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Chapter 15
His house is a temple. In the entrance hall hangs aframed picture of Ganesha, he of the elephant head. He sitsfacing out – rosy-coloured, pot-bellied, crowned and smiling– three hands holding various objects, the fourth held palmout in blessing and in greeting. He is the lord overcomer ofobstacles, the god of good luck, the god of wisdom, thepatron of learning. Simpatico in the highest. He brings asmile to my lips. At his feet is an attentive rat. His vehicle.
Because when Lord Ganesha travels, he travels atop a rat.
On the wall opposite the picture is a plain wooden Cross.
In the living room, on a table next to the sofa, there isa small framed picture of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe,flowers tumbling from her open mantle. Next to it is aframed photo of the black-robed Kaaba, holiest sanctum ofIslam, surrounded by a ten-thousandfold swirl of thefaithful. On the television set is a brass statue of Shiva asNataraja, the cosmic lord of the dance, who controls themotions of the universe and the flow of time. He dances onthe demon of ignorance, his four arms held out inchoreographic gesture, one foot on the demon's back, theother lifted in the air. When Nataraja brings this footdown, they say time will stop.
There is a shrine in the kitchen. It is set in a cupboardwhose door he has replaced with a fretwork arch. The archpartly hides the yellow light bulb that in the evenings lightsup the shrine. Two pictures rest behind a small altar: tothe side, Ganesha again, and in the centre, in a largerframe, smiling and blue-skinned, Krishna playing the............
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