All over India, religious processions are common place. They are charming, entertaining and sometimes even emotionally moving. While doing errands in a small town in South India, I bumped into one such Hindu procession. I was on foot and there isn’t a lot of traffic in this sleepy town so it didn’t interfere with my movement. In fact, wherever I wandered, the anticipation was building with the preparation of gateways constructed from plants and leaves going up. The sense that this was business as usual though, helped to contribute to the matter of fact attitude of most of the locals.
Suddenly the blare and crackle of a loud-speaker pierces the lassitude of the late morning. And the procession begins.
The drummers beat their instruments with the fervor of the devout.
The heart-felt zeal and piety of the people in the procession is visible on their faces and in their purposeful stride. Their orange flags are symbolic of their faith.
I go about my errands all around town. The procession follows me as it meanders like a trickling tributary of an even bigger river.
The mood is serious yet joyful. At the back of the procession, a large and heavy idol of a Hindu deity sways precariously as it is transported with reverence on its way home to the nearby temple.
With my “to do” list completed, and the heat of the day upon me, I am now ready for a good cup of tea and a local sweet. The procession turns down the lane where the temple awaits the return of the gods and all is in order.