It was 1:00 pm and the sun was hitting hard on the dusty town of Shani Shingnapur. As soon as our vehicle stopped, the usual hustle bustle of the shopkeepers selling different items to be offered to the lord Shani started. There were many arguments furnished in favour of doing a pooja like you will get a good job, you will get promotion, you will have a happy married life, all your physical afflictions will vanish, you will win over enemies and so on. But one argument which always did the rounds was that you will be freed from the torment of Lord Shani with a caution that inability to appease him, having come here, will result in dire circumstances.
A shopkeeper approached me and advised me, "Bhau! do the best pooja possible. Having come all the way here don’t miss this opportunity of mitigating the ill effects of sade sati."
One thing which caught my eye in the shop was a small black effigy, a figure with a fearful face, ravenous teeth and eyes gouging out. Being curious, I inquired about it, the shopkeeper replied, "This is an effigy of Shani, one has to take it and hang it upside down at the entrance of one's house to keep him in check and ward off all his evil effects. " These were clear examples of how the shopkeepers were trying to take mileage out of the fear psychosis of the gullible pilgrims.