A Meeting of Prayers

The temple pillar with the mosque in the background


My next day began early at 6.30 with a nature walk around the island, arranged by the resort. The first stop of the walk is at the beach to catch the sunrise and then onward inside the woods where Anil shows us a lot of natural wonders ranging from a medicinal shrub to casuarina groves and even a bog, which is filled with quicksand at the edges. The water in the middle stays still with hardly a stir and its surreal to stand at that particular spot. It seems like another place.

It was my last day on the island. But it was the best. I got to visit a mosque, ironically situated right opposite a 300 year old Durga temple. I was a bit apprehensive about my entry there without a veil or any such accoutrements. But my rickshaw driver who doubled up as my guide, assured me saying it was fine. Thus I took my first step inside a mosque. It was not very big. The sanctum sanctorum was closed to women but I could see it from the door where I stood. The rest of the women gave me curious looks but seeing my camera realized am just a tourist and not a Muslim woman flouting the rules, dressed as I was in jeans and a tee shirt. That was a memorable ten minutes, when I stood inside and watched the smoke from the incense sticks swirling towards heaven with prayers.

I left Devbagh knowing that I was leaving my peace behind and getting back to the worries of everyday living. I know true peace exists within and not without. But our ordinary lives are such that the without is all pervading. It sounds exotic when I write “my last day on the island”, as though I am the survivor of a shipwreck and I was being rescued. But each time I go to this place, I do feel like a survivor; of a life that centers around the troubles of money and relationships. When I come to the island these troubles are just washed away albeit momentarily. Its so symbolic. Lesson three – Perhaps you need to be an island yourself to be carefree.

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