COGNITIVE ANECDOTES

An effort to recapitulate and share my ideas,views and thoughts in words...

It was a heavenly morning in my village; Pulappatta. As I brushed my teeth, I saw the sun rays scatter, hitting the methodically arranged rubber trees; perfectly demonstrating the Tyndall effect. I always feel myself more content in my village; free from the irritatingly boisterous city life and of course, the hectic studies. I crossed into oblivion as I mused in the nature around me. Soon, I saw grandfather gathering flowers for the morning rituals. By the time he finished plucking them, I had managed to finish bathing in the pond. Days without my mom, dad and sis have always been monotonous but nevertheless being alone with grandparents always helped me to reflect upon myself.

As I sat occupied with thoughts in the verandah, my eyes set at the gate, I saw a conspicuous red figure emerging through the lush green surroundings. I wondered if it was an oracle, but there was no jingling of bells. As the figure approached our house, his looks made me realize it was a mendicant. He didn’t seem to take notice of me as he ignored our front door and walked towards our accessory door. I moved hastily towards the mendicant, he looked straight into my eyes and exclaimed “Ah, you must be Vaisakh, son of Sasi!” I was shocked; I asked in disbelief “How do you know me?” He didn’t reply, but continued staring at me in amazement and finally offered a wide grin. He quietly settled himself in the door step. I could see him reciting holy verses under his breath. Owing to his untidy beard and mustache, the contours of his face was extremely tough to make out. I tried to recollect this person, but in vain.  Finally he asked me to fetch grandfather. I ran to the pooja room, grandfather had not finished praying.
“Some beggar is at our doors, he called out my name!”  I said frantically

It must be Appu” Grandfather replied. 

Even though I’m seeing him for the first time, I had heard about Appu, the mendicant. He had been associated with our family for generations but it has been years since he had last visited us, probably the reason why I don’t recall him. I remembered granny saying that this mendicant was particularly fond of my dad.  But I still couldn’t fathom how he recognized me, ‘may be because I resembled my father in looks’ I reflected. We soon approached the mendicant; with much effort, he stood up as a token of respect and greeted my grandfather. It’s now that I realized he was terribly old.

I’m not the same any more, I just turned 80!”
The mendicant spoke with a slight humor, embarrassed with his paroxysmal efforts to rise up. I felt sorry for him. He pulled me closer, made me sit beside him and asked me when we returned from Varanasi and as I expected, enquired about the well being of my dad. Like a baby, I replied politely to his questions. His body had a mystic odor. Though he looked as if he hadn’t bathed for months, his body smelled fresh herbs, a smell so captivating that no other deodorant could match. I enjoyed his company. As we talked; he explained to me how much he longed to go on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Varanasi, which is considered to be the final destination of most yogis and mendicants. I wondered how blessed I was to spend 3 years at this city.

My grandmother soon came with a banana leaf and started serving the specially made items for the mendicant. As he ate, he shared a lot of experiences, from the various temples he had been lucky enough to visit to his own family matters. The innocence with which he spoke, the compassion and benevolence in his eyes made me wonder how men like him with divine virtues could thrive in this devilish world.

The mendicants are devotees of Lord Subramanian. On the 1st Monday of a new Malayalam month, they beg, moving from house to house collecting food grains, money and even clothes. Families having a good liaison with the mendicants, like ours would offer free meals to him. A custom known as “aandi-oottu” involves presenting the mendicants of this clan with food and valuables, prior to their pilgrimage.

I had wished to come to Varanasi when your family was there, now since you have come back, my chances of making it is very feeble” he said, I could feel a regret in his tone, which made my heart weep. Again, wrestling with his own body, he got up, placed his hand on my head and blessed me. Then he gave a handful of the holy “bhasma” to each of us and finally completed the thankful gesture by blowing the white magnificent conch.

I desperately wanted to spend more time talking to this genuine and lovable old man. But then, it was a long walk back for him and I didn’t expect him to have the luxury of being driven in a vehicle. He wished me good luck and again pressed me to convey his regards to my dad, I promised him I would and sincerely wished in my mind he would make it to Varanasi. The ailing mendicant now walked back to the lush green from where he emerged, dragging him along the way.


Today, the mendicant is just a memory, his dream of making it to the holy city, unfulfilled …



10 comments:

Good post Vaisakh, I hope the desire gets fulfilled somehow, anyhow, and I know it will..... God fulfills it!

And your description about the village is just awesome, I found my self wishing to visit it one day .. :)

Cheers,

Yeah Tanvi, my village is a beautiful place, with rubber plantations and nature overflowing from every nook and corner.
thanks a lot for reading my post and you are very welcome in my village
:)

Liked

Thanks, Mr Thomas, for reading my post,
I checked out your cartoons,they are excellent.

Regards.

Some relationships matter more than blood relationships.Our family's relationship with that of "Appu Pandaram" was one like that. Especially to me.He was a regular visitor on all my birthdays.I remember when on one birthday he could not come, all our family members were raising their worries aloud through out the day.The sweet odor of "Bhasma" which he carried with him still permeates my mind.Thanks for remembering him which I too had been thinking of.

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