Blame it on my rather parochial mind or call it my commitment unto Him and His omniscience that I never forgot to call on Him at His most magnificent abode at Angkor, though it took me 33 long years to arrive there at his benign doorstep. That picture of Lord Buddha’s face – peaceful, full of tranquility only ascribed to the Gods – partially covered with a thin leafy branch of a Cotton Silk Tree or that serpentine vine, I could never move away from my committed mind. I would constantly remind myself through all those years that some day I should find myself in those mellifluous environs of the Gods. I eventually, did.
My state was like someone possessed once boarded the airplane at Delhi. a few days at Bangkok and then onto Siem Reap. Those glimpses of Hotel Empress Angkor (though those were missing in reality there) I used to check online were coming in front of my mind as I went through the paces. Bought a brand new camera Nikon D5500 (I am an out & out Nikon fan – used to have an FT2 thirty five years ago and then an N6006 film camera since these past twelve years and then the D5300 which my younger child has begun his photography career with). The Thai Smile flight and arrival at the Hotel to begin my pilgrimage at Angkor; Angkor of my day dreams.
Tell you frankly, I had almost memorised the road stretch from SRI Airport to the Hotel, the surroundings, the floating market, the entities along the road to the Hotel, the people, the Tuk Tuks et el having checked them over & over again on the internet. i had viewed it so many times only to make my resolve that much more concrete.
Upon arrival at the Temple complex, once the awe of its enormity waned a little, and I began to proceed further, it was all stones everywhere. Moving further, even that thought began to wane. Wane because the art and sculpture grew so soul-endearing that any harshness lent by the presence of the toughness of stone began to yield to the more delicate side of the primary character of the temples. Although facades have got damaged over the years but whatever is left of them is simply something one doesn’t get to witness at many a place; in fact nowhere.
Further inquiry, as one moved along, provided galleries of bas-relief so full of life that you tend to forget you are simply witness to a work of art. It takes over your senses. It overwhelms you. This make believe world of Angkor suddenly bursts into real life. Osmotically melting into real and virtual life. The scenes begin to enact as real life playing right before your eyes. You become part of the real life happenings as a full time participant.
You watch just as Lord Ram fires an arrow at Bali. As Hanumanji lifts the majestic mountain to save an unconscious Lakshmanji, you find you are watching the scene with baited breath. Similarly, as The Bhishma Pitamah asks Arjun for water, you want to pour some into his dry lips from your own water bottle. And then realise that, hell, I am just standing at Angkor watching a mellifluous work by a master artist who must have known almost a thousand years earlier, for all you know, that he would create something so enchanting that some day an Onlooker will effectively become submerged in his work and that would be the day his dedication shall stand vindicated. He is being repaid for that fine work by thousands like myself everyday since past nearly thousand years.
My quest, as I have mentioned already in a different post, being incomplete still, I am scheduled to gi back this week. Afterall I need to speak with Him. Besides, got to be a tad more deliberate in my understanding of the entire feeling Angkor. Of that mellifluous feeling.