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My most revered Bramashrees, who often feed us with palpayasam, paladaipradaman and other delicious dishes including NS anna’s inchipulli and uppilittathu, in the form of enlightening posts are advocating discontinuance of delicious meals for Sasthapreeties , for my misfortune.
I have gone all the way up to Noorani village in Palakkad just to enjoy the delicious food next in importance only to the soul-stirring Sastha pattu, sung so sincerely, mind and throat soaked in pristine bakthi. I never miss attending sastapreethi of our Subramania samajam in Hyderabad and enjoy the varieties of food . There is a joy in waiting for the  food and push the tummies of others with my elbows and also get the same treatment from others!  If I can wait at the frontage of an American eating house despite advance booking why not here along with our asmadies whom we meet only on such occasions.
Fun apart , wastage has to be avoided, Que has to be maintained and discipline has to be strictly followed but your suggestion to replace the conventional vazai elai with plastic plates- no, sirs; not for sasthapreethies. There is a joy in eating on the plantain leaves. And  why remove the tables, Unless you want to trouble arthritics like me ?
You don’t allow me to wander or spill food and water or spoil the floor and don’t give me a chance to misbehave with the women by providing me a seat near them. But my respected Annayyas, don’t deprive me the varieties of food to enjoy which primarily I attend a sasthapreeti. I am fed up eating Ammalu’s molakoottal and paruppu thokayal and when I get a rare opportunity for a welcome change what pleasure do you get by depriving it ?
You know how I controlled the crowd rushing for food while I was in charge on a few occasions ? The ayyappa on whom the God manifested , shaking his body as if he had a mild electric shock, and gulping tender coconut water in gallons, called me near him and throwing a hand-full of viboothy, holy ash  on my face,  screamed,  “Sivasamy, varisaya nikkatha valukku verum chukkolam kodu, prasadam ventam” – Provide only hot water and not food for those who do not stand in the Que ”  I thanked him for his command as I had prompted .
That worked!
Let us refine and reform such rare occasions of our group assembly in whatever way we can but not discard the main essence of those which will render them life-less. Yes, you may ridicule me but I am not ashamed to reiterate that serving variates of food is an essential segment of sasthapreethy celebration.
Love and regards,
” For a full-belly feast of festive food, why not consent to be one of the Veda-Brahmanas at a shraddham piously performed for a guhasthaa’s pithrus in the orthodox manner?”
” This is my revered elder brother’s  flowery way of saying ”Ippadi enkal kazuthai arukkarathukku badhil , sradham chappida pom.”
I will do so happily but which grihastha will provide me the sastapreethi type of  delicious food ? Inchi thokayalum, paavakkai pitalavum, vazhaithandu thoranum, for me, are not ‘festive food’ .
There is another problem.
” The painful part might be that, prior to that, you need to spend some twelve entirely enjoyable and satisfying years slowly and surely imbibing the appropriate Samskurtham texts, practising proper uccharippu, correct prayogam, achieving detachment of mind and elevation of spirit “
Now, back again with my kazhutharukkal:
I have a few regrets in life and one of them is that I did not study vedam.
” On pattan ethra periya vedabrahmanan; Mataya, nee ippidiyanaeyda ” My father used to lament almost every day at the end of his class, but not before twisting my ear for my ‘ucharana asudhi ‘ pronunciation flaw.  He lost hope on me and though he wanted me to join in the Kalpathy veda patasala , reluctantly put me in the Olavakkode padathu school.
Later, while returning from the Govt. Victoria College, many evenings, I had spent waiting before the Chathappuram patasala enjoying the veda recitations by kids, regretting my lost chance to learn vedam.  Much later, seeing my vaadyar alighting from his  car, a thick golden chain inquiring ‘ kusalaprasnam’ with his rich abdomen and his ‘kadukkans’ glistening from his prominent earlobes ,  I started studying vedam from him and after a couple of classes , my Guru wanted to repeat the remarks of my father  but respecting my age, politely suggestd, ”Anna, eanthirum. ithu omakku othukkolathu “‘ Please get up; this doesn’t suit you.
Thus I lost a golden opportunity for the ‘entirely enjoyable and satisfying years’ and the following fruits thereof.
I wanted to make an attempt again but Anna  stipulates that I should ” achieve detachment of mind and elevation of spirit “
No sir, detachment of mind is NOT possible in this life as my mind is inseparably attached with all good things in life including the GOD.
My salutation to Anna, for several things but not the least for his ability to sit on the floor and enjoy his food on a vazhai elai at his advanced and admirable age . But, why he alone should have the benefit of vazai elai luxury is my innocent and certainly not a tongue -in cheek question.
Fascinated by the attractions in the swimming pools of West,  I took a vow to learn swimming at 60 plus and succeeded to some extent . Attempting to fulfill one of the many wishes of my wife, who was a gold medalist in music , I am now leaning music at 70 +
Who knows that at 80+ I might again make a last attempt to study vedam .
‘ Will you live that long ?’, I see the smile on your face. I am sure I will, as long as  Guruvayurappan continues to allow me to carry on with my kazhutharukkal and you all tolerate my mischief.
‘ How do you know that we are tolerating ?’ Your next valid query.
You are- otherwise my Anna would have clicked the ‘delete’ button , the moment he see my name on the screen!.
Love and regards,

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