Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Publius Trivius Vigneshwasaurus

Every few days or so, I go walkabout around T. Nahar to see that which is to be seen and learn that which is to be learned. The other day, one train of thought came, on Platform No. 3.

Anyone who knows Madras knows that at all T junctions, there will be a small shrine to Pillayar a.k.a Vinaayakudu, Ganapati, Vighneshwara, Vishwaksena (depending on geography, caste etc.) The P. man will be facing directly down the stem of the T. It's not clear why this practice started. One side-splitting internet explanation goes like so:
The figure of lord ganesh is a auspicious figure which is full of cosmic energy. The figure of lord ganesha has got wave length equal to the wave length of T- Junction the T- Junction in front of a main entry of a building is inauspicious and it obstruct the flow off energy in a building. Hence to rectify the negative impacts of T - Junction the figure of lord ganesha should be placed at the main entry.
So the dude has a "wave length" now? I suppose if I lived on a T junction street I could say "Ganapati and me understand each other completely, we are on the same wavelength, I say."

Anyway, the other explanation I've heard is that he's put facing the stem of the T so that he can ward off any Trouble that comes hurtling straight towards the house. Very curious. Apparently, Trouble is capable of charging down streets in the manner of a cavalry division, but hasn't quite figured out how to turn corners.

Now T. Nagar is chock-a-block full of these quaint little shrines. Each of them is scrupulously maintained. There's fresh flowers usually, a lamp, various condiments pasted on the stone etc. There also seems to be a small-ish army of motorcycle riding priests who dart around (from Pillayar to post, as it were) servicing these temples.

Here begins the Paranoid Conspiracy Theory. In some distant past, when they were doing the town planning for T. Nagar, did some cabal of pujaris strike a deal with the powers that be? Did the powers that be draw the map so that T. Nagar got more than its fair share of T junctions? Is the very name T. Nagar a code word for T Junction Nagar? Were quantities of karpooram handed over from priestly hands to the civic authorities in those days of yore? Do the descendants of those enterprising priests pay off their municipality counterparts even today? Are illicit and illegal massively parallel chantings of the Vishnu Sahasranaamam available to the elected ward council members? Am I insane? (This one we know the answer to.)

Other random points in respect of the jolly god of trivia:
  1. At what point does a Ganesha become necessary at a 3-way junction? In other words, when is a T junction truly a T junction? At what limiting value of θ, where θ is the (acute) angle between the stem and the cross of the T?
  2. There are a couple of places where the 3 streets meet at 120 degrees in respect of each other, like the Mercedes logo, as opposed to T. Here, the conservative builders of houses have, bless their souls, in some cases installed 3 statues! A Holy Mexican Standoff! These Vinaayakas are surely overtaxed. Imagine having to switch constantly between 2 streets while looking out for Trouble. Anything could happen.


Veena said...

Your side-splitting funny explanation for Pillayar at T-junctions is not that uncommon. Unfortunately.

A few decades ago when my poor parents finally gathered life savings together and decided to build a house in a T-junction, an esteemed gentleman gave them similar explanation and said we should live there only if we erect a large Pillayar statue in front of the house. I was very excited by the idea of Pillayar in car shed - I was sure every random passerby would drop in and crack 1 nos coconut each which I can then eat the whole day. My parents were not amused.

Straight Talk said...

the thing about trouble hurtling down straights is widely believed. it also works the other way round, ie if you are a business, and a road shoots right out of your front door it is considered to be invitation for good luck to bolt.

My dad changed the location of the front gate of our workshop for this reason. spent a pretty penny on it too.
our luck doesnt seem to have changed though ;)

kbpm said...

Have you found religion, per chance, ludwig?
i must notice your hands closely. every 20 m or so, do they surreptitiously creep up and touch your eyes, right-left right-left, in rapid succession? do they? do they?
is *this* the reason you are not so enamored by the CeiLing any more? Is it? Is it?

deshvaasi said...

Coincidentally, I was just thinking the other day about a close cousin of the T-junction pillayar: the middle-of-the-road shrine. We have two such reasonably close to where I live. More dangerous than the T-J-P for obvious reasons. They also have more room to grow, what with so much road available on all four sides. With temples come people, with people come vehicles, with vehicles comes the need for parking. So people just park in front of the temple, i.e. in the middle of the road. Sweetness!

Ludwig said...

[Veena] I have always wanted to play the role of this 'esteemed gentleman' you speak of, in real life. Be one funda putting thaatha, i.e. And pontificate viciously.

[Straight Talk] That is all very well, but do I know you? :)

[kbpm] I have found it, and it is CRAP! It is! It is!!

[deshvaasi] Ah. The nadu road, Nadaraaja. It indeed beckons a separate monograph.

Space Bar said...

so if Trouble-with-a-T goes crashing into the pillayar, can we say we have moved from pillayar to post-mortem?