We completed Badami, Pattadakallu (next post) and Aihole in one day. We reached the Hospet public bus stand at 8 am but even with the best of our intentions to travel rough (and cheap), we just couldn’t get into the rattled-looking K.S.R.T.C bus. Thankfully since April happens to be an off-season for tourist service providers, we got an excellent deal on a cab for a one-day travel. Our dear auto driver friend helped us find this cab driver. So after seeing the amazing Badami caves, we reached Aihole. The architecture here is really beautiful too. Apparently, the design for our parliament was inspired by the Durga Temple at Aihole. Aihoḷe has been described as one of the cradles of temple architecture. It was apparently a prominent city in the Chalukyan empire.
I’m running out of adjectives to describe the architectural beauty of these places. I’m painfully aware of how repetitive I must be sounding. But by the time, we reached Aihole and Pattadakallu, we weren’t entirely amazed as we had covered all of Hampi’s awesomeness and that had amazed us enough. Now we’d begun to really appreciate the finer details of layout and design.
One incident that happened here really caught my attention. There was this old couple trying to click pictures, rather the old lady was requesting her husband to take her picture from a distance. This whole picture-taking business had somehow got the grandpa-like old man very agitated. He complained in loud tones as to how he was here to see the monuments and not click pictures of his wife who he sees everyday anyway. She shouted back and said that she wanted a memory of her having been here. It was a good-natured typical old couple squabble. The old man handed the camera to the guide, muttered something and went off to explore rest of the temples. He was a typical grandpa, he wanted to understand every detail of the history and architecture of the place he was visiting. She was a typical grandma, she wanted perfect pictures and had now put her little grandson to work, making him click from different angles. The little grandson went clickety-click and she looked at each one of the pictures carefully. I could tell from her face that she wasn’t happy. She finally handed her grandson the camera and impatiently started screening the landscape for something. The ‘something’ that she was looking for came along a while later, animatedly chatting with the guide about a Chalunkyan King. She saw him and announced that they both should take a picture together. The grandpa launched into a lecture about how she hasn’t made even an iota of effort to explore the place, let alone appreciate the architecture and instead has wasted time indulging in useless picture-taking business.
[By the way, I wasn’t eavesdropping or stalking them. I was just too burnt and dehydrated (yes, despite travelling luxuriously in a car) so I had plonked myself down on the steps of a temple around which all of this was happening.]
So anyway, I personally thought this whole squabble was very cute. I mean, all the old lady wanted was a nice picture with her husband. And men, I suppose being as insensitive as ever (clearly aging doesn’t help the sensitivity aspect) don’t get subtle hints at all. So I jumped down (literally!), walked up to them and told them in my broken Marathi that I thought they were super cute and I would love to take a picture of them. Grandma and Grandpa blushed for a while and then posed for a picture. :)
I took their camera and clicked a copy for them too. :) We spoke for a couple of seconds and then parted ways.
I love this picture. Can you even tell that all this squabble took place just minutes before this picture? They complete the frame – absolutely fit together in the picture. The purest kind of affection probably doesn’t depend on words for expression. If the person standing next to you can still make you blush, after 40 odd years of marriage – that’s probably just the most blissful stage of your existence. :)
For me, this remains the fondest memory from Aihole. :)
It’s funny how you go to a place with something in mind and come back with something entirely different as a take-away.