|”Nothing goes wrong, as long as we don’t go wrong ”
Appearance may be deceptive sometimes. In Seshu couples’ case it was certainly so. Though they appeared to be as cool as cucumber on hearing from me about their son’s wedding with a foreign girl, it was obvious that they had not slept that night. Otherwise mama would not have come early next morning, to my house ‘Anantha Jyothi ‘”Perias, send a mail to Pitchumani immediately”, he screamed, “I don’t want him to touch my body, when I am gone.”
“First be seated, mama” I requested, went to the kitchen and gave him a cup of hot coffee. When it cooled his temper a bit, I continued, “You are elder to me and our convention is that I am not supposed to give any advice to you. But I can’t change my nature to suit the tradition. Mama! look, I have no control over my body, once I quit. In your case , if you have claim over it, the best thing is to take it with you while going. who prevents ? Otherwise, let anyone who is there in the scene do as he likes; either burn or bury or throw it into sea or if that person is so much attached to you, he may even embalm and preserve it in his library. Sorry, I can’t send the mail to your son, as you wanted”
“ Adighaprasangam paserai”(you are talking nonsense), mama cursed me “You might be a world trotter , but your Vakrabudhi, perverted mind will never leave you. How arrogant you are to talk me the way you did, that too early morning ?”
”You started that” I was equally adamant, “If not your son, who else has the right to touch your body ? How do you expect me to send such a senseless message to him?”
He stared at me and was about to exit when an auto riksha stopped in front of my house and his wife got down and came in, shouting at mama,” Ongalukku ellathukkum avasarmthan(you are in a hurry always). You came early morning here to complain about my parents to Perias, right ? You could have waited for a day or two, till he comes home”
” You think I have no other matter to discuss with him other than your pet parents? ” Mama yelled at her, ” it is a sin to remember them early morning. They are yet to give me that five hundred rupees which they promised for my dress for the thalai deepavali ”
“What is five hundred rupees before the dollars my son sends you” Mami didn’t spare him,” I carried him in my bosom for ten months and delivered him in your hands. You thought that you plucked him from the tree in the court yard, Ya `
They were about to return home, when my telephone bell rang.
That call was from Virginia, yes, from Pitchumani.
He also was, probably, spending sleepless nights over his misguiding his parents. He tried to contact his parents this morning and as there was no response, called me to inform that Elizabeth wanted to visit his parents and they were therefore planning a trip to India shortly.
” I don’t want to talk to him”: Seshumama said when I conveyed the message. “Give the phone to her,” he said pointing to his wife.
Mami, as usual was thrilled to receive her son’s call.”Pitchuu!, Nannarikkeloda”(hope you are fine. She asked him 100 questions about what he eats in the morning, after noon, evening; does he take oil bath once a week at least etc. and when she was about to close, mama grabbed the receiver and repeated almost what mami had said and closed the dialog with,“take care, while traveling;remember, you are coming with your wife and two small children. Onkku vivaram poradhu –you are not smart enough to handle things properly”
“Mama, you refused to talk to him to start with, but kept the receiver only after talking for half an hour” I joked. He did not take my teasing seriously but said hesitatingly while leaving, “Perias ! can I borrow a few items from you , such as your carpet, microwave etc, for a few days? I would like to make Pitchu and his family, as comfortable as I can, during their short stay here”
“With pleasure; take away whatever you want and keep them with you as long as required”, I reminded, “don’t forget to collect some forks, knives, porcelain dishes and plates also”
The mention of knives and forks, did not please the old couple and they exchanged glances which brought out the fear within.
Mama called that evening,’Perias,Join us for dinner,if you have no other engagements”. It was obvious that he wanted to discuss with me about his son’s visit. I was fed up with self cooking and eating though I am hear just for a couple of days, and mami’s food was always an attraction for me. I readily agreed.
When I visited ‘Seshadri Nilayam’ that evening, children were reciting Lalitha sahasranamam. My memory went back to my childhood days when my father used to teach us those slokas in a melodious tone, sitting in front of the big ‘nilavilakku'( an ornamental brass lamp used for poojas). While reciting, Sahasradala padmastha sarvavarno-pasobhitha”, he used to pause for a few minutes, stand still, enjoying the beauty of the Divine mother, sitting on a multipetal lotus flower, in full glory, glittering with multicolour clothes and jewels. Now,when I approach mama’s pooja room, the children were reciting that stanza,an,’ukkekha kallolini’ waves of ullekha alankaram, starting with,’Bhavadavasudha vrishti, paparanya davanala—- and hearing that, my heart opened up, voice became rhythmic and sweeter and legs failed to move further. Standing still, on the hall itself, I joined the chorus with the children. Mama from the bedroom, mami from the kitchen, ‘athai’ from the backyard and everyone in the house from wherever they were,also joined the chorus, as if we had come from different places to sing the glory of the Divine Mother. It was a unique experience. The ‘Seshadri Nilayam’ changed to Dakshineswar where the great Parmahamsa was dancing , to the melodious sound of the temple drums and bells, unaware of the surroundings and followed by the Divine Mother, holding his Uttareeyam, the cloth falling from his shoulder, like a small kid.
The Ganges were flowing slowly below the steps, the devotees were pouring the holy water on the twelve lingams on either side, the cool breeze mixed with the flavour of marigold, tulasi and Bilwa leaves was embracing the trees and plants around, the idol of Kalima, with all her glory was standing before me and the charismatic Supreme Sovereignty of the universe was following a skinny Brahmin, holding his cloth hanging from his shoulder !
Filled with that divine experience, none of us were in a position to talk, when we sat for food, leave away the question of any discussion.
Even after returning home, my mind was still in that elevated state and I therefore went to bed, closed my eyes when I could hear distinctly,’ Om Guru, Sri Guru,Satchidanantha Guru, Satchidanandha Guru Satchidanandha–” I am sitting in front of the Pathinettampadi, the eighteen holy steps of the Shabari temple, which are tastefully decorated with multi colour flowers, Padipuja was going on, the whole forest wass echoing with the bhajans of the thanthries, the temple priests..
I was slowly loosing my awareness and sleep, like an affectionate mother embracing her baby, was covering my whole body and soul and I was slipping down and down into a blissful state. I am neither This nor That, ‘Chithanantharoopa Sivoham, Sivoham”:
“Lift me UP, Baghavan, to your lotus feet,the time has come, don’t delay ” I prayed silently, “Please do this favour before my mind reverts to its routine mischievous state.”
I pleaded sincerely to Guruvayoorappan to just pluck this flower and put it at his ‘Brahamma kadukina padam’,the lotus feet, washed reverently, by the creator of universe
Suddenly, I could hear the barking of my dog’ naughty’, followed by a three Wheeler’s sound .
Oh, He has arrived, the Dharmaraja, the god of death to ‘pick me up’ I realized and it is no more a dream. But why did he choose a three wheeler ? Didn’t he get a better vehicle, at least a decorated cart pulled by a buffalo if not a horse?
Anyway, I woke up from the bed. I had none to take leave off before leaving the house nor anything to carry with me to the other world and therefore opened the door and found Athai getting out of the vehicle.
“Athai ! You, at this hour ? Anything wrong at S.N ?” I asked her anxiously.
”Nothing goes wrong, as long as we don’t go wrong ” was her cool answer.