Each year the Lord Kapali comes out in procession in all his finery and progresses around the four Mada Streets of Mylapore. The Man from Madras Musings never misses the event and is usually present on all the important days. But as the years advance, MMM cannot help wondering as to what Lord Kapali must be noting as he goes triumphantly by.
True, his heart must be filling with pleasure on seeing the tank full of water. But he must certainly also know that the tank is essentially out of bounds for most people, chiefly because they cannot resist the urge to throw waste of various kinds into it. Also he must have sadly noted that the level of cleanliness on the streets is continuously plumbing new depths, even as the waistlines of His devotees are expanding to new circumferences thanks to increased prosperity. The latter has also meant a sharp increase in the number of people wanting to distribute food, water, fruit juices, buttermilk and aerated drinks. The reality, however, is that those who line up to accept these freebies do not actually need them. Gone are the days when such free kitchens were set up to cater mainly to the very poor and those who came for the event from the mofussil. Now it is all the local populace and very well to do ones at that. As a consequence, most people accept the refreshment on offer, take a sip or a spoonful out of it and then simply throw the rest away. As the photograph featured below does show, most of Mylapore was awash with food waste, plastic plates and cups, and other kinds of refuse (pun intended) as the event progressed. Lord Kapali must have certainly been saddened by it all. Perhaps it is time for him to knock some sense of hygiene and cleanliness into his faithful flock.
While on the same event, MMM wonders if Lord Kapali notes the slow but steady replacement of all heritage buildings in his vicinity by concrete monstrosities. It is, for instance, impossible to photograph his temple without getting the neon sign of a famed garment retailer also into the same picture. This anagram of the saree has managed to position its advertisement almost cheek by jowl with the temple. Good commercial sense, no doubt, but what about good old plain aesthetics? MMM is fairly certain that Ichabod is the expression that springs to Lord Kapali’s lips each time he passes by, high on his mount.