MY STORIES CONTINUE------MY COUSIN ARRIVES TO STAY WITH US
BY SATHEESAN RANGORATH
One fine morning I was awakened by a hum and chanting of Mantras. There was a sort of divinity in the sound, and had a penetrating depth in the diction. It was uttered in a particular style and rhythm. When I got up sun was not up yet. My father and mother had their bath early in the morning my father was wearing fresh new clothes and ashes on his forehead. My mother also was wearing new clothes. When they saw me get up my mother asked me to brush my teeth and take bath immediately. Although, this was unusual, but I thought that something auspicious taking place in my property owner’s place. I did not get my coffee in the morning. Morning coffee was a special one, which I like very much; it was prepared from fresh ground coffee beans added with a little bit of ghee to taste. Instead of sugar, jsggery was used as sweetener. By the time, I took my bath my sister also joined us and we four left to house owner’s residence. I was not happy to go without my break fast. However, I had to, as there was no alternative. MY mother said we have to attend the “POOJA” (Divine Offerings) to lord in empty stomach as per the tradition and customs. We joined the prayers. There was a well-decorated sanctum sanctorum and the main priest and about ten of his assistants were chanting Veda’s.
I don’t know what they were chanting as it was in Sanskrit even if I know the language it was not easy forme to conceive the idea. As a child, I found it was wonderful and curious. My father or mother was not in a mood to explain what it was all about as they were involved in the prayers and offerings .The priests had peculiar attire suitable for the ceremony. They were all wearing Dhotis in a peculiar way and all had their hair grown at the back while shaved clean all over the head leaving a strand of hair at the back oh head( LIKE HARE KRISHNAITES). From the way, they pronounced Sanskrit couplets from the Veda’s it is understood that they must have gone through severe training programme from the child hood itself. I found them very soft spoken and affectionate.
I am trying to look at them from the angle of a child’s memory as the subject of Vedas are very elaborate and it requires a lot of research in order to write about it. Indian Philosophy is based on three types of scriptures. I.e. Vedas, Puranaa, and Epics. Most important of them are Veda’s. There are four Vedas (RIGVEDA, YAJUR VEDA, SMAMVEDA, AND ADHARVA VEDA). It is very difficult to learn all four Vedas in ones lifetime, because of its extensiveness. Therefore, there were specialists in each Veda. as there is no much relevance to go into details of Veda and Indian philosophy in connection with my stories i cut short it here.
During this period, one of my cousins has joined our family from my native place. He was elder to me and a son of my aunty, my mother’s sister. I would like to call him Mani Etta Mani is his pet name called by everybody and “Etta” is used as a respect to address elder brother in Malayalam language (My mother tongue). My grandma sent him to us from our native place .At that time he was studying in eight standard. His father and mother were residing In Malaysia. His father was an estate manager. He was considered very rich and had no time to take care of his children. All his daughters and son. Were studying at the same village called Elappulli, where I was born. Maniettan Was considered a rebel at that time. He was in the bad company of friends, who used to drink and smoke occasionally. Using alcohol and smoking by children were considered very Negative and scoundrel act. My cousin used to eat meat that is of cow and beef. People in the village and relatives at home did not approve his behavior. Therefore, my grandma decided that Maniettan should come with us as my father is considered as a strict disciplinarian, my father rightly agreed to take care of him; accordingly, he reached at our place with his Transfer Certificate from school. One late evening he joined us with big baggage and bedding. He seemed very unhappy and withdrawn. I looked at him with bit shyness. The first question he asked my mother was “why there is no electricity here”. I think fist impression of out home might have made him think that he may not last long here, because he was wearing a critical look and mocking smile. He settled down at the best place we could provide him. After some time he called me near and we became friends. Being vegetarians, we could not provide him meat or fish for his supper, and he Was bit nervous about it. In addition, my father explained that there is no question of non-vegetarian food in our diet and asked him that he has to follow the suit. I feel that made him angry and made grumbling remarks that it was not his intention to join us.
Next day my father was dressed up and ready for his school. My cousin was still in the bed and complained that he wants to take rest as he had traveled a lot of distance from village. My father agreed and asked him to take rest. Next day he got up late but dressed quickly by finishing his cleaning and brushing in five minutes. To my wonder struck eyes, his breakfast was very heavy, eating a mountain of rice in front of him. Also, he carried his lunch a bit more quantity, which my mother had given him in a lunch carrier. A week passed with out many events. I found him playing during study time. He used to cut the edge of his blanket falls (a wick like substance) and burn in the flame of his kerosene study lamp. Smell of the burn spread in the house asphyxiating. My father investigated about the smell and kept silent as he found out what was happening. Anyhow, we have to bear with him for some time. His rendezvous will follow in the next blog