Take a wall. Add two grills – one perpendicular to the wall and the other at right angle to the first grill. Complete the square with another grill that has a door. Put an asbestos sheet over this box – big enough to hold ten–fifteen devotees facing a smaller than life-size idol, and you have a temple.
In a life so stressed out and time so stretched out – where is the time to build temples as history has shown us? But this new architecture, if I dare call it that, is more inclusive, simple, and accessible. Through the grills, lit by a power-saving tube-light, the idol looks at you benevolently – offering its unconditional blessing to all who pass by. Three minutes of the sight of an idol is redemption in this sin city. In a city that is rich by all standards; poorest when it comes to time, this is instant religion.
What devotion is such that even faith is makeshift – temporary in structure? Why these installations of faith? Isn’t God is all-permeating, all-knowing, and omnipresent? Why then, this anti-edifice? Pray, what have we forgotten to believe?
Image: A temple at the Kalbadevi Beach, off Ratnagiri. (c) Atul Sabnis, 2005. All rights reserved.