The Mysterious Temple Visit

Posted by Freddy on Jul-2-2011

A very jolly jovial person that I am finds it surprising when I take this overwhelming urge to chronicle the bizarre and sometimes grotesquely funny incidents that I have witnessed in all these years of sailing. Thanks to this fever of mine. Some incidents are not as funny as what I have narrated before as it happened in the curious room. This one is not as funny, as much as to say its recollection each time ‘chicken’s me out’ would be a bad understatement. It blew the living day lights out of me- that day. This is how it began.

I was in a very picturesque village in the Palakkad district of Kerala. This is a district inhabited by a majority of people belonging to the farming community. Palakkad is still considered as the ‘rice bowl of South India’, though there is hardly any proof to this claim in the modern times. The people are less educated, education wise, but they have immensely strong belief system based on legends and lore that, to a man of modern education it would certainly appear whimsical.

I was taking a stroll in the evening absorbing the picturesque beauty of the landscape. Endless paddy fields interspersed with little pools of dense coconut trees. At a long distance was a very small temple and by this time it was thronged by people as it was a custom to visit temples at the dawn and dusk. My western origin has given me the looks because of which I found it difficult to make an entry into small temples such as this. I was seized by an overwhelming desire to visit the temple and see for myself the beauty of it and to experience the calming peace. Just as this thought crossed my mind, a young man about twenty years came to me and as if he could read my mind asked, “Do you want to visit the temple?” I was surprised, but said “Yes”.

“Then follow me. Just be careful enough to follow me without uttering a sound. Walk behind me by at least 3 feet but never fall behind or walk faster”.

‘Is this the usual practice for anyone who visits a temple? I know it is not, but why am I made to follow this strange rule?’ I kept thinking.

“It is because you wanted to visit here and you need to prove you are worthy enough to get the grace. Best option is to follow me with faith in your heart by removing all traces of your skeptic mind”.

I was surprised for the second time, but since I was happy that I was about to fulfill my heart’s desire, I didn’t think much. I started following him – silently.

We had walked for more than 10 minutes and I was feeling strange since the temple didn’t appear that far to me from where I began. I also noticed that it was getting darker and darker. The crowd started thinning out and I couldn’t spot the temple from the place I was now. I kept turning my head every now and then to see if we had lost track of the route. I wanted to ask the young man whom I was following so religiously. But I remembered his caution and refrained from speaking out.

I kept on walking with the man 3 feet ahead of me. He was walking with such a steady pace that my wish that he turned and asks me how I was feeling, went unfulfilled. Why couldn’t he read my mind now? Sparks of skepticism crept into me. However I kept quiet. It was almost completely dark now and the road was empty. I still couldn’t see the temple!

I started getting scared and couldn’t hold it any longer. I went on, “Hello, where are we going? Hope it wouldn’t be too late, because I have to return to my guest house”.

He didn’t utter a single word. I found it so ridiculous and this time I raised my voice and went on in an angry tone, “Where are you taking me to? What do you want? Who are you, by the way?”

The man gave a violent turn to look at me. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I nearly went paralyzed seeing his countenance. He was so angry that in the faint light his eyes were giving out a glow like a burning ember. His face no more looked human. It was beastly, with fared nostrils and two large canine teeth at the corners of his mouth! His tongue jutted out that resembled that of a deadly hound. With this he uttered a howl like some vampire of the Carpathian mountain ranges. I was too shaken and collapsed on the ground. I fainted.

I woke up from this bizarre ordeal to find that it was morning already. No Idea for how long I lay unconscious. I woke up with a very sore feeling. Just as I was thinking about how to walk back to where I started the journey, from where I could see the temple, I REALISED THAT I WAS RIGHT AT THE SPOT WHERE I BEGAN, AND THERE ACTUALLY WAS NO TEMPLE AT SIGHT!

Just plain Paddy fields, nothing else!!!

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