The desire to showcase Ayyappa Devasthanam Johor to the world in all its glory and make the temple well known to others, drove its president, V. Suresh Nair, to come up with something different to catch people’s eyes.
In 2012, he convinced himself that one of the best ways to get noticed is to get featured in the Malaysian Book of Records.
His brainchild got amazing response from the temple-goers and together, they rocked a 25 hour non-stop Bhajan
(religious-themed Hindi songs or spiritual ideas) performance in the temple that earned him a name in the book.
For a while, Suresh, who helmed the temple’s management for the past 10 years, was happy with his achievement and the success of his idea.
This year, however, he felt that the temple needs another boost in the fame department.
Again he sat down to think about how he can do it.
“That’s when I recalled about the fact that many temple-goers who frequent this temple are also good cooks. During many of the temple’s functions before this, the temple-goers, mostly housewives, brought over delicious dishes made in their own kitchens.
“I thought, why not put their talents to good use and also create a name for the temple at the same time,” he said.
That was how his latest brainchild was born.
We're all in this together
Suresh decided to ask the help of the temple-goers and the temple’s management staff to cook a large array of vegetarian dishes to serve to people, so that the Malaysian Book of Records would notice them again.
Again, the idea was enthusiastically welcomed by everyone.
So, last Sunday, while most Malaysians were enjoying their long weekend and caught up on lost sleep, the hard-working team that Suresh brought together, consisting of 109 people from all walks of life, forgo their sleep to prepare the vegetarian dishes.
To be exact, the team prepared a total of 322 dishes
to woo around 3,000 devotees of the temple in Taman Desa Tebrau, in conjunction with the Onam festival celebrated by the Malayalees.
The mouth-watering dishes include stir fried cabbage with coconut flakes, mushroom curry, stir fried chickpeas, tomato chutney, lemon pickle, mango pickle, cheese thosai, long beans in kicap
, vege soya meal sambal, chappati and briyani rice just to name a few.
Some of the ingredients used to prepare the dishes were donated by the public and the temple management staff.
It was all worth it in the end
The preparation started at 6pm on 2 Sept. All the ladies gathered to help chop up the onion, garlic, ginger and other vegetables. The chopping finished around midnight after which they went back to their respective homes to start cooking the dishes.
The main dishes were prepared at in the temple, Suresh said.
“None of them got much sleep that day. But everyone was contented and happy that they fed hungry mouths and got featured in the Malaysian Book of Records,” he said, adding that the event was also graced by Tebrau MP Khoo Soo Seang.
The happiness of having the temple’s name carved in the book is evident in Suresh’s face.
“It is really a great honour to make it into the Malaysian Book of Records for the second time. I hope everybody will know this temple’s existence now. All our hard work has paid off,” he said.
Despite looking back at the achievement of the temple, the proud temple president will not stop thinking of more creative ways to bask his beloved temple in the glory of limelight.