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vancouver India
Hyderabad to Shirdi
Jan 08, 2010 06:45 PM 9288 Views
(Updated Jan 10, 2010 11:14 PM)


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(Shirdi Sai Baba Temple 15-Nov-2009)

Things were not rosy on my present job scene, so it spurned me to visit Shirdi Sai Baba for mental peace & for an assurance that by Sai’s grace things would improve in future. In 2003 I went to Shirdi for the first time with my Pops. This time after a gap of 6 years, things have no doubt changed for the worse.

I booked my tickets in tatkal 2 days prior, from a local rly station close to my rented accommodation here at Balkampet Hyderabad. Every morning around 6.30 am I head out to this ‘Nature Cure Rly Stn’ for my routine 30 minutes of religious jogging: P

So I had to head out a little early these two days, so that I complete my jogging & also make myself available around 7 am at the counter, ‘cause if I don’t feature in the first 5-6 person in any of these two lines, my chances of getting a tatkal reservation becomes bleak.

This local station is situated on the Hyderabad-Wadi Junction(Maharashtra) line & hence I could see a slew of regular morning trains(Konark Express, Bangalore Rajdhani) everyday as I hog my 5-6 km of jogging to-n-fro sweating like a pig.

The tickets booked, I packed my modest bag with 1 pair of ironed clothes to be changed into for the temple darshan. The train was to depart at 18:00 hrs from old Secundrabad station. The journey to Manmad was without trouble, only that 4 fat ladies group happened to be in the same compartment as mine & wanted to exchange my lower long berth for theirs, the moment I entered. By now I am so used to it, which I said without any guilt, Sorry!

I bought the recent STARDUST magazine for the exorbitant price of 75 bucks, as it featured the most exclusive interview of Aamir Khan ever. I am so happy I did, ‘because the words of Aamir were an inspiration in many aspects. I strongly recommend all to read the extract. Its motivating from marketing point of view, it speaks about the lessons Aamir learnt while trying to Market his movies.

I dozed away while reading the book. The four ladies got up at 3 am(!) & to my horror, started chit-chatting with each other. Their destination as mine was Manmad, which the train would reach at its scheduled time of 6.40 am. They spoilt my slumber & out of irritation, but still being polite I asked them to speak in low voice.

I reached Manmad at 6.40 am & once out of the filthy-dirty-stinking station, enjoyed a plate of Maharashtrain Poha at a thela for 6 Rs only . The almost empty ST bus took 40Rs & 1.5 hrs to reach Shirdi, passing its way through some green fields & low hills.

Once in Shirdi I realized my folly of having arrived in a temple town on a Sunday. The roads were jammed by vehicular traffic & incessant stream of devotees arriving from far & wide. I tried to check into some hotel, but to my dismay had a real hard time of 1.5 hrs haggling around, as most of them were not ready to rent out to single person stating a sudden spurt of suicides among the single occupants.

Ultimately I got a booking for a decent double bedroom for 600 bucks to be vacated by 1800 hrs, which was good for me as I had my return train at 2100 hrs from Manmad. I took a bath & relaxed till 12 noon reading a book(William Dalrmple’s “Nine Lives in India”).

At 1200 hrs I headed towards the temple darhsan queue, having left the mobile, camera & bag at the hotel, else there is another line just to deposit these things. I kept the book with me. The long It reminded me of the grueling 2 hrs line I had to bear this very year while at Guruvayur temple in North Kerala.

The actual darshan lasted for just 5 seconds, as we neared the principal white marble sculptor of Sai Baba, there were 3-4 hefty security men & women who manhandled all of us & pulled us forward & then pushed us towards the back-exit, not allowing anyone of us to stand there for more than a single second. We barely managed to catch a glimpse of the much venerated Sai-Baba idol from close quarters.

I felt a little humiliated by this sudden shove, but my grimace got nullified when I saw all & sundry being treated the same way. It was like Peek-a- Boo!

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