Of Shrines and Sadhus

Last Friday I was waiting to pick up my kids outside Burn Hall School when a shining object caught my eye. It was a huge trishul in the hands of a fearsome ash-smeared lioncloth-clad sadhu with dreadlocks and flowing beard. He was striding towards the Durga Nag temple followed by a companion.

Just across the road from my car, the sadhu suddenly halted mid-stride and turned towards the Syed Sahib shrine. I initially thought that he was waiting for his companion to catch up but something about his stare made me sit up and take notice. For a while he kept staring intensely at the shrine till the azaan for Friday prayers burst forth from the mosque loudspeaker and the sadhu shuddered like a person waking up from a spell. All of a sudden he folded his hands and bowed respectfully towards the shrine before heading off again with the same purposeful stride.

Somehow this incident made an impression upon me, especially against the backdrop of the sectarian violence of the past few weeks, and here I am blogging about it.