In the service of the Goddess of Tuljapur

May 2013, Tuljapur

 This place will never change. It has been the same for ten years now- I explained Charolette.

Charollete was a fellow intern at Deshpande Foundation in Hubli along with us- a bunch of enthusiastic folks who wanted to make a difference. She had decided to embark on an unplanned journey to Tuljapur to attend my brother's thread ceremony. Both of us took the early morning bus to Bijapur as we kicked off the weekend. The bus danced to the beats of the loud music as much as the blinking lighting in hues of sunset. The bus reminded me of a bride- decked up with accessories on the glass and along the windows, lights to show off the new varnish that a single pair of eyes would not miss on the road. The next four hours was seemingly not tedious as we managed to catch a nap till we touched down Bijapur. Within few minutes, we crashed in my sisters' hostel room for a quick refresh.

It is a big deal when you have a white friend who is not Indian and a bigger deal when you take her street shopping in a tier three city market to buy Indian fashion accessories. Our scenario was no different- shopkeepers hogged to catch our attention, kids on the street followed us for no reason and there was no way to shut those anxious glances following us around. After an endeavour to find a decent shop and an honest shopkeeper with nothing but an intent to help us buy the right size of green bangles for Charolette, we headed to the bus stand. The three hour bus trip to Tuljapur was an exciting one as we were accompanied by cattle herd, the geeky villagers in their white turbans, long moustache and dhotis, yelling kids and the women who did not appreciate the way we created a bag boundary to avoid an encounter with our co-passengers.


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