Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Holy Men (?)



In Benares, I also met a Naga Sadhu (not photographed) who spends all his time at Rajghat, attracting his own followers, since he shifted base there decades back. I was told he was close, if not older than a hundred years and he certainly looked it, wrinkles, fallen teeth and all. Benares is full of all sort of characters, but I doubt anyone could really sham their way through that long a time, or really have the will and inclination to. The sadhu we met himself certainly didn't look like one - a shammer, I mean - but it was a general thought about all the sadhus and babas that abounded. Who really knows. Though, I guess, if some one manages to be in character for years on end, that's a pretty significant achievement too, isn't it?

The three characters we met outside the magnificent Virupaksha Temple at Hampi were quite something else, stubbornly, loudly, asking for baksheesh the moment they saw they were being photographed. I had tried being surreptitious, but they noticed and posed fantastically, living up to all those cliched images of India . As they told dear E in all seriousness as they opened their palms in front of us, "Your choice madam - demons or no demons." Indeed.


The Bride said...

Well, they didn't get all dressed up for nothing. Even mime artists in New York ask for money if you take a photo.

??! said...

As do little Masai boys in Tanzania. In dollars, please.