Wednesday, February 24, 2010

People praying on trains: You know where the temples are at

As I've mentioned many times in my blog before I take the train to work occasionally. The train provides to be a great source of information and also keeps me connected to ground realities. Some very interesting characters take the train. My travel hour is against the traffic and off-rush-hour so people are seated comfortably and sometimes taking a nap as well. During these times its interesting to note that even during their nap some of the folks ensure they fold their hands or touch their forehead/ lips as if they were to pray (as kissing the cross worn around the neck only without the cross). This happens at some regular intervals and is like a synchronized / coordinated event like a synchronized swimming event. None of these people know each other and they are all simultaneously performing these actions independent of one another that constitute prayer or salutations to god all at the same time in the same manner. It used to baffle me and then I realized that they were all regular travelers and they all knew where the local temples were situated. As soon as the train passed by any of these popular temples they would pray in unison !! It was an amazing event of synchronicity in a divided society that one gets to see. Interestingly, some of the people are such regulars that they can determine the position or location of the train based on the sound the tracks make and their prayer is based on those sounds. Therefore it doesnt matter if they're half asleep ! I also realized that my driver would do the same thing driving our car. He would religiously do the same prayer action whenever the car would pass over water. So, I happened to enquire why he would do it over water. He replied that he was a Christian and there were two churches near those water bodies and hence the prayer... :-)

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