In PingaLa varusham, many things happened in succession--all heart-wrenching.
I got a letter from home announcing the arrival of my baby brother. My father needed help and he had asked me to come to Puduvai. I stopped with my uncle in Banaglore on my way. Unfortunately, my child got sick and died there.
I went to Puduvai, my heart heavy with my loss. Another sad news awaited me there. My friend Meena had lost her baby too and was terribly sick. She was longing to see me. Chellamma took me to her house. Meena looked pathetic. When she saw me, like a possessed woman, she cried out: Yadugiri! Bring back my child!
After calming down a bit, she poured out her aching heart to me, about the loss of her child and of her ill health. I contained myself and consoled her. "Meena, don't you remember what Bharathi has said? Fear is like poison, to be brave is amruta. Don't lose heart, Meena!", I begged of her. She could not be pacified. She started screaming, "Baby, my baby!" Then she fainted. They said she fainted often. It was painful to see her like that.
I was reluctant to leave her side. I had turned my heart into stone when I was with her, but when I left her, all my grief which I had kept in check, flooded out of me. Leaving Meena behind in the shadow of death broke my heart. Chellamma and I cried copiously.
When he saw me, Bharathi had tears in his eyes too. He had started a fifteen day vow of silence that day. After some time, he signaled to us to come upstairs. He wrote on a piece of paper: It's our misfortune to see you without your child!
I looked up at him. He was a mere skeleton. His eyes were red and he looked very weak and drained. I couldn't bear to see him like that.
As if he had read my thoughts, Bharathi wrote down: I'm practicing a new kind of yoga. That's why I've lost weight.
He had just finished writing the tugiluriyum sargam of PanJAli Sabadam (the part where Draupadi is disrobed by the kauravAs). He sang the verses to me (he did not give up singing when he observed silence).
Then, Chellamma said with a heavy heart: Yaduguri, we have seen enough of the quirks of fate. If the gods deal out misfortunes to us, should we on our part add to the misery by our own actions?
Bharathi sang, 'eLLattanaip pozhudum payaninRi irAden nAvinilE' (without my being idle even for a moment, Sakti, let my tongue pour out poetry incessantly), and now to see him gesturing like a mute person breaks my heart! I don't wish this terrible thing even to my enemies.The Way, he calls it--and the tragedy of it! I can't bear to see him like this!
Bharathi wrote again: In my search for the magic word, I stay silent and Chellamma teases me for that!
I sat there for a while, saying nothing. Chellamma made me eat with her (had Bharathi eaten before, or was he fasting?--Arasi).
We went back upstairs and I asked: Will Meena survive, Chellamma?
Chellamma: I'm afraid not. Not for long.
Yadugiri: BharathiyAr told me once that he was going to find a way to immortality. AiyyA stopped him before he could tell me more about it. When my child died in Bangalore, I was thinking about what he had said. Death is such a horrible thing. If only he could save Meena from death!
Bharathi started writing something down. Reading it, Chellamma got up, caught hold of my hand and took me downstairs. "Yadugiri, it's not wise to speak of it to him now. It's getting late. You better go home!"
As I left them, I thought, Bharathi sang of freedom for women with all his heart but he made Chellamma do things his way. Rarely had she acted on her own accord. However much she had begged of him, he observed his vow of silence for days.
He once was silent for forty days in a row. That was when he started writing bhArathi aRubattARu.
When you read it now, you realize that it is a work born out of great penance.
After a few days, SivakAmi ammal and Subramania SivA came to Puduvai, bearing BhArata mAtA's flag. Since they went straight to Bharathi's house, he had to break his silence. They went with him to rishi Aravindar's house, to Iyer's and to other places and came to our house. We did not meet them because they were hurrying back. My father said that they stopped by and had spent a few minutes with him by the door.
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Last edited by arasi
on 23 Aug 2011, 08:04, edited 1 time in total.