Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Pooja

The only light that shone in the dark, stone room was from the lamp that Neelakanthan Namboothiri had lit. There was the rather pious smell of flowers, the ghee and the incense sticks. He was lost in the prayers, slowly and softly chanting them, his hands in constant motion, offering the flowers and the prayers to the Deity. We'd all gathered outside the pooja room, hands joined in prayer, lost in a sublime world.


The reverie did not last long. I was standing by the door looking out for a Honda Accord that would bring the priest, the poojari, for the "Gruhapravesham". He was in touch by mobile phone, was en route, just that his GPS had somehow taken him somewhere else.

He reached a bit late, clad in a white dhoti and a white shawl. He looked much younger than I had expected him to be, late 30's or early 40's. His website had told us that he had done a "padayatra" from Kanyakumari to Badrinath, so I had expected him to be older. I guess I had skipped his photo on the site.

He started off without much ado, and between the agni-kund and where he sat, he carefully placed the most important "yantra" - his mobile.

The pooja began, and he chanted the mantras in clear loud voice. And about ten minutes into that he stopped for a couple of minutes to confirm his next appointment over phone.

And then about ten minutes later, to suggest a better camera angle to me (I was filming it so that it could be shown to people back home).

And when the fire alarm rang he loudly shouted that it could be disabled by pressing the button in the center of the alarm; But when none of us (the poor short ones) could reach it, he jumped from his "Padmasana" and came running to switch it off.

And when after the pooja he explained that it takes only a year for the green cards to get processed for hindu priests, the green card aspirants gathered there "burned" in jealousy a tiny bit.

And off he went, to the next appointment - Sunday being a really full day in his schedule.


Neelakanthan Namboothiri came out of the pooja room, and sprinkled the holy water, the punyaaham. He respectfully accepted the modest dakshina, and blessed all who had gathered. Then he got hold of the crude walking stick that he had fashioned out of a bamboo stick and walked silently to the temple, to give "Naivedyam" to the lord.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very funny! What a techno person!

- karuna