Thanks to an impromptu plan on a fine Sunday morning, we found ourselves at the holy abode of Sant Dyneshwar i.e. Alandi, Pune for another photowalk. I precariously use the adjective ‘Holy’ to describe the ‘Holy’ place just because the ancient scriptures and the elderly mention so. Once in Alandi you realise that nothing from the Indrayani River the temple premises is worth the adjective ‘Holy’. When you hear the word holy your imagination takes you to a place very serene and gloomy, a place where you feel blessed by just being there. Well, Surprise! I was greeted in to Alandi by a drunkard sleeping right outside the temple parking making himself cozy beside the street, a couple of physically fit beggars who voluntarily choose begging over any other means of earning and a filthy Indrayani river in process of becoming filthier. I pitied the drunkard’s family as I saw a bag of veggies lying next to him, may be something his wife had asked him to get last night or for the Sunday lunch. It made me think again about the ever famed yet always unsatisfactorily answered question, as to why people resort to drinking and destroy money, time and family. It might have proved helpful in the earlier times,but now not even the fear of god suffices to curb the same.
Now about the natives of Alandi, apart from their ignorance to hygiene, they are very friendly, camera loving and some possibly camera shy people. We came across this bunch of kids enjoying their Sunday baths in the river who so merrily posed for our cameras. A definite hint of Bollywood was vividly evident from their poses and may be for that fraction of time they really did feel like a superstar. Many old homeless and ascetic sannyasis find refuge in the Temple premises. All that these people expect from their day is food and probably a possibility of seeing the almighty. They expect no promotions, no laurels, no appreciations, no salary bonuses and no work stress. One could say that they lead a happy life, but I would strongly challenge that because I’m a believer of finding the almighty in the thrill of life and in work than in prayer. But then again, they did seem happy. So who am I to challenge their means of finding happiness? And finally noteworthy are the bunch of hypocrites I saw who prayed on one side of the temple premises wall and took a leak on the other. Having rebuked enough, I would like to give the natives credit for their simplicity of behavior and politeness in speech. They are very friendly people to talk to and very helpful indeed.
One fourth of the village depends on visiting devotees and their purchases for their daily share of bread. It was good to see that at least some people try to transform the devotion of visitors into tangible outcomes through hard work and not just through begging. There are many vendors trying to make sale of small items like beaded malas to framed pictures to the popular dyaneshwari. As I neared the Dyaneshwar Maharaj Samadhi temple entrance a huddle of kids flocked me offering me a tika for a rupee or so. I was really awed by their charm which was may be imparted to them by positive energy of the temple (Yes! Even though I’m a science student I believe that temples like these have positive energy around them, the reason to which is possibly the innate feeling of auspiciousness that the structure carries or even our brain which subconsciously is affected by the word ‘holy’ and injects mirth in our veins.) I do hope that these kids do not entirely rely on this tika business and do educated themselves.
Now, to conclude, Alandi as a whole illustrates India with people showing classic Indian behavioural traits of ignorance, hypocrisy, faith, blind faith and hope! Hidden deep underneath this modernised cement-concrete village is still the Dyaneshwar Maharaj’s authentic Alandi which intermittently flashes may be through the devotion of the devotees, the river Indrayani or by glimpses of the Temple or the native people.
(By the time we reached Alandi it was already 10am and we clicked until 1230pm. Hence a lot of pictures are over exposed and portraits have shadows. I wish i could go there once again and get better pictures. But till then i hope you enjoy these)
|The 'not so' Holy Dip!|