For someone who grew up with the imposing presence of Meenakshi Temple in the backyard, it is difficult to summon the same level of piety in a Hindu temple in America. Even more so, if the said temple happens to be one of those syncretic ‘religious centers’ in liberal land. First, one has to come to terms with the absolute disregard for all known aalaya nirmaana vidhis and the priest making announcements in English. Second, thanks to the enterprising nature of vadakkathis, the rituals hardly resemble the ones in TN. The one run by iyengars in a small office building replete with satari is out of favour with the wife who seems to prefer flamboyance. Third, as a thumb rule any place where NRIs congregate sucks. Finally one has to contend with militant desi kids, whose very presence is an annoyance.

However, this time it all felt closer to home. There was a Barathanatyam show by a Tamil teacher who had prepared her students for three kauthuvams. The kids did admirably well. Then she had a composition with the moms of the kids. Not to put down their effort, they were second rate in comparison to their daughters. There was even a caucasian lady who looked as convincing a Bharathanatyam dancer as I would be a banker if I wore a pinstripe suit. Or for that matter, a scotch whisky critic.



13 Responses to “Piety”

  1. Hawkeye Says:

    are you in detroit. this ‘iyengar’ temple seems eerily similar to the one my cousin runs in troy.

  2. Alan Smithee Says:

    Yeah. Are you talking about this temple? http://sribalajivediccenter.org/

  3. I Says:

    Your cousin runs a temple?

  4. Hawkeye Says:

    a group of friends started it in troy. not to belittle their attempt but the first time i went there i thought it was a makeshift garage converted to temple.

    I – ya… he can even do mandhirams for kalyanam, seemahdam, punyajanam all by himself

    when we are seen together perusus call him ‘iyyaru’ and me ‘saaraya bottil’. although i never drink saarayam something about him devalues me.

  5. Alan Smithee Says:

    Why is it a surprise that perusus call you saaraya bottil?

  6. Hawkeye Says:

    why should they call me that?

  7. Alan Smithee Says:

    Because you are “saarayam curious” just like bicurious.

  8. hawkeye Says:

    pozhuthupokku != curiosity

  9. I Says:

    enna sethu urdaya? naanum mantharam ellam spastama solluven

  10. Alan Smithee Says:

    mantharam na? jee boom baa va?

  11. Hawkeye Says:

    empty hip flask’la thevaiyaana discussion dhaan idhellam. kadavule. abacharam.

    naanum kulichuttu indha laptoppaiyum kulipaati vittudren.

    I – serthu vida “idhu enna dharmapuram adheenama” ?

  12. Arun Says:

    Hindu temple and congregation of NRIs – nethi adi! 🙂

  13. Alan Smithee Says:

    Arun, you too hate that?

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