The Chief Minister was expected to arrive any minute for a large program where hundreds of people had gathered.

There was an oil lamp in place at the corner of the stage, for the ceremony of ‘lighting of the lamp’. Some incense sticks had been lit to create a sweet smelling ambience. A large number of marigold garlands and rose bouquets were in place for welcoming the VIP’s.

Just as the security head and all organisers had cleared everything and given the green signal of all ‘OK’, one of the sniffer dogs that was a part of the security cluster that checked the stage area for any kind of explosives etc. cleared his bowels, just next to the red carpet area. Now this was a big problem as it was just a few feet away from where all the VIP’s were to alight.

Just then the siren of the escort jeeps started blaring. That meant that some minister or super VIP was arriving. The in-charge saw the offensive smelling heap and panicked. There was no way to clean it up now. What to do? So in a split second he took two – three garlands of marigold flowers from the ones that they had in place to welcome the VIP’s and placed them over the mound of poop. He quickly grabbed a pack of aggarbattis from the corner of the stage and stuck 7-8 aggarbattis over the flowers so that the stink emanating from the mound, would not get noticed.

In less than a minute, a Minister arrived. He was welcomed with a garland. He saw the mound of flowers with the incense burning and thought it must be a sacred place. So he bowed, payed obeisance to the spot, before taking his place on the Dias. The next VIP and the next and all that followed, did a repeat of what the first minister had done. Some of them even made offerings of money at the spot. One of them knelt down and bowed.

The in-charge who was watching all of the drama, was keeping his fingers crossed. He almost choked when one of them bowed and touched his head on the flowers.

Finally the Chief Minister came. By now the mound of flowers had become bigger. He alighted from the car and his gaze fell on the ‘spot’. He didn’t want to be labelled any less appropriate in social and religious etiquette. He knew that the media had all cameras on him. In a show of respect he folded his hands and made a deep bow and offered prayers.

Well! The program commenced and the Chief Minister amongst other things thanked the organisers for providing him an opportunity to pay obeisance at this holy spot. Sometime later, the program was over. Every one dispersed. The in-charge and his team cleared up the premises and shovelled away the ‘holy mound’ complete with flowers, into the garbage truck.

Besides the laugh … do think about this … Sometimes there are ancient beliefs that have no meaning. Incidents such as the one told above do make us realise that we need to use our heads too. Let us understand the ‘whys’ of things. Let us not be blind followers.

Let us clarify here, that we firmly believe that most of our Hindu rituals have a reason behind them. Our culture is based on a deep understanding of spirituality and science. So if we really delve into it, there is a wealth of knowledge there-in. Since people don’t have the time or the inclination to know for themselves, many a time they get fooled by palmists, astrologers, soothsayers and the like.