Sunday, May 26, 2013

Journeying through the songs..

Either way I would have come here. Even if there was no treasure or I didn’t happen to know anyone here. It was not exactly a pilgrimage. This, in fact was an invitation through centuries.” Come to Thiruvananthapuram today “is what he had told. He changed my perception of God. He was a mystic, he was a poet. I looked upon to his songs when I was sitting alone in clinic, when I felt down, sometimes as a routine, and at times to compare with other sufi saints.

 The invitation 

 கெடும்இடராயவேல்லாம் கேசவா என்ன நாளும் 
கொடுவினை  செய்யும் கூற்றின் தமர்களும் குறுகக்கில்லார் 
விடமுடை அரவில் பள்ளி விரும்பினான் சுரும்பலற்றும் 
தடமுடை வயல் அனந்தபுர நகர் புகுதும் இன்றே.


"Under the venomous hood,
 In fields where drones abuzz,
He beckons to his abode
Ananthapuram is the name,
Death's vassals would dare come,
troubles efface,
Chant 'Kesava" each day, come
hither, to his place.."

 Kaveri and bhavani were dry, and hogenakkal was stripped bare of only rocks. Meena wanted to get off to some place to soak in water. Maybe tirparappu, the last time we went there, though in summer, the waterfalls were brimming with abundant clear water and surprisingly less people to jostle there. Unfortunately we discovered the falls only by afternoon and our bus was booked early in the evening. So, we had to make a quick exit. 

I never thought that the falls was so near to Thiruvananthapuram, and another temple very close to it. The songs to reckon written by the same mystic poet, Nammazhwar. The weather was partly cloudy with occasional drizzle, and dark clouds gathering in the horizon. After padmanabhapuram palace and the falls we had come to the temple around 3 pm. We had to wait for quite some time till the nadaithirappu. Adithya was in a playful mood and he was swinging Meena’s pallu and twirling his shirt over his head. We then had an uninvited guide who took us through the temple and its history. Though not exactly deserted, there were very few people for the “opening of the door”. We were amazed at the intricate rosewood carvings of the temple. I had my own share of ecstasy that evening. Life and death are blessings. Let the cycle repeat. I don’t wish to be a zombie attaining “Mukthi”.

தலை  மேல தாளினைகள் தாமரைக்கண் என்னம்மான் 
நிலை பேரான் என் நெஞ்சத்து எப்பொழுதும் எம்பெருமான்.
மலைமாடத்து அரவணை மேல் வட்டாற்றான் மதம் மிக்க 
கொலை யானை மருப்பொசித்தான் குரைகழல்கள் குறுகினமே.


"Bearing his feet on my crown,
of the lotus eyed one..
Residing over a serpant pedestral,
The lord of tiruvattaar,
Surround by facade rising high,
unflinching, he settled owning me,
and ME,
Acknowledged his claim"
- nammazhwar

another song which  I stumbled ?Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma translated by K. Shesha Iyer.

" What makes me king?
The gaudy thing,
The diadem I wear?
Not that, indeed, the regal crown
For me whom He has made His own,
The king of Kings, whose lotus feet
upon my head I bear!
They for my crown, those lotus feet!
They make me king!"

We started early through the next morning to trivandrum temple. The temple would be open to the general public after the salutations of the erstwhile Travancore descendants. Though we were talking continuously, this song about beckoning to Trivandrum was ringing in my mind.  Legend says that Nammazhwar never moved from Alwar Tirunagari in tirunelveli district. Here, he has described about tiruvananthapuram, surrounded by the various trees (he mentions about their names), the rivulets and the lapping waves of the sea. Tiruvattar, he says that the lord resides in a temple on a little elevated area, surrounded by high walls. He would have come here, I thought. He would have seen this reclining god and his summon is echoing through centuries.
And when I went near the sanctorium, the reclining lord arose from his slumber, came alive, connecting the songs, the mystic poet and his invitation to meet him.

NB: photographs of tvm were all lost since my cellphone software got corrupted. Those which were remaining  were sent immediately to my friend and retrieved later on.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A book and some thoughts..

"Do you have elective cases lined up for this week?” my friend asked. "Why?no!" I answered as he was driving towards medical college after our lunch. "So, why don't you join me for my batch meet in Davangere?"
"Hey S, it's YOUR batch meet, and what am I going to do anyway?"
“Saravana, just come along with me, batch meet is only on Saturday and we will be leaving on Thursday. Let's get out of the routine here. Everything free, food, accommodation and booze. Call up your wife and tell that we are going as examiners there".
I replied “I’ve stopped my stint with alcohol and this is not the time of university exams, moreover I haven't planned anything. Department, home and clinic"
"Fine, I won’t force you to booze. Keep track of bills, drive for us and get to know about my friends. You won't leave this place if you make big plans. Now take your mobile and call Meena."

We started driving towards Davangere on Thursday morning, though I told Meena about the batch meet and asked her to cover-up on behalf of me for my parents citing exams.There was a message from her as we sat for lunch in Davangere. “Good riddance, it’s raining heavily here. Salem wanted you to move away for it to rain".I replied back. “It is raining here too. A welcome rain in my native land!”..

We were, by that time in a bar and restaurant. The unwinding had already started. Davangere is known for good cuisine. I was surprised at their (we were 4 of us who travelled) capacity to down the pegs. Short break in the evening and followed by fresh round of water and food in the night. Old memories retold, trips, failures, (academic as well as those related to heart) teachers and the anxiety of meeting old classmates with their spouses. The food was good and I felt sleepy with all the travelling.
kids trying to avoid my photo in the temple.

The next day morning was spent in going to a nearby temple and church and the college, hostel and library. By afternoon, the sessions started. I was wondering whether this was a sort of escape from not able to drink at home front. I felt a little out of circle that day.  Three more joined us in the evening. Some seemingly having a disturbed personality-Two unmarried and searching for bride at 38 years. One recovered from drugs with great effort from his wife and another still continuing with drugs. The next morning during their actual batch meet , I went off to Hubli to see my friend.

All these were discussed while driving back home with the one who talked a little philosophy. Philosophy was my turf and we had a long discussion. He then admitted that he was divorced after 3 years of marriage and that he went into sort of major depression.

Now, what prompted me to write about the events was the reading of “The catcher in the rye” a novel by J.D.Salinger. The novel was banned several times for its explicit and supposedly demoralizing theme. But then, it is a novel about a youth in his adolescent years trying to cope with a harsh world outside. There is lot of cynicism, bigotry and negative attitude towards life, so much so that I was waiting to finish the seemingly depressive novel. Ultimately the lead character ends up in a rehabilitation centre after a nervous breakdown. It appears that he was desisting his transformation into an adult or maybe he still reveled in his poignant reminder of childhood innocence.
 Once I put down the book, I went into deep thoughts, about my own younger years, and of those people whom I met recently.  Habits which were picked up in medical school had not been curtailed. I don’t intend to be judgmental, but there has to be a period when we need to get along with life. Sometimes the downs lock us for prolonged periods. More disturbingly, I could see such traits in some of my students now and all I can do is just observe.