Thursday, November 25, 2010
Chapter One: A wooden swing for Sri Bala Peetam.
A WOODEN SWING FOR SRI BALA PEETAM.
I reached Chennai on September 19th, and proceeded directly to Sri Bala Peetam. I felt incredibly happy to get this divine child’s blessings after nearly 7 months. At the Peetam, I purchased the latest CD of “Guruve Charanam”, released for the month of September, 2010.
The following night something strange happened. I couldn’t go to sleep and decided to listen to Baba.G’s CD. Although it was a Monday and Bala devotees are expected to listen to audio lecture by Baba.G only every Friday , I decided to break the rule just once! In this week’s talk, Baba.G was discussing the background episodes associated with every song he composed. This struck a chord in my mind since each one of my paintings too has been inspired by various events!
That day’s topic focused on the “Oonjal” (Swing) song rendered by Sri Madhu and one of my firm favorites! Baba.G spoke about a swing in his ancestral home and the fond memories he had of playing on it as a child. He went on to discuss how he had mentally pictured Sri Bala rocking gently to and fro on a swing while composing the “Oonjal” song. Indeed, the tempo of the song is designed to resemble the slow motion of a swing! I listened to this song, eyes closed imagining little Bala , smiling happily, seated on a decorated swing. Baba.G ended his speech remarking that there is no swing in Nemili but perhaps soon, they would acquire one!
All of a sudden and without warning, a strong wave of emotion hit me and I was totally taken aback. I felt like a spectator witnessing an abnormal event!
All I remember was the certain feeling: that Sri Bala requires a grand swing for her house in Nemili and is asking me for it! I cried for a long time that night, out of sheer happiness.
Early the following morning I called Baba.G. Yet, when he answered the phone, I found myself choking with tears. In fact Baba.G asked me “ Amma, what is wrong? Has something upset you?”
It took a few minutes for me to compose myself and inform him that on the contrary, I was crying in happiness because Sri Bala had given her consent for me to bring in a swing for her Peetam.
Baba.g’s reply was even more amazing. He said “ When I recorded that CD, a few weeks ago, Bala told me straightaway that you were the designated person who would get it for the Peetam”.
Thus started my astonishing sojourn in Chennai in September, 2010.
I searched various shops in Chennai to get the “right” swing for Sri Bala. I was looking for a long wooden plank that could be hung from the ceiling supported by ornamental, brass chains. However, I couldn’t spot something satisfactory and placing an order meant having to wait at least for 4 to 5 weeks.
At the end of two days of futile search, I stepped inside what I thought to myself was the final shop. “If nothing is available here, then I shall just place an order and wait for it”, I thought to myself.
I asked the shop assistant to show me some models of swings that could be suspended from the ceiling. However, the rather bored and unhelpful sales girl replied that there were none in stock and instead brought out a fat order-catalogue. I sighed wearily and flipped the pages of the book.
After a few minutes, finding none that I liked, I mentally beseeched Bala , asking her why she was playing games with me. Then, I turned around to exit the shop.
And there it was !!!!
Right in front of me stood a magnificent, ornate wooden swing with its own integral stand. There were two dancing peacocks on the back rest of the seat and joyous elephants raising their trunks in blessing in all four corners of the supporting poles!
I could not conceal my excitement. I asked the sales girl why she hadn’t shown me this model before. Her reply “ I thought you were only interested in simple, wooden planks and not in such an ornate swing that comes with a stand.”
Just as I stood hesitating, the faint strains of a familiar song came wafting through the stereo system in the shop. It was “ Chinnan chiru Kiliye”, one of Sri Bala’s favourite songs !!
My mind was made up and the swing was quickly purchased. The day was September 22nd!
I requested the shop to deliver the swing to Nemili on Friday, September, 24th, 2010. There was a special reason for choosing Friday. On the day Baba.G’s speech might be heard by Bala devotees, the swing he had reminisced about would have already reached Bala Peetam!
Thus, without any fanfare, on a very quiet Friday evening, I walked into Sri Bala Peetam carrying a very precious gift. Sri Ezhilmani Mama placed Kumkumam on the wooden back rest of the swing and a small photo of Sri Bala was placed on the seat. Listening to the melodious “Oonjal” song, I sat for a long time in front of little Bala as she rocked to and fro, on this magnificent wooden swing decorated with peacocks and elephants that seemed even more happy now that Bala was seated in their midst!!