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Religion 101: Thaipusam Scary Trip to Batu Caves 2009 Part 2

Thaipusam Batu Caves

The idea of parking the car in the industrial area for the trip to Batu Caves during Thaipusam came from my sister who has parked many times before but not at night and certainly not when creepy characters are lurking in the dark alleys. Image source: Google Map

Read Part 1 here

The good thing was that it was Thaipusam “night” and with the traffic police conveniently closed one of the main roads near the temple, many were forced to park in the industrial area as well. We were not alone but did not take any chances. Once out of the car, we walked fast. My son who was obviously more excited and walked even faster.

We entered through the 2nd entrance – the one that held the police command centre. Suddenly we were surrounded by police – some of them seem to be on a perpetual break, gunning down hot vadai and teh tarik under a cooling fan. Some were reporting for duty whilst others were laying around, probably on the lookout for potential “Makkal Sakthi trouble makers”.

Difficult to identify considering many Indians had the look and the “spirit” of Makkal Sakthi during Thaipusam.

We stood near the main lane of the temple, planning out on what we wanted to do next. My son who was attracted by Thaipusam’s colourful lights, sound and views wanted to go almost everywhere. But we know that if we do that we will be dead tired very soon. We need to plan it out properly.

Since the main agenda for the trip is shopping, we decided to go and search for the shop that sells Indian silver items and cookeries. My mom and my wife had certain things in their mind to purchase and were looking high and low for it. The rest of us on the other hand just tagged along, having a sneak peek of what other shops were selling.

We passed the fun-fair area (the one with ferries wheel and roller coaster) with great difficulty, simply because my son stopped and do not want to move until we got him up on the ferries wheel. Since we had the time, we decided to adhere to the big boss’ request. However, the area was so crowded with people (do not know whether they are lining up for the ride or lining up to see the ride), we changed our mind (my son was not happy about it but we managed to get him distracted).

The shops, the crowd and the hustle-bustle are normal during Thaipusam but here is something that does not make sense.

We “sell” Thaipusam in Batu Caves as part of the main tourist attractions but other than that, what we have done. One obvious negative attraction in Batu Caves is the rubbish. Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish – it is everywhere and fast becomes an eyesore. It is on the main field where people are sleeping and resting, along the pathways where people shopped and dined and on the main lane where the kavadis are carried and watched.

It is easy to understand why there is rubbish everywhere – the crowd is too much to handle, there is no dustbin conveniently available and even if there is one, it is quite far away from the main pathways. So what else can be done? Well, that is easy – just employ enough people to start sweeping the ground. The quantum of rubbish is not high although the area is. The local municipality workers were missing from the area.

They might as well call Batu Caves “the Cave of Rubbish.

To be continued in Part 3

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