June 14, 2013
In Vancouver, since 3 days, with my nephew Ramu. Ramu and Ashu both medical specialists, go to the hospitals and children to the school. We three oldies, my first sister Ammu, her husband Ambi and self, spend our time chatting incessantly and the youngsters wonder, ‘ from where do they derive so much energy?. Does the energy expand as per the need?’. It does. You w’ll agree with me had you been chased by a mad street dog, a bad boss or a greedy wife. If you had never been chased , wait till you reach our age and observe how the theory of expansion works.
More we pull out, more come out bundles of memories of the past, till the sleep overtakes us, which naturally will, as the exhausted body needs rest. But, suddenly remembering an unexplored and unexposed incident, I return from my bedroom and declare a truth: ” we missed something big. We skipped our ‘chundeli(mouse) Chuppani’s story”
” That guy who hid behind the kitchen door fearing his wife’s scoldings?”, responds Ambi. ” Isn’t he our catapult Kandaswamy’s cousin?”. Thus starts the second chapter of our session.
” chuppani had already left this world long back but when he emerges from the well of our memories, he becomes active, moves around the water, might even climb up the wall of the well and join in our conversation. Such is the attraction of the debate of seniors.
I enjoy this Hyderabad -winter-like climate, though they say it is summer here. While strolling in the woods overpopulated with Maples and pines, wearing a black coat, I can see a lovely mountain range, dark blue in colour. It brings to my mind the memory of the Western ghats visible from the back yard of my Olavakkode house, gazing which I spent half of my childhood, dreaming and receiving the scolding of the elders for neglecting food and books. Do you believe that mountains walk and talk?. I do. My friend the western ghat , used to walk and watch my bathing in the Kalpathy river, when I was a child. Later, while doing sandhyavandanam standing in the knee- deep waters of that river, the mountain used to echo my Gayathri mantram and move its head in appreciation. When I go to Perinkulam and bath in the Chooriyappn kulam , the mountain used to keep an eye on me.
Mountains were actually talking and walking, says great poets of lore.They were not only talking and walking but had wife, children, attachment, aspiration, like you and me. Long, long ago, they had even wings! Imagine huge mountains with abundant wealth of forests, streams, animals and birds flying as they wish and landing as they wish. As long as a mountain, however mighty it might be, quietly sits in a place, no problem. You can even stone it and boast that you have subdued it. But if it slowly gets up , that is enough to make you to run for your life. The chases mentioned earlier including the one caused by your wife becomes insignificant, if a mountain with wings chases you.
No wonder that the gods in the heaven were worried; an atheist hill could fly up and attack the celestial gardens and damsels. The Rishies were worried; an impish hill could could settle on their homakundam, fire-place for religious offerings and put out the sacred fire. They all went and appealed to the ruler of the heavens and he dutifully cut the wings off the mountains. One young guy with golden peaks escaped, when the god of air, Vayu pushed him into the ocean . He was Minakam, son of Himavan, the holy mountain-king and Mena, his royal consort. Indra assigned him a job of guarding the gates of the nether world, pathalam, the abode of Asuras. ” Make sure that they don’t come out and trouble us”. The Mainakam could move side ways as well as vertically.
When Anjaneya was crossing the ocean on his mission in search of Sita Devi, the god of oceans, requested Mainakam to raise up and pay host to the great monkey god, Anjaneya. The mainakam first tried to block the path of Anjaneya to test his strength and when he received a minor hit by the mighty hand of the monkey king, he changed his form to that of a human and pleaded Hanuman to dine and relax on the mountain. As you know, Hanuman politely rejected the offer and proceeded with his task.
The sky is still bright though it is 8.00 at night ( how do I say it is night , when the sun is still active and visible in the sky?) . I have gone rather deep into the forest. Ramu had warned me, ” mama, beware of bears” . There are many things in me to attract the animal: my black coat, unruly hairs, my face . Why take risk. But these trees are not leaving me. I sit on a rock and dream.