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At Vittala temple complex

One temple after another passed in a flash. After stopping at just two or three temple complexes people had now completely lost interest. Perhaps the rains had dampened everyone’s spirits. The guide was quick to take notice of this. Places where we would have spent at least good 10 minutes, were now simply mentioned in passing - that too as our bus would pass by them. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch.

Our final destination in Hampi was to be the Vittala temple complex. A bus usually enters the complex area through a stone gateway which is a tad too narrow for a bus to pass. You have to enter the gateway dead-straight and once you do, there is no room for maneuvering. Our driver, in consistence with the conscientiousness he had demonstrated so far, entered at an angle to the stone gateway's left wall. As he drove on - oblivious to the yelling by the persons on the last seats, the glass panes of the last window seat rubbed against the stone and came crashing inwards with a report. The poor girl sitting at the window had to make a dash for it. Startled, I started and stared in disbelief.

I didn't enter the complex this time and roamed outside instead. I eventually struck up a conversation with the guard checking the tickets at the temple gate. I am usually very reticent in asking people to pose for me. It so happened that most people I did request for being my subject (the guard at the Krishna Temple Complex for instance) were equally reticent. The end result is a bit like the episode from Hunchback of Notre Dame where Quasimodo - who is deaf, finds himself being judged by an equally deaf magistrate during his trial. The man here was different. He not only shared tips with me about Saturday and Sunday nights being a good time to visit the temple for it is lit-up during those nights, but also posed for me - even if it involved momentary dereliction of his duties.
posted: 28.10.05

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