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My Birthday

Vrichika masam Hastha nakshatram, according to my friend Murali vaadyar, is tomorrow ie on 21st Nov.. My children have arranged for a Rudrabhiskekam in the Greater Baltimore temple, tomorrow evening , for my 75th birthday. My 70th birthday also was remembered with a Rudrabhishekam in the same temple. I have two English dates of birth, one on 15th October, official in all records and the other, 7th December, actual, as per the date I landed, head down, on the floor or pullu pulpai or a bed sheet or a kambili, in the Ittikombi atchan’s  kottaram (!!!) at Kalpathy, where my thatha, mother’s appa was permitted to live, considering his contributions to the Kasi Viswanatha swamy temple, which was under the custody of the Palakkad Raja vamsam.
At the time of admission in the onnam class (first standard at the Padathu Ele. school Olavakkode, Pankunni Menon  head master asked Appa for my date of birth and Appa told him
‘Ezuthikkolu masteai ‘ and provided a rough date or month, as there was no birth certificates then. This ‘ ezuthikkolu’ resulted in loosing some two months service and resulting pension benefits. That was not much. The real problem came  when I had to obtain a birth certificate or a certificate to the effect that ‘no records available’ from the Palakkad corporation, when my children had to apply for my Green card, on which they were particular and I was not . They are anxious that I should stay with them, when I advance in age and all my ‘ottams and chattams’ come to an end .
I don’t know how long this ‘ottam and chattam’ will continue and even if it continues for another day, I am thankful to the God.
Now, the purpose of this letter is exclusively to express my heart-felt thanks to each and every one of you in the Pattars group, where my first article,’ the Haridwar kids’ appeared and in the Iyer 123  forum in which I am an active participant for the past several years. The Thatha patty group, I joined much later but I have some good friends there too.  My biggest achievement and benefit is that I have a large number of net friends now all over the world, some write to me often, many know me by my name. I have met only a handful of them. For some I am appa, thatha, anna etc. The biggest award for me was, when a Perinkulam mama, whom I met for the first name during the car festival last year, told me after the installation of a laminate board inscribed on with my ‘Namami nithayam Navneetha Krishnam’ navakam on the front wall of the temple, that Perinkulam has become famous because of me, among the Palakkad Iyers..
The purpose of this letter is also to apologize to those whom I have hurt intentionally or unintentionally, through my posts and rejoinders. I have a habit of fighting for what I stand for. Many times it has boomeranged on me . Take my ’tishum-tushum’ lightly please. No ill will, no harsh thinking and the moment I click the ‘send’ button, I forget the contents. I am honest in this statement.
My blog which I started for a fun has now grown into a big tree. You and you alone are responsible for the growth of that tree in my ‘muttam’, court yard. My children wants to see my articles in book form, during my life time. If their dreams materialize, the credit again goes to you and you alone, my dear friends.
May the Karuna kataksham of Ambal be always on you and me.

Sarve bhavantu sukhinah= may everyone be happy, said our ancestors. Fine, let every one be happy!
Sarve santu niramayah= may everyone be free from all diseases. that too fine. How can we be happy if we are not healthy?
Sarve bhadrani pashyantu = may every one see goodness and auspiciousness in every thing- oh, what an anxiety for the good old thathas to ensure that we live happily and others too live happily.
Not only that,
Ma kaschit duhkha bhaag bhaveet- may none be unhappy or distressed- none should suffer, none should be unhappy . ‘Kozhandakal nannirukkanumae, Bagahvanae’  Don’t you hear that prayer from the depth of your thathas and patties in this universal prayer ? After praying for the happiness of EVERYONE, our forbears want to reemphasize that none should suffer, none should be unhappy
And after such a prolong, sincere prayer, our thathas say, Om shantih, shantih, shantih-Om peace, peace, peace!
The very essence of our cultural heritage is encapsulated in this single sooktham.
We may not be able to follow the foot steps of our ancestors in many respects. Our present way of life, our circumstances, our surroundings and several other factors are not often conducive for us to walk the path they paved . But at least let us follow them in their prayer at least,  for the happiness of every one.
There were nearly twenty long-distance trains passing through the Olavakkode Junction, now Palakkad, during night hours and invariably some one or the other from the nearby villages used to knock at our door, which was close to the Rly. stn,  after seeing off or receiving their relatives. My parents  used to receive them with a smile at those odd hours and give them food , rice or snacks and coffee.
“Nammal evalukku seithal, namma kozhanthakal nalaiikku kazhtapadamaatta’ . If we serve them today, our children will not suffer tomorrow”, they used to say.
Today, when my children, not only my own but my nephews and nieces too, look after me with so much care and consideration, showering all the affection and love on me, I think of that loving couple.
Have I taken too much of your time ? Pardon me friends. We are after all one family .
Good night and all the best
Love and regards,
Nov 20, 2011
Dear friends,
It was a memorable birthday with a million bouquets from you in the form of warm wishes, right from your heart, no thorns, no pollution. I have thanked you individually and if by oversight, have missed any, ‘Aparatham kshamswa,kshamaswa”.
” More birthdays you have, longer you live” says VVR, in his unique style. yes, I wish to have more birthdays so that I can receive more of your bouquets soaked in love, unstained. I wish to have more birthdays so that I can receive more lovely greeting cards, self-made by the little hands of my grand children and other kids nearby, addressed to ‘thata’, ‘dadu’ ‘grand pa’ all me. They have spent two or three hours, when I was away or under a nap, to scribble on a piece of paper with a colour pencil, either ‘dear thatha, I love you, happy birthday’ or simply,  ‘ dadu, happy birthday’ or just a few pencil marks, sketched here and there, drawn aimlessly but with a great aim in mind and to decorate that paper as well as the envelope for that with studs, stones or simple colour codes. I wish to live more birthdays so that my sons and daughters, sons in law and daughters in law of the family,  brother and sisters, their sons and daughters and their spouses , sambandhies and their relatives – they all or some of them, call me if they are away and convey their greetings and seek my blessings as  I am the eldest member which has over-grown and spread beyond the borders of the country.
Living long is no doubt a blessing, as long as our kin also live longer and our brain and facilities obey us. I cursed the God when he took away my aged father but I thanked Him for the same action, when subsequently I lost a sister. Our spouses and children should never precede us in leaving the world. if it happens, living becomes a curse.
I am blabbering; let me take you to the Rudrabhishekam in the Greater Baltimore Temple, last evening. Sri.Joshiji from Haridwar performed the abhiskam, in the absence of Murali Vadyaar and I could recite  Rudram, chamakam  and sookthams almost in unison with the him despite his soft voice and  variation in intonation . Those who are used to the Iyer style of  high pitch chanting, will not be comfortable with the North Indian Panditjis or Namburdithiries, whose voice is audible only to whom it is intended for, the God. Similarly those who are used only to the temples of the southern states, may not be comfortable with the shrines here as well as those in the other parts of our country.
But for the small gopuram, the GB Temple, outwardly looks like a school or any other building. The ‘sanctum’ which you will see across, straight at the other end, when you enter the wall-to wall carpeted hall is nothing but a raised platform, just two-steps-high, where the idols are installed on separate 2 feet high pedestals. On the left is the Lingam where abhishekam is performed, next ‘ashtow bujanghi’, then Sree Rama with Sita and Laxmanan, then Radha and Krishnan and at the right extreme Venkitachalpathy. Nandi and garuda await at the sannidhies of the Lingeswara and venkiteswara respectively. Two steps below to your left is Govardhan Dwarakesh and to the right  Kumarswamy. There are two rooms on the sides of the hall, where the  idols of Mahaganpathy, Sarswathy, Padmavathy, Sri Laksmi , Anjaneya and jain theethankaras  are installed.
Most of the idols are in match-less , snow – white  marbles, sweetly smiling, artistically and colorfully attired, elaborately ornamented, glistening and graceful. It is indeed very pleasing to see them . The premises inside and outside are meticulously maintained. The two purohits, Joshiji and Murali vaadyar are learned, well versed in scriptural knowledge, wear neat dress and wear them well, talk politely and treat the devotees courteously.
I prayed, as my mother used to pray, ‘ellarum nammarikkattum- let every one be happy’. It is not that I do not have individual requirements to seek from the God . I am not a sanyasi who has left every thing and in fact I have left nothing though the most precious asset in my life has left me. But somehow or other I do not feel asking anything from the God. The reason could be the firm belief that He gives me what I NEED and NOT WHAT I DESIRE. Desire is endless; needs are not.
And just one more prayer I had-don’t laugh at me That was, “Orikklaum hridayathinnozinju pokaruthea Nee!’ -YOU should never go away from my heart !”
Funny, is isn’t ? Not so. I will come to that next.
Love and regards,
Nov 22, 2011

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