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Dwarka: The City of Illusion

12 - 13 June 2011

(Let me inform anyone looking for a philosophical take on God’s existence that this trip concerns people and their behavior towards the concept of such a power, not an evaluation of the power itself. My involvement includes the reactions that I may observe in areas where this concept is taken to its most extreme boundaries, and where religion happens to be the primary source of recognition and attraction for the town itself.)

“The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” – Oscar Wilde

Dwarka: majestic, rustic and capable of making one consider themselves time-travellers, as it almost absolutely lives in a culture experienced decades ago. I wasn’t surprised when I noticed the lack of youth in local public: most had already ‘escaped’ according to them, but more likely trapped in the vicious circle of the slowest form of death, the modern way of living. One incident that personally shaped my experiences in the grandiose town of isolation and insulation from the modern world occurred in the city’s crown jewel, the Dwarkadeesh temple. Hundreds gather for the daily ‘aarti’ that takes place amidst clanging bells and booming drums, and each one of those people hope to transform themselves in some way as a result of their display of devotion, which they so desperately want to portray to others. As I stood in line, one of dozens of sardines packed in a box, I noticed the first ounce of joy from anyone in the crowd: the glowing smile of a baby as he seemed to be obsessed with something above his head, looking upwards every few seconds and transfixing his eyes as if hypnotized by an enticing force. I glanced upwards to realize that it was only a fan. A 3 or 4 bladed instrument used primarily to provide forceful winds and cool air by method of rotation. Each blade is identical, a provider of comfort, yet when in motion all together resemble a circle of sorts. The baby’s fascination with the instrument seemed to bloom from his curiosity as to where the blades disappeared to, once the fan was switched on. Strange, the fact that once something cannot be seen, its attraction automatically increases. The invisible blades seemed to reflect in attribute to the objective of my trip itself, and the peculiar trait that most people share in obsessing over what they may call comfortably unexplainable.

Endless faces stare, anticipating.

The unstoppable clatter of voices becomes
gradually agonizing, extracting any iota of faith left.
Hands rise upwards, chants fill the room, the standard praying procedure commences.
An abrupt smile is spotted in the sea of expressions. Wonder and disbelief cram my mind.
A baby, wide-eyed, gawks in bewilderment.
The three-bladed disc is now just a disc.
The blades are invisible. Illusion surrounds all of us
In a wafting wind of agony.

Strange, how he may react with astonishment
while we choose to worship pointlessly.

Posted by ankitdamani 02:15 Tagged people religion history india baby illusion artifact government poetry dwarka

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i am proud u noticed so much so simply..love u:)

by pria72

I'm really proud of you :) Missing you

by Aayush

Very honest. Your rage is justified. This is straight from the heart. Would like to read more from you.

by mahesh m zaveri

fantastic work ankit, so proud of you =) poignant and succinct. I'd love to see more on the performance aspect of faith which you capture so well in the beginning of the piece.

by nehathirani

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