Priest in the local temple (to me): Where is the kid?
Me: Oh, he has gone for his summer vacation. Wife’s parents place – Kumbakonam.
Priest: Ohh, Kumbakonam. Where is this?
Me: Down south. Near Tanjore/Trichy.
Priest (with a hint of recognition of the nearby landmark towns): Ok. Ok. Famous for which temple?
Me: (Flummoxed). Lots of temples. Temple town. But a couple of very big Shiva temples.
I came back home and thought about this. Wow. Temples play a huge role in the culture of India. Sure, he was a priest, and he attaches a religious significance to everything. But on hindsight, I have seen a lot of people ask me this question. Or sometimes, offer it as part of the answer. “I am from Sirkazhi. Famous for its Shiva temple. Also where Gnanasambandhar was born.” “I am from Chidambaram. Where Lord Nataraja dances his cosmic dance. “