One of the blunders committed by me in recent years was that I showed Ammalu a recent post where it was stated that if a crow strikes or defecates on your head or shoulder, it is an indication of your pitrus’ anger. I do not know why the very next day, a crow found my head, of all the places, an ideal spot to empty its bowl. It was not, after all, a big issue to be revealed to my wife, but I told Ammalu about it, as all good husbands do. ”Come on, let us go to Palakkad and consult an astrologer” she ordered. She knows my view on such beliefs but still insisted that I should obtain the expert opinion as the issue relates to pitrus, the departed souls of our ancestors.
” I will accompany you,” she said. Meaning- ” I don’t trust you; you may come back without meeting him and bluff”
“Was it a black crow?” asked Sri. Ramanunni jyolsiar, the astrologer, spreading a hand-full of the kavudi , dice on a mat. “Hyderabadil ella kakkakalum karuppa, jyolsyare- all crows are black in Hyderabad,” I replied.
He was not pleased with my reply.”You have not watched them carefully” The astrologer admonished me in a mild tone and looked outside and for his fortune, found a bird perched on a tree.
“Did you see that crow? It has a white patch around its neck. It is a brahmana pitru” I too projected my neck wondering what a ‘brahmana pitru’ was doing there.
‘’ The white patch is the viboothi mark of the previous janma “The learned man clarified. ‘Pathela, do you at least now realize why I want you to apply viboodhi on your forehead?” Ammalu asked me with a winner’s smile.” I do, I do,” I confessed, ” so that I can carry the white mark when I become a crow”
“Hmm, did the crow simply strike on your head or did it do malavisarjanam?” The astrologer.
” I am sure that it was not a strike, as there was a dirty paste on my finger when I touched my hair”
“Did the excreta fall on your shoulder or on any other part of the body?”
”It did fall on my shoulder ,” I confessed.
‘It is bad” His face became pale now.
”Right or left”
‘It is very, very bad” He nodded his head to reveal that things were going wrong.
“The last question. Are you absolutely certain that no other part of your body touched the ‘malam, the bowl-waste?”
Now Ammalu’s face became pale. She looked at me sympathetically and perhaps wanted me to tell a lie as I am good in that. She knew that all our future and happiness depend on my reply to that one query.
But you know that I speak only truth. “My finger came into contact with the ‘malam”
“Which finger, right or left? The astrologer looked deep into my eyes and it was certain that was the last chance for our survival.
‘Paavi brahmana, oru poyyai chollappadatha-can’t you utter one lie and save the situation” Ammalu’s eyes pleaded.
That was the end of it. The astrologer got up.
He did not, however, pack off his dice. ‘Pitrukkal bayankaramai kopichiriikkunnu- the pitrus are extremely angry with you”
”Entha santhi jyolsyare ” It was a plead not a request from Ammalu.”Is there any solution?”
The astrologer took his seat again, re-spread the dice, and closed his eyes, in deep meditation. I knew that he was seeking the blessings of his gurus and the planets in the sky so that the correct solution evolves in his mind.
” Oru Ganapathi Homam in the morning, thilahomam at noon and Bagavathy seva in the evening” The learned man has at last found a solution, thanks to the blessings of his gurus and the planets in the sky.
‘Enthakum-how much will it cost?” asked Ammalu.
”You have come all the way from Hyderabad and therefore I should be considerate. ‘Oru pathayiram uruppikayil othukkam ‘ I will arrange for ten thousand Rupees”
I looked at Ammalu’s face. The astrologer’s demand was too big an amount to offset the ill effect of a bit of waste fallen accidentally on the body, she seems to be realizing.
I was enjoying the fun. ”You deserve it Ammalu” ( I didn’t tell her that )
Instantly the astrologer’s son yelled from the court yard, ‘Atcha, kakka ente thalayil kaashtichu – a crow defecated on my head”
The leaned father shouted back. ‘Kakka kashtichal kazhukada, kazhuthea -wash it off, you fool”
” Jyolsyare, athu brhamana kakkayo, atho ?” I was anxious to know.
‘Kakka kakka thanne-crow is a crow and all crows are black, whether in Hyderabad or Palakkad. ”
Ammalu’s face beamed. So simple. If a crow dirty your head, wipe it off and forget. And all crows are black, whether in Hyderabad or Palakkad.
“Jyolsarukku ampathonnu roopai dakshinai kudunkol-give fifty one Rupees as dakshina to the astrologer” Ammalu commanded, picked hp her things and moved to the exit gate.
“Our pitus will never let us down” She said, smile and confidence brightening her face.
“You said it, Ammalu “I endorsed her comment. “Don’t you think it is childish to imagine that our grand father or grand mother, in the form of a crow, will strike our head or shoulder or dumb their waste on us? They are on their way to the Godhood and will such unholy ideas ever enter their mind? If they too act in a vengeful way, what is the difference between them and us ? And every crow which flies in the air is not our pitru”
Sharing what we have with other living and non-living beings is a great concept of our culture and that is why every morning after bath, you pour a little water, for the Tulasi plant and place a handful of cooked rice on a clean surface, accessible to birds. Unlike other birds, crows are friendly, available freely in our premises and when you place a ball of rice, reverently remembering your pitrus , on the day of shradham, if you see the image of your pitrus in the crows, who rush and grab the offer, it is understandable. But that does not mean that you should consider every crow flying in the sky or one of them which strikes your head or scratches your face is your pitru. Mouse is the mount of Vigneswara baghavan and deserves our veneration. But will you allow a mice colony to come up in your kitchen ?
”Amma calls you for a tea” The astrologer’s son came running behind us. We went back and accepted the hot tea served along with banana and avil, puffed rice, by the astrologer’s wife and while taking leave of that affectionate family, Ammalu gifted the child some cash for buying books.
”Pitrukkalude anugraham paripoornam- your pitrus have blessed you” The astrologer blessed us raising his hands.
“How true!” Ammalu exclaimed.
“How true!” I too agreed.
”Look at that crow?” Ammalu, on reaching home, called for my attention towards a bird on the gate, cawing its heart out”
It announces the arrival of some guests today. Every crow is a friend, whether it is a pitru or not”
” Yes,” I agreed, “except that one which finds your head or shoulder an ideal spot for emptying its bowel”
Namaskaram and thanks for the wonderfulful skit. Hope you are aware of our magazine Brahmintoday which is published from Chennai for the past 90 months. If not pl visit brahmintoday.org to know more
I would like to publish this article in one of the forth coming issue as it is or got it translated in Tamil of course with your kind permission and due acknowledgement
Very nice article! Good satire on the crow, your favourite topic, our misplaced superstitions and dubious behaviour of astrologers! . With your permission, I take the liberty of forwarding it to my other friends.
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