The procession was magnificent.
Preceded by men attired in brightly coloured vastrams, the palanquin appeared. Kodhai was more fascinated with the way the whole unit moved, and how the crown – the idol of her Lord – moved with it.
At first, the men strode with a fluid motion; and He rose above them, crossing the temple’s doors with a powerful gait that looked like the mighty lion leaping out of its cave with a sense of purpose.
Then the men slowed down, stalking with two steps forward and one sideways, balancing the entire act with the perfect synchronisation and not straying from the imaginary lines they seemed to remember. The fluidity of a tiger’s motion; its watchfulness. The devout men of the village stood around, watching, praying; joining the chorus.
And then the palanquin staggered, fluidity leaving way to tenacity, as more able-bodied people joined in carrying the long wooden poles. The entirety seemed to lean forward, advancing in a confident trot as the women-folk stood, their hands clasped together in devotion. The strong oxen’s lurch that held steadily, despite threatening to pause every now and then.
The children stood at the tail end – having joined only as the procession began at the temple doors. They were at the street’s corners, and when the palanquin came near them, it swayed and moved slowly, presenting a visual treat like the mighty elephant, powerful and friendly; slow and sure.
Kodhai watched with unabashed love, as if it were only the palanquin floating mid-air. The men under it blurred in her vision, which honed itself on the figure sitting inside; the idol that seemed to smile and wink as it crossed her.
Oh, the jive it gave her.
And life was never the same after that moment, Kodhai knew.
A long while after the procession had disappeared around the corner, Kodhai closed her eyes, steadying herself with deep breaths. The nature of her desire had revealed itself with a clarity hitherto unforeseen.
Those around her had dissipated – some followed the Lord, and some went back to the temple. Even amidst the loiterers, Kodhai could only see mundane discussions. None of them even seemed to remotely feel what she was feeling.
The inexplicable yearning to be with the palanquin. Not beside it, or behind it. But in it. On it.
With her Kannan Himself.
மாரி மலைமுழைஞ்சில் மன்னிக் கிடந்துறங்கும்
சீரிய சிங்க மறிவுற்றுத் தீவிழித்து
வேரி மயிர்பொங்க வெப்பாடும் பேர்ந்துதறி
மோரி நிமிர்ந்து முழங்கிப் புறப்பட்டுப்
போதருமா போலேநீ பூவைப்பூ வண்ணாவுன்
கோயில்நின் றிங்ஙனே போந்தருளிக் கோப்புடைய
சீரிய சிங்கா சனத்திருந்து யாம்வந்த
காரிய மாரய்ந் தருளேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.
maari malai muzhainjil mannik kitandhurangum
siiriya singa maRivuTRuth thiivizhiththu
veeri mayirponga veppaadum peerwthuthuthaRi
poodharumaa pooleewii puuvaippuu vaNNaavun
kooyilnin Ringkanee poowtharuLik koopputaiya
siiriya singaa sanaththirundhu yaamvandha
kaariya maaraayndh tharuLeeloo rembaavaay.