When I set out for India, I knew that a bagful of assignments were waiting for me, each with its own time scale. Also I guessed that a host of unscheduled tasks were there to attend to. Of course, all of these were pleasant, interesting and educative.
My initial outing was on 11th December 2011, when I was invited to a function organised by SVV charities of Ramakrishnapuram, East Tambaram. This charity, run by Sri Pandiyan and his friends does yeoman service, social and religious, to the people of that area. This year the charity gave awards , among others, to a couple of educationalists of Tambaram, owner of Krishna sweets of Chennai, the person who was instrumental for 140,000 marriages through KALYANA MALAI program, a person who , with his friends, helps out passengers in Madurai junction.. Since I knew a couple of recipients of the awards and also the organisers.
On 12th December 2011, I found myself in Gnanananda Niketan Tapovanam at Tirukoilur. (We have an association at east Tambaram, KARPAKA VINAYAKAR THIRUNERI MANRAM. We do our mite to promote Saivism, not forgetting, at the same time, our social commitments. We did our best to help out the victims of the tsunami.). The Head of the Tapovanam arranged a GNANA PERU VELVI in the form of Tiruvachakam mutrodhal (complete reading of Thiruvachakam of Manikka vachakar). People from Madurai, Manapparai, Tiruchy, Chennai and other places assembled at the Tapovanam. There would have been some 300 visitors. Very good arrangements were made to look after the participants. The tapovanam is located in sylvan settings. It would have been cooler even in the height of summer. So in December that environment suited me very well.
The stage was tastefully decorated with a visual of Kailash, made using various parts of banana tree. It was so beautiful. The event was presided over by Swami Onkarananda of Theni. The recitation lasted about seven hours.. People who were experienced in such mutrodhals were there to lead. You could sense a clockwork precision. At the end of mutrodhal prasadam was given to every participant. The prasadam consisted of a small bag of vibhoothi ( pokkanam ), a printed shawl bearing the name and date of the event, a rudraksha mala etc. all in a traditional yellow cotton bag.. very generous indeed.