Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Mom looked at me -- pleading. I shrugged my shoulders, walked over to where the bell hung and gave it a resounding twang that echoed through the temple. Mom smiled at me -- she always had problems with the high bells at temples. And she was always proud of how I could reach places 'normal' people couldn't.
We strolled over to where the priest stood. It was Friday. Mom had asked me -- out of the blue -- if I would accompany her to the kovil. I would have said 'No!' on any other occasion but since I was leaving tomorrow, I didn't want to break her heart and so agreed, albeit grudgingly. But now that I think of it, Mom had timed it perfectly, perhaps knowing I wouldn't refuse her. Mothers are crafty you know.
Mom handed over the flowers that we had bought, and asked the priest to perform an archanai for my well-being. I waited. She turned to look at me -- that pleading smile on her face again. My questioning eyebrows, raised in mock anger, lowered into their places and I shook my head in resignation.
"Innikku mattum da," Mom begged. Just this once.
"Seri, seri," I relented. Yeah, whatever. I must admit she's getting good at having her way with me.
Pleased at having won the battle, Mom proceeded to pay her undivided attention to the pooja. I tried too. But two minutes after trying to understand mantras being chanted in a language I didn't understand, I lost it. The incense, wafting from in front of the idol, was overpowering. Images flitted by. From a past I thought I would not revisit. I could see everything like it was yesterday...
Bicycle left unlocked outside. Slippers slung into a corner. Bare feet and a prayer list. Unquestioned faith and blind devotion. Mumbled entreaties. Hurried steps.Expectations heightened. Divine intervention sought. Blessings received...
"Edhuthukko paa." Take it son.
I snapped out of my reverie to find the priest accosting me with his divine deepam and sacred ash. I didn't refuse him, and out of the corner of my eye I caught Mom smiling satisfactorily as I applied the ash on my forehead.
"Ellam nalladha nadakkum," he said. Everything will be fine.
"Hmmm," I nodded.
I left Mom to chat with the priest while I took a look around the place. Not much had changed. The walls and pillars were now alive with a fresh coat of paint. But I liked it more when it was being built. When it was still sacred. Those grey walls, with their incomplete figurines had a certain naivete to them that was honest. Unlike now. Now, it was just another temple. For just another God. The thoughts quickened and the images started again:
Mid-day sun. Artisans at work. The Gods in their hands, taking shape, acquiring Life. Gods some of them wouldn't be allowed to see. Uncomfortable questions. Unconvincing answers. Submission and sufferance, or refusal and rebellion...
I came to my favourite part of the temple. This was where there was a statue of the resident Lord in all his resplendent glory. I remembered the two craftsmen who had spent hours perfecting this figure. Nice chaps both. Polite. Wise. Humble. And now as I looked up at it, the sun catching its head and making me squint, I didn't see Him, but saw those two instead. Man? God? Work? God? Reason? Faith?
"Vaa, 3 suththu suththanum," Mom interrupted from behind, clasping my hand in hers. Come, we have to go around the temple thrice.
I looked down at Mom, still plying that please-do-this-for-me routine. And I looked up at Him. A foxy grin spread across my face as I looked back at Mom.
"Seri, polaam." Yeah, let's go.
There's God. And then there's Mom.
Thanks for those comments and all that traffic when I was away. Sometimes my faith needs a little reinforcement.
Have you ever heard a song you couldn't help falling in love with? It's happening all over again with me (the first time was with "Snehithane" from "Alaipayuthey"). Oh yes, and I'm going giddy! Ah, no it's not one of those out-of-the-world songs, but it's the "Suttum Vizhi" number from "Ghajini". It's what I call my-kinda-song. Steady, melodious music, strengthened by wonderful lyrics, backed up by some good singers. That's all I ask really! The music is very simple, although it sounds familiar, but I don't mind that at all. But it is the lyrics that are amazing. If you're a sucker for Tamil lyrics like me, then you'll love this one. Again really simple lyrics with quite intelligent metaphors and emotions running all the way through. And what's to note is that, at no point of time does it rely on the "physical technicalities" of love to make a point. Add to that perfect diction from Sriram Parthasarathy and Bombay Jayashree, and my cup overflows! Brilliant! And I don't know if it's just me, but I could actually feel it raining in the song! Perfect listening for a rainy day and I've been playing it in an infinite loop all day long for the last week :-)


Anonymous said...

Yea that song had grown into me also... Was killing the lyrics :D One poor chap tried correcting me like hazaar and one times and then gave up!!!!:)
Nice to see ya back!

Anonymous said...

Yea that song has grown into me also... was killing the lyircs the other day ... One poor chap tried to correct me like Hazaar and one times and then gave up.... :D
Nice to see ya back!

Dr. Alamandrax said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

consumerdemon said...

ala! you are everywhere!

welcome back musafir. want more of your poetry man. quickly.

Ravi said...

Hi Rajesh. Loved the line: There's God. And then there's Mom. All I can say is you're lucky! Enjoy her presence & blessings! Secondly, am very happy to read your eulogy for Suttum Vizhi Sudarae. I'm crazy about it too! Suggest you also listen to Pani Thuli of the Kanda Naal Mudal! :)

Samudraa said...

18th time :) followed by "en mel vizhundha " and "aankhon mein raho".

Lyrics that have become memories in my mind....lyrics that will be 'moments'.

The write up on god was pretty decent,brought out the annoyance well!The irritation with illogic and later the cozy happiness in relenting ....

Samudraa said...

And yeah,they have copied the title from my blog...:)

musafir said...

@ anon: Trust you to kill the lyrics :)...Thanks for the welcome, and nice to see you losing the typos :P

@ dr.alamandrax: Ah, nothing cheers me up like a first-time visitor!! Appreciate the comment, but is it for the song or for the post? ;)...Thanks anyway!! And if you come by again, is it ok if I call you 'doc'? :)

@ consumer demon: More of my poetry?! I seem to ahve lost it these days...still waiting for the Muse to drop by!

@ ravi: Wow, and I thought people had given up on me :D...yes, agree with you, I know when I'm lucky - glad you liked the post. And yes, liked the song too - good pick! ;)

@ samudraa: Some people are jobless...yeah, agree with the feedback. I'm rusty after the enforced lay-off, will take some time before I'm in full form...and by the way, both of us know where you flicked your blog title from :P

musafir said...

@ consumer demon: *have - argh...gah!

Samudraa said...

I used to be "his" friend in my previous janma and i'd suggested this title to him way back...

So its still mine.....he flicked it from me.:)

Brood Mode said...

this is one LATE comment.
I forgot to visit ur blog to chk if u were back. Maybe i just gave up, saw ur comment on Consumerdemon's and realized u must be back and blogging.

hmmm... the thing abt mom and God and temples is so true. I don't remember the last time i went to a temple out of true faith....

and of course that song grows on u...