Visiting Tirupati and Tirumala was a highlight during the summer holidays. It was a resort/retreat/piligrimage all rolled in one. That was the only place where we stayed in cottages/hotels and not a under a relative’s roof. Needless to say – me and my sister and brother used to thrilled about the trip.
I used to have this feeling that people who stayed in tourist places always had a picnic. Everyone who grew up in South India – at some point of the time or other must have visited Tirupati and Tirumala. Especially in Tirumala pilgrims/tourists define everything. I have not been to any other exclusive temple towns like this, so do not know much about other places – but I can imagine most of them would be the same.
I used to envy the kids in the knick-knack shops – thinking their life is one endless vacation. That they never had normal life like us – doing all the boring things – going to school, studying etc. Maybe I had this feeling because we were on a vacation and never did the normal things we did back home.
For me the only things that these kids did was have fun all day everyday. I know it is such a unreal feeling. Even after growing up this feeling never left me – though I knew it was not true. Then I had to study in Tirupati for 3 years. I realized then that they lived normal boring lives like rest of us in non tourist places did. They had to go to school, and no they did not eat out in hotels everyday. They had normal lives – they too had money problems all those mundane things that are a part of our existence.
I had a normal life the 3 years I was there – though staying in a hostel in a university does color your vision. Especially if you feel that you are studying some cutting edge stuff and think that you have the power to change the universe (hahaha changing India or World used to be too small a canvas).
Even today, I cannot give up that feeling of fairy tale when I think about living in a temple town.