So this has been a month of many firsts. And one of them included my heading to a Hindu Temple in London, which I heard about for the past 10 years, finally I headed to the Swaminarain Temple in Neasden, London. It is a famous Gujarati temple which is on the tourist trail in London. I had stood in the crowds, close to the temple to see a spectacular firework display on Diwali in 2000, a long time ago. And since then I had not been in.
I am a fairly religious person, though talking about my faith and belief is not something I like doing, therefore temple visiting is not a need/ habit, its one of those..lets go and see it type of situations. Once in a temple I am happy, I pray, look around, feel good and go home. I have somehow managed to travel and see quite a few of the important Indian temples - Tirupati, Kashi, Haridwar, Rishikesh....and I do have a deep desire to see Amarnath at some point of time..anyway, I deviate.
So we went to this temple as a family and so we went in to see the temple and pray.
First we got pushed around quite a lot by some very rude people.
For the first time I was told that I could not take the baby bag as it was a "bag' and bags are not allowed in the interest of security (Heathrow eat your heart out). Then we stood (a first in a Hindu Temple for me) in two seperate queues, one for men and one for women. This differentiation by the same people who point steady fingers at mosques and Islam for differentiating between the sexes.
So the little one who is all of 2 months old was wearing these cute shoes.
Two uniformed men within the worship areas made me take off the tiny shoes the little one was wearing, as they were 'shoes'. They did not mind the leather belts, the phone holsters and the shiny leather wallets, but in the interest of being pure they wanted all shoes. Needless to say my fast asleep son woke up and was not pleased. I dont think I need to tell you that they were indeed very rude, bearing in mind the level of 'offense' and the offender here being a baby.
According to most religions babies/ children are equated to God, Angels, and have a special status which they enjoy till they grow up.
The experience was nasty, depressing and one I shall not want to repeat in a rush.
I dont know if this is a Gujarati thing, a British Gujarati thing, a question of rules of just plain stupidity on part of the temple. It might also be me being jumpy about anything to do with the baby, but I did not like the sex discrimination in the queuing system either. I have a special place in my heart for shoes, now especially for tiny fabric made ones with dragons on the sole.
I dont know if it is all of the above in parts, but, I did not like it. At all.