I was pretty cheesed off for being harassed at Tirupati Balaji as they had refused to give me the Prasad laddo all because I had no money in my pocket at that time. Just near me in the next counter, there were people who were carrying thousands of pure ghee and dry fruit laced laddos in sacks. On a closer enquiry, I found out that these laddos would be sold outside at a premium. Yes, Tirupati Balaji is a nest for black marketing of laddos. Yes, the laddos of Tirupati, or should I say, the Balls of Tirupati are black marketed like crazy here. Not only that, the proverb that ‘money can buy anything’ holds true in this temple. From VIP dharshans to special passes and entries, the rich can get to see, feel and reach God here in their own express ways while all of us mortals have to wait in a 5-hour queue fighting, jostling and even hitting each other with bare fists as our line moved at a snail’s pace. All these for what? To see the idol for only 5 seconds. Yes, that is the duration one gets to do dharshan here. However, for the rich, there is a separate route and if you have the money, it will take you minutes to see the Lord.
No doubt, it is the richest temple in the world as the rich donate all their gold to this temple. Sometimes, the lines of dharshan bifurcate into four or five different lines like tributaries. I met a gentleman standing outside the temple and he tried to explain to me his plight. “You see, I have been in line for 6 hours, but I still did not get the dharshan as my line got split into two and I landed outside the temple from some other doorway without reaching the idol area. Now they say I have to come back tomorrow.” he looked dejected as he had to return home the very next day. The common man and his suffering. It seems even the Lord smiles on the rich here and the poor have to go empty-handed, which is strange because it is the poor and the common folk who need the blessing of the Lord the most and they are kind of deprived of it here at times. It saddened me that this ancient temple was so driven by its desire to earn money from its pilgrims that it could even deny me my sacred laddo. What balls, man, what balls!