Global ‘telephone’

The HinduMy aunt, an unreconstructed hippie (I am not insulting her; she would say so herself), wanted to do something nice for my wife and I when our daughter was born. Since she had just been in India visiting a friend there, she asked if her friend would arrange one of the thanksgiving-ritual-plays that they do. Her friend agreed and Amy passed her a picture of me, my wife, and two-month old daughter.
Apparently, they performed the play and The Hindu, a religious national Indian paper, published a story about it:

THANKS TO GURUVAYOORAPPAN — By K. Santhosh, THRISSUR, FEB 7
Jill Detweiler and her husband Ben Clemens believe that their daughter, Sarah, was born safely because of the blessings of Lord Guruvayoorappan. Expressing their gratitude, the couple from New York got Krishnanattom staged at the Sreekrishna temple in Guruvayur, near here, on January 29. Such thanksgiving shows are not infrequent at the temple.
The story began when the British-born writer-photographer Pepita Seth went to New York to deliver a lecture on Theyyam and Krishnanattom, having been invited by Amy Trompetter, renowned puppeteer and professor at Barnard College. “Ms. Trompetter looked worried one day. She told me her nephew’s wife, Ms. Detweiler, was in labour. There were serious complications and the doctors were worried. Ms. Trompetter’s family did not know what to do. I suggested that they pray to Lord Guruvayoorappan. They did,” says Ms. Seth.
The next day, Ms. Trompetter was all smiles. “Ms. Detweiler had given birth to a healthy child. The family attributed it to the blessings of Lord Guruvayoorappan. Till then, they had not even heard of the Guruvayur temple. They were eager to know about the shrine and made an offering to the temple,” Ms. Seth says.

Of course, this story doesn’t have a lot to do with reality (my aunt knew nothing of Sarah’s birth until after she was safely born, we did not pray to Lord Guruvayoorappan, and still know little about the temple at Guruvayur, and we are not from New York). We do not have anything against Lord Guruvayoorappan (who is, as far as I can tell from reading information on Web sites, a compassionate and holy Lord) and I would never tempt fate by disparaging anything that encouraged a good outcome from the harrowing birth (in fact, I wish had the religious sophistication to know anything at all about Lord Guruvayoorappan, or even much about Hinduism in general, before this) but this is really more of a game of global “Telephone” than anything else.
Also inevitably, this story is now the top result for a search on my name and my wife’s name (for SEO purposes, again it’s Ben Clemens and Jill Detweiler) in any one of a number of ultramodern search engines, great evidence that as much as there are brilliant and spiritual meanings to be found in the connections that are now possible between old and new, technology and human, there is also just a lot of random crap out there.

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