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Sunday, January 24, 2016

“Half of nine is four!”

It was Thiruvathirai day. Periyava was camping in Thenambakkam, near Kanchipuram. Few patasala students including Sri Ganesan (Now, Sri Ganesan Ganapatigal, Bangalore) came for darshan. Periyava began to say a purana story of Lord Shiva. Sri Ganesan Ganapatigal hardly remembered the story but was able to recollect the ‘roopa’ description given by Periyava.
Thiruvisampettai Venkatrama Iyer came and did namasakaram to Periyava. Periyava was continuing the story. He did a namaskaram again. Periyava was still continuing the story. Mama did a namaskaram again. Periyava stopped and said…
“அவனுக்கு என்ன வேணும் கேளு!” (Ask him what he wants!)
Sri Venkataraman Mama was on some look out but at the same time didn’t want to interrupt Periyava. Now that Periyava paused, he asked for ‘Utharavu’.
Periyava, “ஒ ஹோ இப்பவே போகணுமா?” (“O ho! You want to go now?”)
Mama replied that he has to leave to meet a donor who has assured to give Rs. 20,000/. So he must go.
Periyava thought for a while and said, “அவன் கிட்ட வேணாம்னு சொல்லு!” (“Tell him not to go!”).
Again Sri Venkatarama Mama began to do ‘Namaskaram’! Periyava knew that he is not going to listen. So Periyava asked him a question that made him wonder ‘What!’
Periyava asked him,”ஒன்பதுல பாதி எவ்வளவு?” “What is half of nine?”
Sri Venkatarama Mama wondered ‘What!’ and answered “நாலறை (4 1/2), Periyava!”
Periyava stared at him for a second and said, “நீ அவா கிட்ட எல்லாம் கேளு!” (“You ask them all!”) pointing to the other devotees including Sri Ganesan (Ganapatigal). Most of them said the same.
Periyava asked him to ask everyone else leaving some of the ‘பாட்டிமா’ (Grannies) and some of the Patasala students like Sri Ganesan. Periyava said, “அவாளுக்கு என்ன தெரியும், பாவம்…” (what do they know, poor them!)
Periyava further said, “நான் உன்ன கேட்டேன்னோலியோ, அப்போ நீ என்னையும் கேக்கணும்!”. (I asked you right, so you got to ask me back the question!”).
Mama nodded and said “சொல்லுங்கோ பெரியவா…” (Periyava, please tell)
Periyava said, “ஒன்பதுல பாதி நாலு” … “Half of nine is four!”
Sri Venkatarama Mama thought for a second and said, “இல்ல பெரியவா, நாலரை தான்!”. (“No Periyava, it is 4 1/2 only).
Periyava didn’t reply. Instead asked him, “உனக்கு Roman Letters தெரியுமோ?” (Do you know Roman letter?)
Mama said, “தெரியும் , பெரியவா”. (Yes, Periyava, I know).
Periyava asked mama, “எங்கே போடு!” (Write it then!). The number “nine” was written in Roman letters as “IX” on the floor.Now, Periyava removed the lower half of it leaving behind “IV” and said, “இப்போ பாத்தியா, ஒன்பதுல பாதிய எடுத்துட்டா நாலு!”. (“See, if you talk half of nine, it became four!”). Everyone giggled at this ‘joke’!
Periyava immediately gave him prasad and gave ‘Utharavu’. Sri Venkatarama Mama left immediately but… He rushed back in half-an-hour with huge cry!
Sri Venkatarama Mama thought Periyava was wasting his time playing a prank at him and saying a ‘joke’ while an important fund raising effort was getting delayed. Actually, behind the scenes, this incident turned out to be a different ‘leela’!
When Sri Venkatarama Mama rushed to the bus stand, bus just left. Sri Mama probably felt even more anxious. He awaited and boarded the next bus only to learn that the previous bus (which Periyava made him to miss) actually met with a major accident in Vandavasi! So Sri Venkatarama Mama couldn’t withstand it and rushed back to Periyava…
While asking for “Utharavu”, mama
Thought Periyava is wasting the time…
Thought Periyava is just delaying the ‘Utharavu’…
Thought Periyava is telling some useless joke…
Didn’t Periyava know what mama thought? Periyava definitely knew! Inspite of it, Periyava saved his life… It turned out that Periyava’s prank was actually an effort to save mama’s life.
Mama couldn’t control… Burst out as a loud cry! “Periyava…! Periyava…! Periyava…!
“என்ன இப்படி காப்பாதினேலே” (You saved me)…
“என்ன இப்படி காப்பாதினேலே” (You saved me)…
Nothing more came out… Periyava was just looking at him with that magnetic smile… Periyava was telling Lord Shiva’s Anantha-Thandavam from Puranam.

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