"Full many a ray of purest ray serene the dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness to the desert air."
from "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dwadashajyotirlinga yatra : Day 2 - Travel to Hyderabad

We woke up early to have a fantastic breakfast and rush to the airport. Ashverya and I were perfect roomies. She took a shower and went to bed, and I took a shower as soon as I woke up. There was no rush at night, nor in the morning. We are going to be besties soon, I kept telling her. And she had the look on her face like what planet is this woman from.

The Madurai airport was clean, spacious and empty. My one big regret was to have come so far and not received blessings from Swami Shivayoganandaji. I had hoped to meet him, and to see the Meenakshi temple at Madurai with him. But it was not to be, we had no time for the Meenakshi temple in our schedule, and he had not been able to meet with us either. Another time, another trip, Shiva's will... The mind was incredibly sad, and it took incredible effort to stay in the moment.

We had been so punctual in reaching the Madurai airport that we now had time to kill. The one good thing about the Chinmaya discipline is that when the Swamijis give a schedule, the whole group is in the lobby. At least, that is my perspective, the Swamijis may have a different story to tell, it is their headache to have this group of assorted people move together at the same time. Dheeraj ordered tea and coffee. Ashverya had her first cup of coffee on this trip. From now on, we would have an avid coffee drinker. Someone suggested chanting, but it was quickly ruled out - not sure a group can start audible religious chanting in a public place like an airport.

Anantanandaji suggested group pictures around a gigantic brass lamp at the airport.
Group picture at Madurai airport

Outstanding group member
We had group pictures of all except one - Bhavna, inexplicably, does not have a ticket and had to wait outside the airport.

The town of Thirupurakundram was visible from the airport. At the base of the mountain in the photograph, is the temple of Murugan, also known as Kartikeya. This is the site of his wedding to Devasena, the daughter of Indra. The wedding was attended by sages and divine beings, among them the Sun and the Moon. It is a rare phenomenon for both the sun and the moon to be together, like they were at Thirupurakundram. This temple is sought for wedding ceremonies, and thousands of marriages take place here each year.

As we went through the security check, Ashverya's backpack was singled out for manual checking. The security person said there was something in the top pocket, and took out the stone that I had picked from Rameshwaram, and asked me to throw it away. The stone is flat and irregular round-ish, not more than 3 inches in diameter at its widest, I was amazed that it was even caught on camera. I explained this was from the ocean near Rameshwaram, we were on a piligrimage. And next time, for sure, I would put it in my check-in bag. Our backpacks and camera equipment was good evidence, and I was allowed to keep my little stone. Ashverya fixed me with a stare - really, mom, that needed to be in my backpack, really, really mom?

The flight to Hyderabad was short, but long enough to take a nap. There was a mind-numbing sadness that day, I would have loved to talk with someone. Maybe someone would call me, but it was not to be, Shiva's will... In retrospect, it was better to observe the state of the mind rather than engage in unnecessary activity. My eyelids burned, my body ached, and of course my feet were swollen. I went to sleep while the plane was on the ground, and woke up when the plane was back on the ground. After a moment of confusion about whether we had actually taken off, I got my backpack and left the plane.

In Hyderabad, we pulled luggage out of the airport to where our new Volvo bus was parked. The palm trees around the airport give it the look of some tropical paradise like Honolulu. There was a light cool breeze, and the air was fresh like it usually is, just after the rains. This was a pleasant change from the humidity at Chennai.
Palm trees outside the Hyderabad airport
Once at the bus, we knew the routine - get the check-in bags loaded in the luggage compartment, and take carry-ons into the bus. The problem was that neither my computer bag nor my carry-on bag would fit into the narrow shelf in the bus, so I had no foot space. My feet had not come back to normal since they had swollen up in the flight from Dallas. The long bus ride to Rameshwaram and back, and all the walking inside the temple complex and at the airports, had done nothing to alleviate the pressure on my feet. Each step hurt, but today was a rest day. We had not planned to do anything in the evening at Hyderabad other than eating and resting. 

Ashverya wanted to do some shopping. I wanted to have a memory of this day and Hyderabad with me. At the end of an exhausting day, Amma took us to RGK mall, per Natana's recommendation. It took us 25 minutes in a rickshaw to reach the mall. We found a dress each and Ashverya also found some jewelry, and we were out of the store in 20 minutes, and back in the hotel for dinner. Amma's energy is something to be admired and emulated.

I skipped my dinner that night and went to bed. Ashverya came back from dinner at some point and took her shower. I set the alarm for rising early. Tomorrow Shrishailam!

Aum Namaha Shivaaya!!

No comments:

Post a Comment