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Dodwa Temple, Motor Cycle and The Cycle

Dodwa, Mt.Abu, Rajasthan, Anadra, Village, temple, priest, pilgrimage, motorcycle, priest' daughter, rock, granite, doctor and cycle

The name of the village was Dodowa. That was in Rajasthan in India. It was a small village, about fifteen kilometer from the divisional town Sirohi. The high hill ranges of Aravalli surrounded the village. Mount Abu was about seventy kilometer from this place by road. Another short cut route was there; of course that was a foot track. The foot track was to start from the foothills at village Anadra. It would take three hours time to climb to reach the hill station at Mount Abu; that way, it could avoid fifty kilometer round way path. Anadra was about only twenty kilometer from that village. The village would have been an ideal site for camping to conduct geological works in all directions.

More over another charm was there that the pitching of tents could also be avoided! Surpunch (village head) of the village agreed for my temporary residence in a pilgrimage house in the out skirt of the village. The pilgrimage house was about one kilometer away from the village. Inside the campus a very big temple was situated. The deity of Goddess in the temple used to be worshiped daily in the morning and in the evening. The priest along with his daughter used to come twice every day and after finishing the jobs they used to go back their home in the village. As such after evening the temple and the pilgrimage house would be completely deserted and solitary. The entire campus was quite big and was walled all around. There were big trees of mango and deodar along with bushes and other trees all along the boundary walls.
In the day time a group of monkeys used to play and eat fruits of the trees. They used to play the whole day jumping from one tree to the other. In the night they would not to be seen in the trees! They would take their shelter over the top roof of the pilgrimage house. The pilgrimage house was of double storied. In fact the building was a huge one with a number of big rooms in each floor which were made up of beautiful tiles of marble! The entire house and the courtyard of the temple used to be cleaned every day by the priest’s daughter and a few of her companions. In the evening during the worship the priest would enchant the pray in his loud voice and the girl would be busy in hammering the bell of the temple. The sound of the bell would circulate every corners of the pilgrimage house! The sun would set aside! The birds would start returning their nests while hundreds of pigeons would settle in the corners of the every pillar and would make sound to announce their presence!

The jungles outside the compound walls would be active in the night time! Foxes and hyenas would start barking, fire fly would start assembling over the leaves of the trees and the unknown sound would create an atmosphere of an isolated island! Before going back to the village the priest would invariably come and sit aside the camp caught and would talk with me in Rajasthani language! The language was mixed with a number of Hindi words and so I would understand him and would able to continue the conversation for quite a long time! Meanwhile, Babu my cook would serve tea along with some snacks! The day’s work around granitic terrain of this area would tire me sometimes and therefore I used to feel relaxed in talking with the priest! His daughter would wait for her father keeping herself aloof at a distance! Sometimes I used to call her near to sit by her father’s side. She was a shy girl and would not accept even a cup of tea!

Her father used to be embarrassed and would say “ Never mind Sahib, my daughter does not understand Hindi and that is why she is hesitant”
I would reply, “ No, I don’t mind but let her join in our chit chat and she will automatically understand our talks!”
She would frown then and would shout, “ What do you think? I am not a kid, I am fifteen years old! And I studied up to class four in our village school.”
The priest would be further embarrassed. He would try to laugh and say “ Yes Sahib, She is now fifteen! Her husband will come soon to take her in the in laws house”.
--- “ Is it so? Your daughter is married! But she is still minor! Do you know, the girls should attend eighteen years before their marriage? This is the law in our country. You may be prosecuted for this offense”!
The priest would say with heavy heart “ In one side Government rule and in other side our social bindings! Do you know sahib, if I did not get her married before fourteen years of age our society would then boycott me! They would stop washer man, barber and all the shops for us”!
I would say, “ What nonsense! Are we in the medieval age? It is simply barbaric act! No one protest against it?”
--- “ Who will and why sahib! This is our custom and our forefathers introduced this system. It is being accepted generations after generations. How can we defy now?”
“ Ok, leave the matter. By the by what is your son in-law? Which place he belongs?”
--- “ He is from Kalandri, sahib. From here it is about thirty kilometer or so. Sahib, do you know Jasawantapura?”
I nodded on his query and he continued further “. Kalandri is on the way to Jasawantapura. My son in-law is a compounder in the hospital there.”
--- “ Oh! You did not choose priest’s family! That means he does not perform any worship like you!”
--- “ No sahib, there is nothing in this profession. Now a day’s people are loosing faith on God! Our situation is becoming precarious! We are almost in the verge of begging!”
--- “ But still, I find much potentiality in you. Your surpunch is at your beck and call! And I find, on every Monday, a lot many gift brought by many people from near and far!”
--- “ You are right sahib! By the grace of God, I don’t have any problem as such. Only thing, that I don’t have any extra! Now that I have to gift one motorcycle to my son in-law and only then he will accept my daughter! I don’t know what I will do, where from I will get such a huge amount?”

I wondered, how casual the people were! They accepted the dowry system and was tolerating in the name of custom & social system!
Priest’s daughter was so long silent! On hearing about motorcycle she got irritated and shouted at her father “ Do you have any sense! It is quite late now. Mother must be waiting and have you forgotten that tomorrow is Monday? We have to come early in the morning. Please don’t waste any further.”

They left the temple and went back to their village. Slowly the darkness crawled and gripped the entire surrounding. I was all alone; the cook was preparing the food in another room and the night watchman started his duty with a torch in his hand. It was a huge compound, the main gate was quite far off which was already been closed. Just above the main gate, one room of nahabat khana (orchestral place for any ceremony) was temporarily occupied by the driver and his family. My room was in the main building. A messenger was to be sent to call the driver whenever needed. The cook also, after doing his job would go to them to sleep! I would then be completely alone! I would remain lied over my bed under a mosquito net. I would hear the sound of pigeons and at times their frightened fly in the dark would hurt them by the pillars and would fall on the ground! The jungle cat hiding behind the pillar would immediately jump and catch the bird and would run away! I also would be frightened and would focus the torch! Nothing would be seen! The cat would be so quick in its action! This way I would not come to know when I would go to deep sleep! The night’s hyena would come outside the boundary wall in search of their prey. The night watchman would remain busy in chasing them away with his big bamboo stick. Thousands of stars would smile from above the sky! I would go on dreaming of my childhood days or of any dreaded imaginative events!
Next day morning was Monday. I was awakened by the cheerful and joyous voices of playing children. I saw a lot many people busy in arranging the cooking materials in the open courtyard. They were careful and would not disturb my sleep as far as possible!

I got up from my bed when Babu served me a cup of tea. I hurriedly prepared myself to go to the field work. All those people would remain in the temple for the whole day; they would prepare their food and would exchange and enjoy their special menu churma & bati (prepared out of wheat flower, sugar and pure butter). In my absence they would try to get information about my mission and my whereabouts. At times, in place of my cook the daughter of the priest would reveal the details of my objective of relentless search of valuable stones like gold, diamond and what not!

Like any other day, I would move around and would examine the rock exposures and would record & plot. The rocks were mainly granite and granite gneiss. The later rocks formed alternate bands of rich and poor mica ( biotite mainly). Those rocks were the oldest rocks in that part of the area. There were plenty of long dykes of granite porphyry, which were cutting across the granites mass and were running for kilometers. Those younger porphyries were much fresh and were looking elegant! Those rocks were quite hard and could be utilized in house building and for decoration purpose! There was a rock-cutting factory in the nearby vicinity in Jalor district. They, however, used to cut and polish the fresh granite slabs only. Perhaps they did not know about the porphyry dykes. I knew one day or the other; the dykes would be in great demand.

I took a long traverse and was availing the jeep able road and finally I came up to Kalandri. Last year I stayed there for about a month in a duck bungalow. Hospital of the village was just adjacent to it and therefore in my leisure time I used to visit the hospital and meet the doctors there. I made friendship with them and they also used to pay return visit! Among them Dr.Sharma was the in-charge of the hospital and developed a cordial relationship with me.

He was very happy to see me again after a long gap! We talked at length and he did not leave me, I had to share lunch with him in his Quarter! It suddenly struck in my mind about the son in-law of the priest of Dodowa temple. I enquired about him; the doctor said he was not a compounder but health assistant. Yes he belonged to Kalandri and stayed with his parents. Doctor did not know that he was a married man. I told him about the boy and said he would not bring his wife from his in-law’s house unless a motorcycle was gifted to him! Doctor became very unhappy and annoyed and commented how could he think like that, even the doctors did not have any motorcycle! Did he not know even the acceptance of dowry was a punishable act! Would he like to serve the hospital or ride the motorcycle to boss the doctors! At the best he could have requested just for a cycle!

My work around Dodowa was about to be over. I was planning to shift my camp at Jasawantapura. The priest came to know my plan and in one evening he came with his broad smiling face and told “ Sahib, there is one good news, my son in-law will come tomorrow to take my daughter to his house…”
--- “ Oh! Great news in deed! Did you give him money for the motorcycle?”
--- “ No, sahib! Where from I would get such huge amount! My son in-law is a very good boy; He asked me to gift a cycle only…!”
Published: 2008-02-01
Author: Asimendu Bandopadhyay

About the author or the publisher
About the author :
The author, Mr. Asimendu Bandopadhyay, uses his free time in writing. He has developed a writing style revealing the bondage of nature and the life. He wants to share & communicate those events of his own with the readers for their valuable feelings and interactions. The author was working as a Director in Geological Survey of India in the last phase of his service career. In his younger days worked in various field of geology with background of foreign training in United Kingdom under United Nations Development Programme Scheme in Marine Exploration. He gathered vast experience both in land and Ocean. Active participation as Chief Scientist in as many as 15 different geological cruises in the Bay of Bengal is in his credit. He took part in search of Fe-Mn nodules cruising 45 days at a stretch in sea in the Indian Ocean in Skandy Surveyor, a Norwegian Research Vessel. Published scientific papers in national and international journals. Besides scientific milieu, came across many human-inhuman experiences. Vast field of Rajasthan, the place of desert and his initial placement in the job ended in the deep sea through majestic happenings covering human feelings and scientific search.

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