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I venture to write on a topic which I am familiar with – ‘porulankai’- that moderately sweet, round, eatable stuff, which your mother or grand mother prepares to delight your palate. I am sure that, this is a topic of interest to all of us here.
Porulankai is not a ‘kai’ like thenkai, a seed or vazhakkai, a vegetable. It has nothing to do with podavalankai, though their names sound they are twin brothers. You know that they are opposite in appearance and character. I had a friend in my college, the Lab. attendant, Mathan panicker. He had nothing common with ‘mathan’, our pumpkin. That guy was lean like a ‘payar’ and tall like a panamaram, palm tree. Names can be deceptive often. Kunjukuttan was my classmate. He was neither kunju nor kuttan; was a Kumbakarnan in body-size and also in snoring. We often used to fight for the last seat in the last bench. So was another one, ‘Dayalan’ who was the most unkind, cruel friend, I ever had. He used to sit and weep in a corner when other children go near to wipe his tears, he used to kick them at their abdomen. Kicking at abdomen is one of the cruelest acts, as you know.
Back to my topic again. Unlike his cine- star-stylish, fragrant, rich girl friend, Laddu, Porulankai is not endowed with a glossy skin or tempting projections and curvy features . What pains me most is that, even the gods go by looks. Otherwise, why do they accept laddu for neivediyam and not porulankai. Even dark skinned, dull faced appam is accepted by them, probably because of the shiny skin,  but I am yet to receive porulankai as prasadam from any temple.
I am a Palkkadan porulankai, wheat skinned, hard to break and spicy in nature and my sahadharmini is Thekkan Maaladu, fair, frail and comely. Maaladu, as you know is a favorite item in Thiruvananthapuram area, golden- yellowish, soft to feel and breaks with a mild press. If you have a mamiyar from TVM, as I do, she might be bringing a dozen or two of those sandy, sweet balls when she comes to meet you. The problem comes when the stuff is too hard. The problem is for you and not for her. Her teeth, all, might be as strong as they were, when she brought out your wife to this world. And, what a wonderful product she has brought out! Long live mothers in law!
I did some research on Porulankai as I thought it would be more useful than many topics of our current discussion.  I took the assistance of my friend Seshu, from Ambasamudram, who has crossed all the samudrams (oceans ) in the globe, as the caption of a commercial ship, as the subject of study is as complicated as, ‘whether Brahmins should eat brinjal or not’. Bye the by, you know why bringal is not to be eaten by brahmins? Because, there is egg in it ! That is why it is called ‘eggplant’. You are shocked and are in a hurry to find out the prayachithams for gulping different dishes of eggplant. There are experts in our group to help you. The harm already done cannot be undone.
This is what Seshu says on porulankai:
“Porulankai is not  Palakkadan. Its origin  is Thanjavur, Kumbakonam or Mayavaram. It accompanied the migrants to the bank of the Kalpathi river, as one of the food items, safely stored in the ‘mootai’ or cloth bundle, hung on the shoulders of the ‘pilgrims’.( The word ‘pilgrim’ is used to satisfy his ego, as he has a paper on the first migrants to USA, later named ‘pilgrims’.)
The original name of this snack was porul valan kai – seed or substance full of ‘porul’ ( meaning, essence etc). What was that ‘porul’ ? Remember, our forebears had to undertake  an arduous journey on foot, lasting several weeks or months and  there was an urgent need to induct some courage into their blood so that they were bold enough at least to hiss if not to bite, while encountering  enemies en-route. The usual ‘thair sadam’,  innocent in looks and invertebrate in nature, was not the ideal food for that purpose, they realized. More over, like all  good things, its life is limited. So, in their wisdom, our worthy patties of yore, invented porulankai and added some chukkuppodi, powder of chukku or dried ginger into the dough so that the ‘satwa’ spice ingrains a bit of ‘Raajasa’ gunam or courage in their mail folk. This porul, ‘thathwam’ is the basis for the favorite snack to gain the name porulankai. It is the spice content that made it unfit for the consumption of gods., as the gods are ‘sathwiks’ and they eat porulankai only when they appear on the earth to kill demons.  ”
The Tamizhan Seshu’s thesis hurt my Palkkadan pride and here is my version:
Porulankai was indeed invented by a Palakkadan mami and it has derived its name from the word, ‘urulan’ in Malayalam, meaning round in shape.
It is now for the learned members of this group to discuss and derive at a conclusion on this important topic. Please also discuss how ‘paruppu thenkai’ got that name, when there is no thenkai, coconut, in it? We two here are busy here, breaking our head to find out how ‘cheedai’ got its name.

A website of Tamil/Malayalam speaking brahmins, should essentially discuss the uniqueness that binds the brahmins  together – daily rituals, festivals, periodical ceremonies, food habits etc. Therefore, Porulankai eminently justifies its place in this website.
Porulankai is sweet, but not sufficient enough for one to clamour after it nor does it induces fear in the minds of the diabetes brigade. Endowed with Blessings for long shelf life and sturdy physique, it may not have the seductive looks of Ladu or Halwa, as Shri Perinkulam laments. And yet, as we all know, plain Jane always make a better bride than coquet Caroline. Long shelf life makes it an ideal companion for distant journeys. Its other virtues are that it is dry and not sticky and hence parceling is easy. It does not boast of Atthar’s aroma nor can one condemn it as stinking snowball.
Porulankai certainy owes it origin either to Thanjavur or Thirunelveli and certainly not Palakad.
Thanks to Shri Perinkulam, the son-in-law of my Thiruvananthapuram, for provoking me.


Dear Siva anna
What an excellent write-up on a sweet bomb that is relished by one and all for its hardness, flavour and taste….’Poruvalangai’?????  Its indeed a difficult sweet to make, but if eaten in the afternoon around 4 PM at TEA time, it cannot be beaten by anything.
I should really admire and appreciate the topic that you have chosen to write about when the serious discussions on child marriage, when to perform Poonal and what not to eat or how many times Sandhyavandanam in the forum.
When I told my daughter about the impending marriage decision to be made at an age when the children are just kids…….’she says its nothing but kiddish’.  How can the parents decide on their young ward whose horoscope itself is not done yet, but think about marriage alliance……?  Is not it ridiculous?  Are we going back to the stone age or 18th century?  What happened to all the scientific developments and education that we gained over a period of time?  This is what they have learned??????
We brahmins are INDEPENDANT thinkers and can decide themselves but of course suggestions and advices are always welcome.  These old schools’ books of thoughts will never be accepted by youngsters of today.  But those who wish to continue, let them do so and are free to do so.  Let them not force them on others.  Today’s girls are SMARTER than the MENFOLK and will definitely have their own views on their life and we can only guide them in the right path not with force but with love and education.
I have been seeing in the forum which always advises what the women of our community to do, how they have to do, how their mothers did, what the present women not doing, etc. etc. and showing women always in a negative perspective.  Still the MEN EGO takes the driver’s seat in the community and in the forums as well.  WHY this kolaveri against our women where women are worshipped by one and all and above all by our Sringeri and Kanchi periava in the form of Goddess Saradambal and Kamatshi?
If a boy did not get alliance, the next immediate bow goes against the girl and her mother.  What about the mother of the groom?  Still how many atrocities these so called husbands and their mothers carryout against the new woman of their house / life?
When I go thru the matrimony, many grooms based abroad write “presently on assignment in XXXX place, will go back after 3~4 years to be with my parents”…… so the girl has to forget about her parents [both girl and boy are shown equal love and education without any parity].  I am reading in many Ladies forum, how the husbands’ mind and behaviour change once they see their parents / esp mothers in a weird way?  If he is not level headed and be neutral why do they even get married?  Let them be a bachelor……
Why every one wants a simple, slim, fair, respect to elders, domestically trained, employed girl as wife / DiL……….. and what not to treat her like a product life long without any respect?
With the heated topics making rounds, its a SIGH of RELIEF to read the mail on a very common sweet Poruvalangai with humour…………is an icing on the cake.  I loved the intro given about your class mate and friend too in the discussion.
Its beautiful and thanks again.
Kind Regards
Shanti Subramanian

April  2, 2012
The article porulankai is enjoyable.
A joke to relish
K S Subramanian
Hello Mr. Sivasubramanian, let me add something to your mail. I am sure the original name must have been PORUL VILANGA URUNDAYI!! to prove its mysterious appearance, taste, hardness etc.

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I have nothing to teach you

Subject: [Pattars] I have nothing  to teach you
My classmate Sri. Krishnamoorthy had this to say about my post on ‘Kavassery and Pallavur ”
“Dear Siva,
I went through your article on Pallavur and Kavasseri, with a hope to find some guidance about the localities. I am terribly disappointed that it contained descriptions of one or trwo personalities only, not a word about the geography, people and their habits.”
He is right.  I don’t write on those because there are several other sources such as travel guides, Google search etc to help you on those subjects
 My interest is to attempt to touch your finer feelings and try to vibrate those intimate inner  strings. I am a ‘vainika’ in that respect and not an information bureau. I have nothing with me to teach you.
I shall be grateful if my respected readers could keep this is in their mind, while reading my stories.
 I was moved when a day or two back , a reader said this :
 ” Dear Shri Sivasubramanian,
It was a rare treat, one of the beautiful portrayal,narration or story telling which i chanced to read today and i sincerely want to congratulate you for this and pray for your good health and happiness.
It was a casual search for an email from a friend “parasu’ (whom i met after a gap of 50 years at Thrissur during the golden jubilee celebrations of Government College of Engineering),that made me look at the US brahmins mail of May 19 2011, where in your story of parasu vadyar not just attracted me but made me read with intense interest couple of times and i liked it so much because of its simplicity and familiar back drop and events.Though few tear drops fell at the end, i realized that it brought freshness and a light feeling removing the heaviness of the crowded life.
Thank you for this nice piece”
That exactly is my aim .
Love and regards,
Ocala, Florida

Comments :

Kalakkittel MamuJ


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My New year started with a Big Bang

Things always happen in a big way for me. This New year day was not an exception. The pick up started two days before, with a series of fare well parties hosted by the physician friends of my nephew Ramu, for his parents who were leaving back home after a stay of 6 months in Vancouver. The hosts, mostly from Andra Pradesh enjoyed my company too as I could speak in their mother-tongue.The best way to gain the friendship of any one in a foreign land is to say a few words in the language which his mom spoke to him first.

The next one was a big bang – a ‘sadyogatham’ aaseervadam, ‘blessings’ from a Big Brother in another continent abusing me in sudha Samskritam, deva bhasahi or the language of those in Heaven. The act which merited an abuse from His Holiness was my New Year greetings ! He doesn’t consider Jan 1, as the dawn of New year.  For him and “all other Brahmanas and Hindus of every persuasion,  Nandhana Samvatsaram,13th April 2012 ” is the New year day.

As far as my limited knowledge goes, it is not so. The 13th April is celebrated as the Pongal, thamizh puthandu orTamil varshapirappu and there ends the matter. For all the routine business of the ‘lesser souls’ English calender is followed. Till the next April 13th, they do not think about the varushapirappu because there is no need for that. And remember, the Tamil varshappirappu is only for those who speaks Tamil and not for all other Brahmanas and Hindus !
I have seen this argument in other Brahmin fora too. All our documents, personal and official , right  from the birth certificate to the certificate of death are in dates of the ‘English’ calender. Our electricity,gas, telephone,water bills and election dates too.Tell me one occasion when we, ‘ Brahmanas and other Hindus’  follow the Nandana samvasatsaram or any other Tamil or Malayalam or Telugu year? 
For janma nakshtram or shradham or any good and bad occasions, we mention the Nakshatram orThithy but instantly relate that to the “English’ calendar dates. Especially for those who live in countries where English is the predominant  language, where their children and grand children speak mostly in English, why do they feel shy to accept greetings on the English New year day ? You speak English, write English, think in English and subscribe to a group whose name is in English letters.I 123 or 4 B or US Brahmins, but when I come to your house to greet you on the dawn of Jan, you turn your face or turn it towards me only to insult me !! Why this hypocrisy ?.

Wishing him on a ‘wrong day’ was not the only crime committed by me. There are many:

I.“the much-trumpeted Rudrabhishegam to the avathaaram of Maruthi Aanjaneeyaswamy Hanuman, he of the Supreme Chalisa whose greatness supersedes all our four Vedams.”

It is true that I shared my happiness on a rare occasion in my life with my net friends and if it is a crime, my heart felt apologies to him. You all greeted me, blessed me, sought my blessings and if I apologize to you, I am discrediting your messages of well-wish. 
 I never said that the  Abhishekam was done for Anjzneyaswamy. .Here is the relevant  para :
” 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.

2. “for elevating the towering  Nagna Mahavir as equal to, if not superior to, the consecrated deities at Greater Baltimore Temple, in particular the recipient (same shape, same deity as the one at Brihadeesvara Temple in Thanjavur)  .
Where have I ‘elevated’ the ‘nagana Mahavir ‘ ‘as equal to, if not superior to ‘other deiteis ? You have read the above para of my listing the deities.

Then comes the biggest joke- “the Supreme Chalisa whose greatness supersedes all our four Vedams.”
No, Sir.This is another lie. I have never said so. Please go into the I123 or any other archives and if you can show that I had said that  the Chalis’s greatness supersedes our vedams, I will throw my yegnopaveethjam. And if  I gain the bet, he who made a false claim,should also undergo the same punishment.  

There are many assaults on me such as  I am a “Great Joker who can outperform any cirque mondiale contortionist entertainer” etc but I ignore them as blabbering of an unsteady mind .
I am not unused to his verbal assaults. But, when I came to your gates with New year wish and a picture of  Brahdeeswarar, when all of you raised from your seat and prayed. ‘Hara, Hara, Mahadeva ‘  he insulted Him by abusing me.
The Brahadeeswarar will pardon the one who ignored Him. He is “kripasamudram, sumukham,thrinaetram “
any way my New Year Day was spent in three flights and four air stations, happily as usual. 
Love and regards,
from Ocala,Florida
A blessed soul, on our behalf, is pouring sanctified milk on the Mahalingam of the Mahadevar at the great Brihadeeswara Temple. Amazing isn’t it ? Pouring milk  and water on a head which carries the sacred Ganga !Let that milk falling down from the Mahadevar and Maheswari’s  head and body which sanctifies ‘the aapathala nabhasthaladi bhuvanam’ enrich your soul, invigorate your body!Another year is at our threshold. Let us receive her with open hands; we are known for welcoming our guests with ‘ arkhya pushpadi’ respects. This guest will soon become a part of our family soon and we will learn to live with her. Let her be friendly to us. Let we too enjoy her company. Let her association become pleasantly memorable.WELCOME 2012.HAPPY NEW OUR TO YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.Sivasubramaninan from Vancouver

Attachment(s) from Sivasubramanian Perinkulam
1 of 1 Photo(s)


Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2011 03:34:53 -0800
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: [Iyer123] Welcome 2012 — with a sting
To: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Dear fellow-Iyers, fellow-Braahmanas and fellow-Pattars
Sure   “Let we too enjoy her company.”
In fact enjoy also the august company of him, who grandly sneers at a disembodied “blessed soul”  —  not a highly-qualified and pious Sivaachaariar, not a living human priest named kurukkal, learned in the Vedas and in the prayogams applicable to temple rites  — “pouring sanctified milk on the Mahalingam of the Mahadevar at the great Brihadeeswara Temple. Pouring milk  and water on a head which carries the sacred Ganga !” (What sheer eloquence!)
And “let we” enjoy the company (and the new-era preaching, screeching, and teaching) of him to whom — Nothing is sacred.  Nothing is beyond being besmirched, being ridiculed in public.  Nothing is so ludicrous as the sight, the temerity and the stupidity, of other Hindus worshipping their time-worn and eroded gods once held in high esteem in a vanished age.
“Let we” look forward to a good beginning, to an even better Gregorian/Christian/English year —   for mud-slinging at, and sarcasm against, Hindu gods and their devotees;   for elevating the towering  Nagna Mahavir as equal to, if not superior to, the consecrated deities at Greater Baltimore Temple, in particular the recipient (same shape, same deity as the one at Brihadeesvara Temple in Thanjavur)  of the much-trumpeted Rudrabhishegam to the avathaaram of Maruthi Aanjaneeyaswamy Hanuman, he of the Supreme Chalisa whose greatness supersedes all our four Vedams.
“Let we” wait and enjoy more antics from this Great Joker who can outperform any cirque mondiale contortionist entertainer.And let us lesser souls meanwhile wait piously, patiently, perfectly calmly,  for 13th April 2012,  Nandhana Samvatsaram,  Uththaraayanam,  Varsha Ruthu, Mesha Maasyam,  Krishna Paksham,  Ashtami Thithi,  Brugu Vaasaram, Pooraashaada Nakshathram  —  to welcome the “real” new year, along with all other Brahmanas and Hindus of every persuasion.S Narayanaswamy Iyer
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How small issues give us BIG happiness

Went to the Greater Baltimore temple to say ‘Good bye’ to the colorful, Gracious Gods as I will not be seeing them again for sometime. I am leaving for Vancouver and from there come back to US but go to Florida. The Saturday bajan was going on and enjoyed the last part where the NAMASIVAYA in chores filled the air. Murali Vaadyar tells me that 17th, there is an Ayyappa pooja with Rudrabhishekam, padipooja, thalppoli etc, all the steps we follow in our Thiruvanthapuram or Hyderabad. So, I am missing another sasthapreeti sadyai.
There are not many Malayalees here and  how Ayyappa pooja came to Baltimore ?. Probably because of the Telugu population.  Anyway, wherever we go we carry with us our culture and tradition.
Murali vaadyar also told me that the day I am leaving for Vancouver is Karthikai. I was delighted to hear that. You know why; My first sister to whom I have not given her karthikai gift as an elder brother for the past several years, is in Vancouver with her son Dr. Ramu. I will be reaching her house on Karthikai night and I can give her my gift. Some cash and clothes. It is nearly two decades since I gave her some  ash for karthiakai and she along with her spouse is the longest living pair in our family.  My trip was not planned but it so happened that I am reaching there on an ideal occasion. As I used to tell my children, HE knows what is good for me.
My children are joking, ‘Appa, how excited you are on such a small issue ?’  ‘Small’ issues sometime give us big satisfaction. The four anna coin Appa used to give , after guiding me  to sit before the Vishukkani,  was exciting; the thousands I earned later in life, was only an income.
Love and regards,
Thanks for sharing my feelings, VVR. When it comes to finer sentiments, we are all one.
Your Kutty pattar is not a new face to me. The aroma of your appam, pori has reached me crossing the oceans to rejuvenate me and remind the flavor of the past.The God has given you that gift- ‘to touch the chord’ – How great a Gift!
Let me share with you some more . Ammu, my sister,  around  seventy, grabbed the clothes I had brought for her, as if she was seeing woolen jackets for the first time in life ! Her artificial knee caps prevented her body to bend when I handed over the Karthikai smabavanai, two or three dollar notes, but her warm ear drops fell on my feet. The memory of my hugging her to my chest, at the kalyana mantapam of the Perinkulam Krishnaswamy temple, some fifty years ago, when she prostrated before me along with her just -joined life-partner would have emerged from her inner pool. Or could it be the hug I gave her when I returned home after cremating my father’s body ?
“After living with  her husband for over fifty years, sharing his unstained love and enviable plenty, how excited she is to meet her brother  and receive a small gift !” I asked myself, lying in the lavish bedroom of my nephew.
“every hair of our women  stands erect and every blood vessel vibrate faster, when the memory of their ‘poranthaam’  which they left long ago, raises its head.
Our women are great !

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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