Indians love their idols – not the kind that was recently copied from America, but the kind they had for a long time. And it must have been a really long time since they came up with really bizarre ones — some grotesque, some mutant: one with monkey face, and other with elephant head. Then there is the one with thousand of female reproductive organs — and you wonder why he is the king of gods; even gods cannot resist. But the one that sticks out is the idol for the god Shiva: it is the winner! Literally.
In India you cannot escape it: it pokes out the shrine in every street corner. And at times there is no cover at all: it is all exposed for public view. And if you thought you knew all about it, look again: it is not an appendage, it is a full act. It is explicit in expression and crude in depiction. In a repressive society where kissing is prohibited in movies, married couples are forbidden to hold hands in public, and population is kept ignorant about basic human anatomy, this exposure is not only accepted but encouraged in the name of religion.
The idols come in all shapes, material, and sizes – but black stone is the top pick for its fitting qualities. Indians love to decorate it with flowers, paints, and accessories. Piercing and tattoo are common too: the Indian word Om is popular choice, so is three horizontal lines with an extra eye. Snake is a usual accessory – Freud would be so proud. The idols come in all sizes from being handy to the size of a house. The handy ones Indians keep in places like the dashboard of car or on office desk. The ones that are for public display tend to be larger: more augmented it is, the more auspicious.
The most auspicious one is 13 feet 9 inches tall. That begs the question, what is it that Indian men trying to compensate? Does it have anything to do with fact when it comes to male contraceptive Indians are no match for international standard? I completely understand why Indian woman love to celebrate this idol on Shivaratri. But what is the attraction for the Indian men? And what are the thousands of grown up men in their birthday suite doing there? The large quantity of weed they smoke may explain their action, but still does not explain their motivation.
As if the image was not exciting enough, they added raunchy rituals. It is customary for woman of all ages to pour milk over it, and the milk is thickened with honey, butter, and yogurt. Who said realism is dead in India. Do not worry, no milk is wasted: Indian of all ages would drink it all. That is devotion.
I can go on. But in deference to the ego of half billion Indian men, I shall stop here and keep it short.