Standing in line waiting for a red thread to be tied around my wrist I wonder about what it is that pulls people here.
Yes the temple is beautiful, and yes the deity is a wonder to gaze upon but so many people patiently waiting in line and doing anything that is required just to be allowed in to be a part of the experience.
All my questions and floating ideas are answered by the immense emotional reaction I have to the goddess. Tears flow down my face without my feeling any single identifiable emotion. Just the immensity of it.
All around me people smile,they cry, they close their eyes, they stare, they fidget.
The dancers make their offerings of movement. Between each section the the bhairaginis deck the goddess in calming sandalwood, smother her in butter, make her bridaly shy in haldi and vibrant and fiery in kumkum.
The aarti is taken to each person almost individually. Even so people stretch and reach out to receive a tangible expression of her care and blessing, something they can relate to. Something that they can see. Something that she probably couldn't care less about.
A feeling of having met someone with whom I share a close personal relationship instigates me to join the long line of people who go to receive the kumkum and then to bow down to her. Walking out of the shrine I see her army and her pamper-ers waiting to take her out in procession. The moon in full bloom seems to have a facade of calm, pregnant with excitement underneath. I share the excitement...and the facade of calm as I make my way to watch her woo her other half.
I smile as I realise, I've been a part of this process before but every time it feels new. Every time I feel like a mother, sister, daughter and lover.