Indian Spirituality & Tea Kadai Testimony!

Disclaimer: All characters, incidents mentioned here are fictional and yeah I don’t take responsibility for anything written in this blog 😛

What’s common between Mylapore & Nanganallur in Chennai, one might ask. And the answer from an unobservant, un-Mycroft-like mind would be that both have lots’a temples. But for a keenly observant mind, it goes much more than that.

People from the United States, if you’re wondering from where the Indian whiz kids that make up the majority of Silicon Valley’s  start-ups and boot-ups come from, its precisely from these two places from the city of Chennai. Chances are, any 60 and older person you meet in these two places has a son or daughter studying in Stanford, MIT or any other top school for Science & Technology or working in top companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc.

And all those 60 and above persons would have visited the US atleast once and some of them may even be green card holders spending 6 months in India and 6 months in the States. Overhearing such 60 year olds while standing in line to meet Mr.Kabali in Mylapore, I happenned to ponder over the vagaries of life yet again. And I decided at that moment, unlike last time when I got enlightenment in the Japanese town of Suzuki, I would this time seek answers from an Indian guru meditating atop the sacred hills of “Tirisulam”, for the lack of vacation leaves this year.

After an arduous task of driving through peak hour Chennai traffic and negotiating the slow driving of America going Mylaporites and Nanganallurites near the Chennai airport, I reached the foothills of Tirisulam. Deciding to take a tea break, I took a seat(or a bench) in the tea shop close by.

Sipping hot water with a slight tea flavouring, I pondered over the discussion I overheard in Mr. Kabali’s abode. It went like this :

Mr. Subbu..what I'm saying is.......

Mr. Subbu..what I’m saying is…….

“Mr.Vaithy: Hello Mr. Subramaniam! How are you? When did you come back from the States?”

“Mr.Subbu: Hello Mr.Vaidyanathan! I’m very good. Just came back last Sunday. In Singapore Airlines. This time I strictly told my son, who is working in Facebook, to not book in any other flights!!”

“Mr.Vaithy: Ya ya! They are the best airlines. Enna service enna service!!! So how was life in Palo Alto??”

“Mr.Subbu: What to say Mr.Vaithy!! It’s a materialistic life there. Only in India do we find Spiritualism. Only Spiritualism gives comfort to the mind. All these western countries are running behind money!!”

“Mr.Vaithy: Absolutely Mr.Subbu. Spiritually enriching life in India is the best.”

And the conversation continued on the nature of spiritually enriching life in India amongst other topics such as 2 hour powercut in the state, Arvind Kejriwal and the Bama vs. Rukmaney contest (although I think this was about Obama vs. Romney contest..oh what the hell..I may have heard it wrong).

My deep thinking was disturbed by loud discussion between two guys, who were most probably drivers of cab services that ply to the airport, who came to the tea shop as well.

“Enna pa…night full duty’a innikku??”

“illa pa…en duty over.. just now dropped a family in the airport who is sending off their son to US.”

“Yaen pa…why is everyone going to the US?? India’la thaan we have spirituality and happiness!!”

“Innapa solre?? In India everything is centered on Money. US is exact opposite of that!!”

“You’re telling the exact opposite!!! How do you say this??”

“Listen – Based on what are Indian marriages arranged?”

“Mostly family decides based on the couple’s caste, family status, available properties and also if the boy and girl like each other.”

“Right. But what will happen if the caste, family status and properties don’t match but the boy and girl like each other??”

“Then they will not proceed with the marriage!”

“Right. So caste and money are the fulcrums that hold the marriage together. Agree??”

“Hmm…I’m not sure!!”

“Take your time!! Think about it. Also consider this. Why do we not encourage our kids in sports, or other non-science courses?”

“Ennapa ippdi kekkare?? If they study something non-science and play sports, how will they make money?”

“So we believe children will be happy only with money and not by doing what they like.”

“I’m confused!”

“It’s easy. What I’m trying to say is, Indians base everything with money. But say we are a spiritualistic country. Whereas in the US and other western countries, they marry out of love and do jobs as per their liking while money is a positive cause-effect.”

“But What about our temples? Our peace of mind due to our spirituality??”

“What peace of mind? When does a person in India lives with peace??

  • He struggles to get his daughter married to a rich family.
  • Makes his son study science while restricting his other talents for sports and arts.
  • Ensures he earns well abroad in the States or Europe.
  • Basically we search for spiritual peace by accomplishing material goals.
  • I don’t know what spiritual peace is but one thing i’m sure of is it is definitely not what we have in India.”

“So you’re saying caring for our kids to have a prosperous life is wrong??”

“Ofcourse not. All I’m saying is, don’t call yourself  spiritual when your peace depends on materialistic accomplishments.”

“I don’t understand a thing man!! All I know is, I get my “spirit”ual peace in TASMAC :)”

Off they went. But things began to clear up for me. Now I have no need to go uphill to meet the sage. This Tea kadai is my bodhi tree.

Explore posts in the same categories: India, Marana Mokkai, Mokkai

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6 Comments on “Indian Spirituality & Tea Kadai Testimony!”

  1. vk20 Says:

    Good one Srini. You have captured the thought process beautifully in a conversation 🙂

  2. ashokjan24 Says:

    Thanks Vinitha 🙂

  3. Anand Says:

    Well-written, Ashok! Succinctly captures the hypocrisy much prevalent in our society. We’re so quick to tag others as materialistic and be judgemental about the West. Our day-to-day activities are nothing but mundane yet we proudly cling to our spiritual legacy, which is only a thing of the past. At least, West is candid being Hedonistic!

  4. Kaushik Says:

    Very well thought out, as usual !

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