At the temple, there were mercifully few people today. No handing toffees to strangers and having them pinch your cheeks. All you had to do was stand dutifully until they opened the doors, put your hands together, bend your head when mummy and daddy did, and it would be over soon. Easier said than done, Vik thought. He gazed at interest with a line of big black ants making their way to some dropped sugar.
Soon, he tired of watching the ants trying to maneuver a particularly big chunk of sugar, and started fidgeting and looking around. It was dawning outside, and cool. All kinds of chirpy, complaining birds were probably being woken up by their own mothers, and the low, undecipherable chants of the priests from other parts of the temple reached him.
In the distance, he saw a snaking line of children making their way towards the temple. Each kid held the shoulders of the one in front of him, as the little stumbling brats of second and third grades did at school. The first graders were too dumb to even know they had to walk in a line, Vik thought. But these ones seemed to be much taller, some even as tall as him.
As the line grew closer, he noticed that their gait seemed strange too. Some were waddling, and others were making laughy, braying noises that Seenu sometimes made. Why were the two misses that walked with them not trying to silence them? They climbed up the steps to the temple, and instinctively seemed to quieten. They broke off into groups of two or three, and started wandering to various corners of the temple and staring at the small statues of the demigods at their respective corners.
Read Part III