“Searching for soma juice, again,” asked BB, while I bent my head down and searched my handbag.
“No BB, looking for a companion for the Pushpa product”
“Chutta pappadam- baked Pappad ?” Enquired Ammalu.
“Cheedai, Ammalu. I removed a few balls from the packet you had stocked deep below your clothes in your suitcase and kept in a small zip log”
“So, you came well prepared for your Pushpa treat?”
“Got it!” I picked up the plastic bag and shared the contents with all, including Pushpa.
“Wah, my Amma used to make this for Janmashtami. It is ages since I had this. Thank you Ammalu manni”
” I gave you the stuff and she gets the thanks!” I protested.
“Perias, you collect water from the river or pond and while doing Deva tarpanam, start with Adithyam tharpayAmi, not Varunam tharpayAmi. Why?”
“As it is Adithya, the main source for water. But, the water which I collect from Varuna goes to Varuna only”
“Likewise, I thanked the original source of cheedai but my ‘thanks’ will automatically go to you”
“The moment I leave, Ammalu manni is going to pass it on to you, may be through words, not very sweet, may be through a pinch, really sweet, for stealing the little balls of big love which she made and packed for her children but you stole and distributed”
“Wah, BB,” Ammalu enjoyed.”what a talk, what a joke!”
I bent my head again and searched my bag.
“Some more stolen stuff?” Ammalu enquired.
No, I wanted to show BB some notes on soma juice. I collect information and preserve in notes and not in my undependable memory. Got it”
Then turning to BB, I read the translation of a hymn from the Rgvedam.
1 ‘O, Vayu, come to us with all the thousand chariots that are thine
Team borne, to drink the soma juice.
2. Drawn by the team, O Vayu, come. To thee is offered this, the pure’
In this Rgveda sooktham, first Vayu, then Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Aswins, Viswadevas,
Saraswathy, Heaven and Earth are invoked and invited to accept the soma juice, ‘the pure, blent with milk’.
‘Drink you of this delightful juice’, says the Rishi”
“What a fantastic imagination!,” exclaimed BB,” Vayu, coming down to earth with thousand chariots! And the chariots are not borrowed. ‘That are thine!’
Thousand chariots dropping from the air! What a scene it would be ! Are they yoked to horses and if so, what about the sound of their hoof! Won’t there be a big hurricane ? ”
“Our forebears always thought high, spoke high,” I told ,”do you know that the pressing of Soma was associated with the fertilizing rain, the life- giver and life- nourished? And in the post Vedic classical period, Soma was identified with the Moon, which wanes when soma is drunk by the gods but which is periodically reborn?”
“Yes, I know soma was associated with the Moon, whose name is also Soma,” replied BB, ” I read somewhere that ‘Soma is part of the ancient, yogic and shamanic usage of sacred plants, including tonics, nervines and mind-altering plants of various types as well special preparations of them. Each group, community or geographical region probably had its own Somas or sacred plants. Soma is a transformative substance that can be found in many plants and has corresponding mind-altering substances that can be produced by the brain itself”
“I’m anxious to hear BB’s life story,” Ammalu intervened,”will you please close your note book, Perias?”
Big Ben continued her story:
“One night, Muthmma was signing a tribal folk song to put us to sleep.
“Onga nattilae penja mazhai,
Enga naatuukku varadho, Kuppeekala?!
ஓங்க நாட்டிலே பேஞ்ச மழே
எங்க நாட்டுக்கு வாராதோ , குப்பீகளா !”
Appa, from his study, joined,
“Enka veettu elikal ellam
Onka veettukku pokatho ? Kuppeekala !”
எங்க வீட்டு எலிகள் எல்லாம்
ஒன்கவீட்டுக்கு போகாதோ , குப்பீகளா ”
Ammalu enjoyed the song and thanks to the activation of my poetic nerves by alcohol , I sang an instant composition :
Renkasaami enkae, pullae?’
Rentu nala aalae illae.
Pakkathu paayi kaliyachu,
Rakkamma nencham pattasu, Kuppeekala
ரங்கசாமி எங்கேபுள்ளே ?.
ரெண்டுநாளா ஆளே இல்லே
பக்கத்து பாயி காலியாச்சு
ராக்கம்மா நெஞ்சம் பட்டாசு , குப்பீகளா—
Pakkathu veetilae pattasu,
santai than po kuppayi, Kuppeekala
பக்கத்து வீட்டுலே பட்டாசு
சண்டை தான் போ குப்பாயி, குப்பீகளா”