Srimate ramanujaya nama:
Priya arangan adiyar,
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I looked above. The temple-town had almost slept now. Men and women had withdrawn into their houses, some happy with the day and others expecting the next dawn to bless them with happiness. I had heard my grandmother tell me that all the deities of other divya desams completed their tight-scheduled routine and retired to Srirangam temple each day for sleep. The sky above was clear with not many clouds to wrinkle its countenance. A few stars were visible and they looked like glimmering dots of light. In a few seconds, more stars started appearing at the same spot. In a few minutes, a community of stars started showing themselves up. Slowly, the dim perception of the stars took a definite shape and colour.
As I was examining the appearance of each star, I suddenly felt a soft palm tightly encircle my finger and grip it. It was kutti payyan’s. His grasp was firm yet soft. This was the first time he touched me. And this touch gave shape to all the unaccounted and maze of tangled feelings I had built up in the day. The mist in my mind seemed to rise. The dim became definite. The vague became certain, just like the stars above. I wept and wept. Tears rolled sideways wetting the sideburns and quickly proceeded to the ears instead of the usual straight route towards the cheeks. I concluded that my horizontal position prompted its diversion.
What had begun in the wee hours of the morning as a simple accident and a curious meeting with the child had now grown into a strong bond. I wanted to be his father. Not the biological father. Nor an adopting father. Should he be so to claim my love? Yes, he was a stranger to me. But who is not a stranger? I was married 10 years now. Before marriage, my wife was a complete stranger to me. Yet I “decided” to accept her as mine. We became one entity with two different names. Her father, mother and all her relatives were just like any other third persons before 10 years. Yet today, they are like my own blood. I “accepted” them. What about my parents and grandparents and the entire ancestry? Each married a stranger and begot children. My entire earnings are spent on this lineage of strangers. My time is submitted to their welfare. Their pleasure penetrates me .Their sorrow sobs into me. In that logic, my own son is half a stranger to me. The same is true from my wife’s perspective too. When I could accept the entire responsibility of a half-stranger, why could I not accept half the responsibility of a complete stranger? Why not?
I determined to support Kutti Payyan financially in spite of any hindrance that may come my way. In addition, I wanted to share with him all the good things I share with my son. I couldn’t afford to be with him all days. I would come once a month or more frequently. I would show love and affection on all the children of the Gurukulam but accept responsibility for kuttipayyan; till he completes education and even after that.
I wanted to stay in the background and do everything for him. The volunteers were there to take care of him; they have always been will ever be. It was the financial support that would relieve half their trouble. Yes, I knew other children needed the exact support as this boy. But my pocket could not afford more than one’s upkeep. Some other person would definitely share the father-son relationship with some other child of the gurukulam. They needn’t go through a similar experience for wisdom to dawn on them. I was, after all, a new entrant to the spiritual realm. Others already in sampradayam would be more aware and conscious of the needs of the children and would definitely support them.