The beauty of any festival is in the way it is celebrated. Every culture had its own set of rules and regulations, and every day its own glory.
But Kodhai loved one thing the most. It was not Pongal, the festival of harvests, nor Deepavali, the festival of light, but those that happened during the month of Aadi, the ones that came around her ‘birthday’.
The day she had been found under the thulasi maadam in the garden.
Every life form on Earth had a purpose, and it was decided prior to birth; at least that was what Vishnu Cittar had repeatedly insisted. He also referred to the day he had found her with awe.
‘… The day I found you, Kodhai, it was a fine summer’s morning, the sky as blue as His benevolence. Under the thulasi maadam, there was a light so bright that it initially blinded me, also drawing me closer mystically. And in the finest velvet I found you, my gift from Bhooma Devi – the Mother Earth herself!’
Kodhai smiled at the way his voice rang with reverence. A song from another lifetime seemed to echo in her ears.
Every time he prayed around the same thulasi maadam, Vishnu Cittar repeated the story of her arrival as his gift. She felt celebrated.
That day, his prayers were done on time, and they were discussing philosophy again. He was reading from the scriptures and she was listening.
“And so the Lord Sriman Narayanan claims us all, waiting slowly until we realise our purpose in this life. But sadly, that happens only when it has run its dues – the samsara saagaram pulls everyone in, even the toughest ascetics.”
With his charming smile, Vishnu Cittar nodded to himself, his eyes far away.
“It is His grace that makes the world run, and it is His hand that will take us in once we let our banal life run its course, seeking Him out.”
Kodhai smiled benignly, watching the pure joy that lit up the man’s face. As was customary, she fell at his feet after the discourse was over, and surprising her, he lifted her with his gentle arms and blessed her more emotionally than usual.
“May you live long, my child! And may you understand that seeking Him is the sole purpose of our lives. Everything else should be a step in that direction. He shall play games with you; tease you until you cry for His mercy; test your endurance and certainty in the Path. But be firm, my dear. Be firm with what you want, and seek it against all odds! And He will help you with the tools you need”
Kodhai’s mind whirled. What was with the words he was choosing? Did he know something about what she was desiring? He was more perceptive than ever that day, having noted her unnatural fidgeting. What had he picked up?
“It is your blessings I seek for this Swami!” Kodhai smiled, blushing mildly.
“And you shall always have that, Kodhai!”
Almost as if she had had an afterthought, Kodhai laughed.
“What amuses you?” Vishnu Cittar asked.
“I am glad to have your blessings, Swami. But I could not help wonder… Who blesses the Lord? If He blesses all of us, who does that for Him? And that thought amused me.”
Vishnu Cittar joined in her laughter, shaking his head. “You and your weird questions! Who shall bless Him? He who is beyond our comprehension! Wish from him, yes. But His blessings are something we seek, not give to Him.”
‘Maybe you will, father… Is it not true that a father-in-law would bless his son-in-law the very best of everything?’ Kodhai thought, smiling and walking inside the house.
மாலே மணிவண்ணா மார்கழிநீ ராடுவான்
மேலையார் செவனகள் வேண்டுவன கேட்டியேல்
ஞாலத்தை யெல்லாம் நடுங்க முரல்வன
பாலன்ன வண்ணத்துன் பாஞ்ச சன்னியமே
போல்வன சங்கங்கள் போய்ப்பா டுடையனவே
சாலப் பெரும்பறையே பல்லாண் டிசைப்பாரே
கோல விளக்கே கொடியே விதானமே
ஆலி நிலையா யருளேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.
maalee maNivaNNaa maarkazhinii raatuvaan
melayaar sevanakaL veeNtuvana keettiyeel
nyaalaththai yellam natungka muralvana
palanna vaNNaththun paanjcha channiyamee
poolvana sangkakngal pooippaa tutaiyanavee
saalap perumpaRaiyee pallaaN tisaippaaree
koola viLakke kotiyee vithaanamee
aali nilaiyaa yaruLeelo rembaavaay.