A journey to the land of rice fields

It was early morning. Night had taken its time and cooled the huge rock that overlooked the city. It would take just two hours for the sun to undo the night’s entire 8 hours effort. But luckily we were up and could enjoy these 2 hours of pleasant weather. I was not sure how many of my friends would have agreed with me though. Many of them would have placed a higher premium on 2 hours of extra sleep on Sunday morning.

I sat at the window seat on the bus to Vayalur. My mom sat next to me. We had recently moved to Trichy and this was my first visit to this temple. My mother was visiting this temple after 15 years and she was very excited.
As you know God Muruga is my favorite God. And Vayalur has always been my favorite temple. I used to come here often during my school and college days. The memories of my last visit to this temple are still fresh in front of my eyes as if it happened yesterday. I had come with my entire college batch after the completion of our MA final exams. We were a group of 15 girls in the economics department. One of them was a Christian but she had also come along anyways keeping with the group spirit. We had come to pray that all of us pass the exam and complete our MA successfully. We all were a close knit group and there was no cut throat competition those days. Today there are so much more job opportunities than my time. Yet instead of becoming cooperative the environment in education institutions has become all the more competitive.

I nodded in agreement. By now the bus was moving at full speed. At this time there were not too many passengers and the ambiance inside the bus was rather pleasant. We could not talk any more as the bus driver had started playing music. The song that was playing was Kanda Shasti Kavasam, a devotional song extolling the divine qualities of God Muruga. The song brought back some pleasant memories. This was one of my mother’s favorite songs. I remembered sitting with her in the pooja room at 6.00 every evening during my summer vacation and reciting after her. It was a really lengthy hymn that took around half an hour to recite fully. Initially I would get bored and impatient. But eventually my mother’s persistence had paid off and I had come to enjoy this activity. Unconsciously I was now reciting within my mind after the singer on the bus stereo phone.

While my mind was held captive by the song, my eyes latched on to the wonderful scenery outside. Wherever one looked, only one color caught your eye - green. There were rice fields, coconut groves, a few mango trees and a few settlements scattered here and there, mostly belonging to the farmers. The air was fresh and it felt really good. I turned and looked at my mother. She also had a kind of distant entranced kind of look. Clearly the environment had been working its magic on her as well. I soon returned back to my own reverie. I didn't know how much time passed when suddenly the bus conductor decided to dispel the spell. We had arrived at our destination. The bus stopped with a jerk, the song stopped playing and the conductor was shouting in his hoarse voice for everyone to get down.

The place Vayalur also was extremely scenic surrounded by fields on all 4 directions. I wondered if the name of the place itself came from this fact. In Tamil, ‘Vayal’ means field and ‘Ur’ means town or village. This Muruga temple in the midst of all these beauties of nature reminded me of a story my grandfather used to tell me of how God Muruga had wooed his consort Valli. I would have imagined a similar place as the setting for that story. Valli had been a tribal girl and God Muruga had appeared before her in the middle of the fields as an old man. He had proposed to her in this guise and she had spurned his advances. Then the God Ganesha, the brother of Muruga had appeared before them in the form of an elephant to frighten her. In her fear, she had agreed to marry the old man in return for protecting her from the elephant. Of course this is basically a summary version of the story. It was much more interesting the way my grandfather narrated it. However my mother always insisted that her grandfather could narrate it even better. Her grandfather had been part of the village theatrical group and so he could narrate the story in a dramatic way accompanied by dance and songs.

The temple was quite small compared to some of the other temples in and around Trichy. There was a temple pond opposite to the temple. One could see a shoal of fish swimming around lazily in the pond. There was not too much rush at the temple. So it did not take much time for us to reach the main shrine. The shrine had a really divine aura. Since there was no crowd, we could stand there and partake of the divine beauty of the idol for how much ever long we wished. After standing there for some time, we took some holy water, walked three rounds around the temple, sat at the courtyard for a while and were soon ready to leave. As we were leaving, much to our delight, a peacock flew down and alighted in front of us. It was the first time I was seeing a peacock outside a zoo and I was very excited to see thus beautiful creature. It looked breathtaking in its entire colorful splendor. Seeing a peacock at a Muruga temple is also considered a good sign as the peacock is the God’s steed.


We were soon on our way back. This time the bus was more crowded. Now they were playing the latest Tamil movie songs. Only dawn was the time for devotion. Rest of the day was for enjoying the worldly pleasures. But these small distractions did not affect my serene state of mind till we reached home.

Within an hour of reaching home, mother had idlis ready for breakfast. They were some of the best idlis I have had ever had. The batter had been hand grinded by my mother. Always idlis that are made from hand grinded batter taste better than those made from batter made on electrical grinders or mixers. Moreover, these idlis had that ingredient X that hotel idlis can never have – mother’s love. That gave the idlis a really heavenly taste.

Overall it had been one of the most satisfying days of my life that I remember even 15 years later. Looking back at each event of the day separately, they look petty and mundane. But taken together like the different threads woven to form a tapestry, one can see the contours of something really charming. Add to it the past memories and associations with each of the little events, the whole thing seems nothing short of pure magic. That’s what I call a real experience.



All pictures are taken from google images. They are all generic photos without clear ownership. If anyone claims these photos, I would be willing to take them down and pick up alternate ones from millions of similar ones available on the net.

29 comments:

Dee........ said...

wow post sir !
Vayalur is certainly a beautiful green place :)
pleasant sight for eyes.
You made it beautiful by adding images to the story :)

The Fool said...

Thanks Deepak. Guess you must have been to Vayalur when at college. My last expedia post at least 2 people commented about lack of pictures. So thought I will go for it this time.

debajyoti said...

that's a lovely post and good to see few pics this time :).

ps - i love idlis, unfortunately we dont get it here

The Fool said...

Thanks, debajyothi.Yeah - Idlis even if available does not taste the same outside south India. You need to come down here for idlis.

Seema said...

Wow...nice post and temple looks very beautiful...and those idlis....YUMMY

Sujatha Sathya said...

never heard of vayalur so it was nice to read all this interesting things about the place

The Fool said...

Thanks, Seema. I took your advice and put lot of pictures this time.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Sujatha.

KayEm said...

It's as if we came to Vayalur with you. Lovely greenery. Bus, one or two of those idlis and it would've been perfect. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Lovely remembrence of place/scenery/incident/journey/
food and mother.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot,KayEM and Whover you are, anon.

Canary said...

Beautiful experiences! 100% real and lovely!
Pls do read my childhood experience with nature and share your thoughts :)

Stan Szczesny said...

Fool, this post is a beautiful, enjoyable, and interesting slice-of-life. It makes me want to visit India some day.

The Fool said...

Thanks Canary. I will read your post at leisure.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Stan. You must definitely plan to visit India.

Nandana said...

Beautifully written. Vayalur seems like a such a great place. Should go there sometime!!

The Fool said...

Thanks, Nandana. Vayalur is definitely a place worth visiting.

Someone is Special said...

கந்த சஷ்டி கவசம், நான் என்னை மறந்து கேட்கும் ஒரு அற்புதம்!
வயலூர் மிக அழகான ஒரு இடம்!
முருகன் கோயில் சொல்லவே வேண்டாம், அது சொர்கத்தின் வாசல்... அழகான பதிப்பு! நன்றி நட்பு!

DS said...

Wonderful memories of childhood days! The days spent in the lap of nature are always remembered by us!
And those idlis, I am feeling hungry for my moms idlis!
Best Luck TF:)
Do check out mine Kissan contest post, I finally submitted one!

Obsessivemom said...

I started reading your post thinking "I'm one of those who'd take those two extra hours of sleep" and ended thinking "Maybe I shouldn't". :-)
Seems like a beautiful place. And peacocks are really breathtaking.. specially when they spread their wings to dance. Great post. Best of luck for the contest.

The Fool said...

Thanks, SIS. Glad to see you share my fascination for God Muruga temples and liked my post. Can't reply to you in Tamil though as my literacy level in written Tamil is very low.

The Fool said...

Thanks, DS. Will check out yours soon.

The Fool said...

Thanks Obsessivemom. I can assure you. Early morning trips are definitely worth it.

Ruchita said...

Very well written post and awesome display of emotions

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Ruchi.

Shashiprakash Saini said...

lovely post
it sounded like a poem to me
loved it

The Fool said...

Thanks, Shashi. I loved writing it. I wrote it from my heart and my heart broke when I did not get a prize in that contest.

Pankti Mehta said...

Yes, memories are to be taken out now and again, and cherished. :D

The Fool said...

Yeah - I am thinking of even starting a seperate blog for memories.

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