It was close to 9.00 p.m. and with hunger cramps, I told Rajah to stop at a good eating place in the next town en-route. We landed at a small time restaurant – Shanti Bhawan (?) at Sayalgudi, a very small Panchayat town. The place looked clean, but the restaurant owner told us that the place was “full”. There were around 40 Ayappa Swami Devotees already seated and they were to be served first and our waiting time could be more than half an hour. While talking to the owner I was surprised to see the pictures of Kabaa, the holiest place for the Muslims along with some of the Hindu Gods. I asked him if it was a Hindu hotel. He said it was a Muslim Hotel. When I pointed to the wall hangings, he said “Sir, we worship all the Gods”. I was touched by his reply to the hilt and almost embraced him. I wish people all over the country had the similar feelings and then this divide between the religions would probably be non-existent. Thankfully the things appeared to be much better in Tamil Nadu as people of all the religions eat the same food, drink same toddy, speak Tamil and wear the same dress – lungi / dhoti and shirt.
Outside the restaurant, a group of Swamis (devotees of Lord Ayappa) were standing. I was told that they were coming from somewhere in North Tamil Nadu (after a couple of drinks, one tends to forget the names sometimes) and were heading for Kanyakumari,