often as possible when your time permits. I did write some satire even in Bellary. One such article on Kannada did create a bit of rumpus on campus then. :-)


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