Friday, February 20, 2004

Robot Anjaneya

Two days after I read about the Robot Anjaneya installed at a temple, I stumbled across the temple in question. Anjaneya is the so-called Monkey-God of India. Anjaneya accompanied Lord Rama in his quest to rescue his wife Sita from the Demon King Ravana. Anjaneya is worshipped with a lot of affection here, particularly because he is considered the greatest devotee of Lord Rama. So when I saw the huge figure of Anjaneya installed outside the temple, I was curious enough to go see it for myself. Apparently some engineers had decided to construct a statue made probably of fiberglass and donate it to the temple. What was unique about the 10-foot hairy statue was that it moved. Sort of. The hands moved in time to some music- two phrases from a bhajan, actually- and also the mouth opened and closed. Like someone lip synching in a detectably bad way. When the statue opened its mouth, you could see flashing red and blue lights inside, like the dashboard of a particularly flashy car. I stood in front of the statue for sometime- watching people react to it, and it was quite varied. Most dismissed it as a gimmick, and on the other hand people were getting videotaped in front of it. The statue mysteriously disappeared one day, and now there is a vacant place in front of the temple.