Why India has more temples than toilets

‘There are temples everywhere!’ beamed a visiting professor of history a long time ago. He was referring in particular to his visit to the south of India. That may be the case. For the countryside people across the subcontinent, the whole of nature is a nourishing shade to relax and unload. Morning and evening, alone or in groups. It’s a matter of cultural convenience at work. Nor could the eco-friendly benefits of the practice to the performer and recipient be denied. It is sustainable, to the highest degree imaginable. And they do it behind the bushes, not over the Taj Mahal. What makes it a practice to look down upon, and denigrate the country itself, is the association with poverty. But we know it has nothing to do with lack of money. Since all noble Indian cultural practices have mythological stories associated with them, I wonder what story goes with this practice. Which sage’s wrath, or the wrongdoing of a king, denies two...
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The caterpillars

Yesterday, as I waited at the bus stop, I saw a bunch of caterpillars, black-skinned with streaks of yellow colour, about half a finger in length, clinging to the leaves of a shrub. Their shiny skin made me feel it with the back of my fingers. When touched, they would instantly curl inwards in self defense. I stood there fixed with admiration for these slender, attractive, magnificent works of nature. It took me a while to realise what they were up to. The green, leafy shrub they had taken shelter on was being slowly eaten away. Leaves hung on the shrubs, some on the ground, half eaten or completely devoured by the caterpillars. In an instant act of justice, I pulled down some of them, only to realise that I had deprived some creatures of their food while saving certain others from destruction. Is justice too human to be true for all?   Jan 26, 2007       ...
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