I went to attend a relative’s wedding in a suburb of TVM in a peak summer. After the Janwasam and night food on the previous night, I found the big hall earmarked as bedroom for us was already occupied by elders, mostly women, and in a few vacant slots under fans, the Sasthapreethi goers had already reserved their beds in advance by spreading thorthumundus, small towels or bedsheets.
I belonged to the bridegroom’s group and was eligible for special treatment. The girl’s dad came running apologetically and led me to a room reserved for Nadaswaram troupe.
‘Where will they sleep?’, I enquired
‘Don’t worry about them. They will sleep under the huge neem tree in the frontage’
I jumped on that idea and said, ‘let them sleep in this room; I will go and sleep in the open, under the tree’
Without waiting for his consent, I moved to the open court yard. Seeing my forward movement, my children joined me and then my wife too. Booking rooms in hotels for guests was not in practice those days and moreover there were no good hotels in that place.
The bridegroom, a smart guy was watching my movement and he too wanted to join us to enjoy sleep under the star – studded sky. He knew that from the next night onwards, there would be only one star other than him in a closed room and therefore he wanted to avail the last chance to enjoy the open air theater.
‘Nee onnum velilae paduthukkapdaathu,’ restrained the groom’s uncle. ‘No, you should not sleep outside ‘. Then turning to me he said, ‘you, you are the trouble maker’
I enjoyed his angry mood and asked, ‘are you afraid that the bride too will join him, following the footsteps of her cousin ( my wife )?
Anyway, we enjoyed the sleep- out. While taking leave of the hosts, the bridegroom’s mother, my wife’s aunt, took me aside and admonished,’ manathai vaankineer Palakkadu Brahmana!’
‘You put us to shame by sleeping outside. You are the Mappillai , son in law of this family and what a shame, we could not provide you a good bedroom!’
I pacified her, ‘don’t worry. We enjoyed the open air which was more comfortable than a star hotel. If you don’t believe my words, ask your niece ‘
Recently when her grand son’s wedding took place in Chennai, she sent me a handwritten note along with the wedding invitation: ‘assured, accommodation in a five star hotel!’
To lie down in the open, facing the sky, is a pleasure for me, always. That was unthinkable here in Baltimore till a couple of days before, as the winter was choking and squeezing us for the past over six months.
I availed the first opportunity and tried to do one or two Sooryanamskarams and some simple physical exercises.
But my system has become weak due to the powerful rays and medicines pushed into it. To some extend, however, my legs moved up.
‘Not further, please,’ they begged.
Overwhelmed by joy I’m, when my eyes and ears
Hands and legs hear me and obey my orders.
Yes, my limbs obey me!
Who am I, an orderly of the Big Boss
Who makes the Sun, the Moon and stars to glow
And the rivers to flow.
My limbs will obey me as my orders are His orders
And when I’m called back, they will lie flat
Like the chopped wings of a bat.