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Oh! paramasukham -Chapter 22

The tsunami wiped  off not only happiness but all the accumulated values of the Krisnaiyuer family. Abandoning  all his deep rooted trusts in traditional values, the senior, hugged and hugged, kissed and kissed on the forehead, cheeks,hands, legs, every inch of  Unni’s body as if he was atoning for what he didn’t do all those years. 

Sharada took a vow on the spot, ” my suspicion has been confirmed. I want to save my remaining child atleast, from the fury of a brahamanan.  Swamy, you take care of Ammu; I am going to Kashi along with Baghyam” 

” No, Chetchi,  my cursed steps have brought this calamity,” wept Baghyam, ” I killed my Appa there, came here and killed my son not born to me”

” What a mahapapi, sinner am I ?” cried Swamy beating his chest, ” I could not even fulfill the last wish of my kid, leave away the fact that I could not be present here when my wife and children wanted me most”

‘Nan aakumda mahapai ( I am the sinner) mami sobbed  ” I should not  have stayed for a minute more in his house, when your Appa refused to accept my advice to allow Sharada in our house”

Mami’s two daughters refused to part  with the body of the child.  “Without Unni, we will not live in this world,’ they lamented.

After a few weeks, when things somewhat settled, Sharada left her daughter with Muthi. “Baghyam, let us go to Kashi; mami is better now. Her daughters can look after her” .Then she turned towards Swamy and said, “you too come with us “

Despite the repeated requests from Krisnaiyer family, the three went to Kashi and stayed for a month in Baghyam’s house . The daily dip in the coll waters of the Ganges and worship in temples removed to some extend,the smoke from their minds and were able to discus about their future.

” You may not be convinced, swamy, but I am, that we are carrying over our head, the curse of your father and there is no question of my continuing as your wife, though I will be with you whenever you need any support from me. you will marry Baghyam and Ammu will be with you. I will stop working and continue to concentrate on Chinmaya Mission.”

“It is not necessary for us to get married, Chetchi ” Baghyam suggested, ” I will take care of Ammu in mami’s house.”

” I leave it to you,though that is not what I want”

That is the story of Sharada teacher ” . Appa got up and asked me to get ready, “we have to go for Nirmalya darisanam (pre-dawn worship )in the Padmanabhaswamy temple”.

“Did they marry ?” I asked my last question. “No idea.none bothered to worry”

We had bath in the pond and went to the temple along with other family members.That was my first visit to the Padmanabha temple. The impressive recling posture of the Lord on the serpent bed, with a lotus evolved from his naval, in a thoughtfully and moderately illumined background left an indelible impression in my mind. I spent several minutes, intensely looking at that Divine magnanimity wondering at the depth and intensity of His meditation, in a most hostile surrounding; ever moving, uneven serpent in a noisy wavy ocean for bed; the divine consorts  close by; the Rishies and other divine devotees around. Only from the naval of such a great ‘thapaswi’ can evolve and blossom a lotus flower projecting the four headed, all pervading source of creation.There is no better, meaning full, poetic symbolic representation than the ‘Anantha Padhmanabhan’ which brings out the charm, magnanimity, greatness and importance of creation and its support for sustaining and developing.

“What did you ask from Him?” Ratnam wanted to know.
“Nothing; absolutely nothing,” I replied still my eyes partially closed. “I had a craving for one billionth of that cosmic energy, to face life; but I simply got absorbed in His majestic beauty. What a cosmic charm!” I lost words. How powerless words are in such situations!
While coming out of the temple, my father took P.M.S. aside and said,” It is a matter of shame for all of us that we played a cruel joke on our children. It may not be intentional, but it was easily preventable with a little more care and attention. I am not particularly blaming anyone. But we spoiled the lifetime memory of the children for which all of us are responsible” He continued: I want you to do one thing, P.M.S! Pack them off to Kanyakumari this after noon, in your car. None should know about this. See that they are accommodated in a good hotel preferably for more than one night and none accompanies”
I don’t know how this message leaked; by the time we got ready for the trip, there were nearly twenty families, who wanted to accompany us. We had to arrange a big bus. The whole crowd was with us everywhere, in the temple, in the boat, in the lovely sands from where we watched the sunset and sunrise and in the hotel. The seasonal rush at the tourist spot was so heavy that after accommodating the guests in the available hotel rooms, I slept inside the bus and I don’t know where my wife slept. The first night, in the blessed bed room with creaking doors, was merrier.
We returned the next day and got ready for our return trip to Palakkad
It was time to say ‘good bye’. Amman was sitting in a corner and it was obvious that he was trying hard to control his emotion. “Life without Ratnam is going to be tuff-‘korae vishamama,”. He put it very mildly; he was not used to strong words.
“Life with your daughter is going to be ‘vishamam’   (difficult ) for me!” I quipped, ” life with her is going to be ‘valarae vishamam’ (very difficult for me ) .

I went near him and hugged him in Hyderabad style. ”you have the simplicity of a crystal and sincerity of a mother. Though you speak less, we have understood each other so well and I hold you in esteem. Do come to your daughter’s house as soon as possible but a small request: leave your umbrella in a bank vault; no one uses them in Hyderabad in sun or rain.On my part, I assure you sufficient stock of Guntur tobacco and VIijayawada betel leaves.
“Rudram and Chamakam flow  through your blood; place your hand over my head and let that celestial flow enter my veins.”

“Bless us, Periappa!” I touched the feet of P.M.S. “Every thing is large with you: your frame, your mind, your family, your status, your name and fame. Let a fraction of that greatness pass on to my body”
‘‘I noticed the glow in your face, when you mentioned about my family size.”  It was his face which glowed, when he said those words.”I never worried that I had nine daughters as many others would have. In fact I was happy and proud”
“That was the first thing I noticed when I landed here. Periappa! Remember. There is always room for one more”
‘That is exactly my worry!” His wife replied. We all had a hearty laugh.
“Don’t forget me, konthai” said P.M.S. hugging me close to his chest.
“Can I? “ I asked him,” One person I will remember ever, when I go to bed is my P.M.S Periappa.”
“I erred and apologise to you for my carelessness” He pleaded for my forgiveness.
” Absolutely no need” I held his hands and laughed. “You have done it purposely to institute in our mind the importance of being together. A stage might come in the life for every couple, when one may long for the dissociation from the other, though temporarily. I know it is absurd to say so, especially on this occasion but as you know facts are facts. If it happens to us, you want us to remember the first night. Isn’t it so?  But tell me Periappa! Why a jack fruit in the bed room and not banana or apple?”
“You are intelligent; otherwise you wouldn’t have said, what you said now. So, ponder a bit ; you will get the answer”
“Ha, ha, ha I know the answer now. Hard and thorny exterior; cut it open and go deep .Plenty of hard seeds, encased in sweet, juicy, colourful fruits. Oh I go it, I got it. I laud your imagination. Shall I go further?”
‘’Enough! Reserve your poetic imagination for solitary moments” We laughed together. Those standing close by, with a sense of humour also laughed. Others do not matter; ignore those who do not follow jokes and those who cannot tolerate jokes.
He patted me affectionately. “Just realize that banana with no seeds and apple with a few, are no comparison with the kingly Jack fruit, with plenty of seeds.”
“And  the sweet, juicy and colourful fruits encasing the hard seeds” I reinforced his statement.

I had no words when I went to Athai for her blessings. She was a synonym for sacrifice .We just hugged each other, till her tears wet my hairs and face. 

“I am greatly indebted to you, Parasu, for binding me with this big family of loving people” I expressed my sincere gratitude to my cousin.” And also for giving me a wonderful life-partner, from the sacred soil of Anantha Padmanabhan and Sreekanteswaran. When I hear the call, ‘Ente sreekanteswara’ from the cavern  of the heart of devotees passing through the temple, my soul vibrates and reaches the Himalyan heights of elated bliss. My ‘Rudram’ and ‘chamakam”  rarely took me to such heights Yes, earlier, I did have  such experience while  the tram in which I was commuting, passed through the street close to the Kalighat temple. People irrespective of caste or ideology they follow, touch their hand on their chest and cry” Ma’.   That ‘Ma’ call, Parasu, shakes and kindles your soul.
The path of my married life is laid by you I will never forget this help”:
Parsu, I noticed for the first time, was moved. He blessed me placing his hands over my head.
The Trivandram railway station was full of our relatives and friends, who had come in colourful dress  and shining ornaments, to see us off. Amman, holding his umbrella, was wiping his moist eyes; my mother-in-law was consoling him. P.M.S , his wife and daughters behind him, was pacing up and down the platform. Athai, silently but with a heavy heart, was holding her niece close to her chest. Parasu was supervising the loading of luggage, vessels and eatables on to the compartment. sharada teacher Baghyam and Ammu were holding my hands and standing on my sides.Chami anna was standing aloof, making hand movements as if to say, “these are all part of life; anyway all the best”. 

“Lalitha rushed in, when our luggage was loaded; she was helping Parasu in that work.
“I love you so much athimbar” she was sobbing when she held my hands
“Then rush into the compartment” I said, “Oh, you don’t have your suitcase; that doesn’t matter. You can use your sister’s wardrobe. And there is no time to buy the ticket. Hide below the seat like a mouse but don’t pop up your head, to watch the movement of the ticket collector”
She didn’t laugh; she wept.

When the green signal flag fluttered, Venku ayyan rushed in to announce that Ratnam’s six aunts with their husbands would join us at Kollam and  would stay with us at our Palakkad house, for a week, till we return to Hyderabad. Magnificent  gesture!

Before I recovered from the shock inflicted by that news, P.M.S ,walking along with the just-moving  train, asked. “Hope you enjoyed everything here. Sukham aayille, makkalea?”

“Oh! Parama sukham, Parama sukham” I replied waving my hands.

“What is that second Parmasukham for?” My father enquired with a mischievous smile.
“For the gesture of the six aunts and uncles” I replied, with an equally mischievous smile.

Ratnam  too smiled. I knew the meaning of that.
That revealed her happiness on my appreciating the gesture of her six aunts and uncles!
She would have also realised that Paramasukham has only one meaning on all occasions. That is PARAMA SUKHAM!

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