A wrong turn on the way to the Gingee fort, took us (3 fellow photography enthusiasts and me) to a dilapidated temple on a hill. It had no semblence of a temple at the first glance. No crowd, no clanging of bells, no smell of incense and camphor, no pomp and show. Instead what I saw was empty beer bottles and cigaratte butts all around the place.
I don’t know his name, or why he suddenly beckoned me into a gaping hole in the wall, or what drove me to climb up that seemingly difficult slope. Inside the gaping hole was darkness everywhere. When my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness, I saw 2 men sitting there. One of them was sitting in front of a small diety and praying with full concentration. When I went in, he gave us a tour of the really tiny temple.
Most of the stories he told us about it being Siddhar Bhoomi and hearing their conversations and healing the sick can be easily brushed off as mindless talk of the village folk. He says he found his calling about 7-8 years back and since then has lived in the temple.
He goes in to the village for a meal a day and a glass of tea in the evenings. He firmly believes that the magical spring at the top of the hill has water that heals. This portrait was taken when he took us to the spring and made us taste the water as a testimony to the fact that stagnant water can never taste this pure or even be moss free. After some coxing, when we tasted that water, we found it was just fine. It didn’t taste like stagnant water at all.
What fascinated me was not his healing stories, not the seemingly clear water, not the bizzareness of the situation, but this man’s faith. He might have been telling us all this for the money we gave him finally, as one of my friends pointed out. Even if it was for the money, to sustain himself or the temple, his voice rang with a conviction that you couldn’t miss. His faith was in place. I left that place fascinated by what he had to say.
When was the last time this happened to you? Has the sheer strength in someone’s conviction/faith taken you by surprise?