Saturday, October 08, 2005

Uriyadiyo Govindo

Now now Folks this aint some phrase that i picked frm some Japanese manga....its the chant that reverberates throughout my village during the janmashtami celebrations. So y am i writin a post wid such a weird title..well partly cos for me "uriyadi" has been a journey of nostalgia, revelry,devotion and gratitude and partly cos i was down with fever and flu due to my antics there.

It all started when i was planning to take my GRE. Third year in college had no surprises, twas jus the usual, either get a job or write a few competetitive exams and if u get into any of the prestigious seats of higher education u cud consider urself one big lucky bastard. In my case, if there was one thing that i learnt in 20 (goin on 21) years of a pathetic existence was that its always good to have backups, cos for me twas always the backups that clicked(DAIICT was a backup ppl). Luckily after an ordeal( and i know i offend those hu still endure it) i got placed. All was well, my parents had an employed son to boast of and i was able to salvage some of my lost sense of self-esteem. i finally had a backup so twas time to gun for higher education, dint have much of a choice there either, my prospects in CAT seemed dim so the next best thing seemed to be the GRE. So here i was sitting at home during the summer break preparing for an exam that cost 6000 bucks( big deal in some households). During the course of my preparation, seeing my heightened state of anxiety my mom and dad resolved that if all went well i would make the pilgrimage to my native village, Varagur( On the banks of river cauvery, Southern TamilNadu) for the first time in 8 years to attend the festival of "uriyadi". i was a bit apprehensive at first dismissing it off as another of my father's spiritual escapades. I tried making all sorts of excuses to skip the trip (like missing classes, having tests et all) but the folks saw right through it and had the tickets booked. And believe me, if there was one thing that saved my ass on the day of the test it must've been divine intervention...cos i had a sure feelin that i had messed the test until i saw the scores,i would have hollered at the top 'o my voice and done a jig had the security arrangements been not so strict. I was a hit bak at home, with my parents in seventh heaven all seemed to be going smoothly.A week passed by like a dream and then a call arrives from home informing me that i had to have my bags packed and ready,i would be dropped off at the airport from where i had to carry on alone, dad had already left two days bak by train. i dutifully packed my bags, headed out to the airport and boarded the plane without a ruckus much to the relief of my dad who is still of the impression that iam a pre-nursery kid who would get lost or led off by some stranger at the airport. In chennai i lodged at my aunt's(mom's li'l sis) place, i was warmly welcomed and fussed over by evryone in the household. They were struck by my height(well i used to be the shortest kid in class) and argued over whom i resembled the most my mom or dad. After a day i hooked up wid my dad who had just arrived and together we set out to Trichy to meet my maternal granma. At the station we were surprised to see a lot of our acquiantances who also seemed to be heading to Varagur for the festival. i was dejected that my cousins some of whom i hadnt seen for a long long time would not be coming. We reached trichy from where we immediately set out by taxi for varagur. As the car sped through the narrow road flanked on one side by the cauvery and on the other by lush paddy fields i couldnt help think about another uriyadi, being slapped in front of the whole household for refusing to go to the temple to pay my respects, well ofcourse i was just 7 years old..but i still remember my dad's fury. We reached the narrow kuchcha side-road that leads into the village and i almost leapt out of the taxi, there standing in the intersection were all my cousins, they wrest me out of the taxi paying no attention to my dad'protests and together we headed out to the river bank and plunged into the waist deep waters(thanx to the heavy monsoons). after the bath we headed bak to the village exchanging news and teasing each other. once we got back to my paternal home in the village i was greeted by a lot of the familiar faces we saw at the railway station. And then the fuss starts all over again wid ppl telling me again and again that i had changed and that i was an exact copy of my mom/dad. The festival started off at mid morning with great fervor. The deity was taken out on a procession through the streets, and me being the long lost son of the household who had just returned, had to lend a shoulder to lift god's own vehichle("The palanquin"). So here i was in a dhoti and a towel over my shoulders, sleep deprived,being jostled back and forth between people too immersed in devotion to notice. The procession finally wound up with the distribution of the "prasad" which threatened to turn out into a full-scale stampede. My dad was nowhere to be seen, busy catching up with his own child-hood friends. i was soon dragged into lunch (which was an event unto itself) serving meals to close to a 100 ppl. i dunno whether he was thinking "My son is making himself useful" or "My son is 'Finally' making himself useful", but my dad had a big grin on his face when he saw me. After lunch getting some sleep was the wisest choice..but we were in the spring time of our youth too hot headed to be wise, so we headed back to the river and on the way the pump-sets returning only in time for dinner. But then we were pressed back into service at dinner time, having our meals after evrybody had finished. Unmindful of the advice to get some sleep before the main event of the festival scheduled at mid-night(something i will regret for the next 4 days)..we went up to the terrace, chatting, arguing, pulling each others legs much to the chagrin of ppl who did not seem to get enuf of sleep(and here i was wid jus 6 hrs of sleep in 2 days).But exhaustion's gotta set in some-time, when the call to get ready and head to the temple finally came we were all sprawled on the terrace like a bunch of drunks,sleepy or not we had to attend the event. After jus an hr of sleep and starved for more, all i could do was nod my head and go through the proceedings like a zombie. My cousins had already slipped bak to the house and were snoring when i was finally let off.we departed early next morning, half the househld had already left...everyone seemd to be in a hurry to get bak to their mundane will be a year before they see each other. For me the dreamrun had finally come to an end, it was time to get back to college and slog out another semester. i just cudnt get myself to bid farewell to the very ppl whom i thought were boring during my childhood. so wid a heavy heart we setout on a long journey bak home(well i had no reason to complain cos i was taking a flight but for my dad, that's another story). Exhaustion finally got to me at chennai, i was running a high fever, my body completely refusing to move. thankfully i had half a day to rest before my flight, getting into bed and then getting out of it is all i can remember. Dad was apprehensive about me travelling in this state, but nevertheless the journey had to be made, iam only surprised that i made it to home sweet home in one piece......a 4hr flight delay not withstanding. At home mom wanted evry detail of my adventure, she was only too dejected at not being able to attend the festival herself, my sis was throwing me some nasty looks all the while...she was mad abt the fact that i go to enjoy the trip(our cousins never come when she goes for her annual pilgrimage to varagur). well nothing was rosy after that...i was confined to the bed for 2 days and it took me well over a week to rid myself off the fever.

Now that i look bak upon that trip, i realize that i had worked an equivalent of a week in jus 2 days...with minimal or no sleep at all. i had gone out of my way to impress people whom i wudnt even be remembering a month frm now,i had never once complained about being asked to work or not getting enough rest.i had completely thrown myself into the proceeding without actually being aware of it. I realize now that sub-consciously i had experienced a deeply spiritual encounter, something one doesnt get to experience at home.

After hearing all this, my mom had fondly said "You are your Father" a way she had nailed the arguement.


Blogger partisan said...

At last I am contended after a lot of confusion whether u r an Indian or not.This post has tilted my opinion in favour of taking u for an Indian after all ur western mannerisms including the language(I often have to refer dictionary for American English ;] ).A good post that shatters my belief that all pizza savvy,GRE mongering Indians have little Indian outlook.But this post has shown a soft desi corner in you.keep rockinggggg.........

3:54 PM  
Blogger Rahul said...

Good re. Some relief you found in exhaustion. And by the way, the million dollar question - Do you resemble your dad more or your mom ?

9:30 AM  
Blogger Naresh said...

long one, but a great read!
btw, u hv bn taggd n v r waitin...
leave acns 4 sometime n wrt na! ;)

8:03 PM  
Blogger Shankar said...

sriram karthikeyan, I was searching the web for a photo of Varagur perumal and came across your blog. Our Kula deivam is also Varagur. Do you have, by any chance a scanned photo of perumal. If so,please email me at

Thank you

Shankar Vaidyanathan

3:45 AM  
Blogger KANDAN said...

Dear Sri Ram :

My name is VK Swamy (nickname at varagur is Kandan). Can you pls. let me know your dad and mom name so that I can easily recognise yourself. I hail from Varagur. Also communicate your email ID to my email ID


Mobile : 09959939991

4:27 PM  
Blogger karthikeyan varagur said...

good , great to be "varaguran" alwys keep the culture of the village and respect the traditions the basic roots are to
remembered always , iam proud of you my son

7:50 AM  
Blogger Tisham said...


Reading ur post,brought back some nostalgic thoughts....infact it was so nostalgic,that I started smelling "Puliyodarai" tamarind rice!!!!

Goodone dude....if you work on this maybe u could make a good writer....join my club!!!!

3:33 PM  
Blogger gan said...

Hi sriram this is raji athai.hoew r u.always karthi bosted abot day only i happend to see your blog.ok. it is good and typical varhuran.
raji athai

7:34 AM  
Blogger vadi said...

Hi Sriram Karthikeyan,

Just Accidently Reading ur post.
My name is Vadivel T. I hail from Varagur.

Wat a nice One about the festival and nature of home town.

I salute Mr.Sriram Karthikeyan

vadivel T

3:07 PM  
Blogger Venkatesh Krishnamurthy said...

Dear Mr. Sriram Karthikeyan,

This is Venkatesh Krishnamurthy and Son of Late Sri. S. Krishnamoorthy popularly known as (Sony Iyer) and Grand Son of Late Sri. P. Swaminathan Iyer Varagur.

I really appreciate your work and it please keep it-up.

Thanks & Regards,


6:43 PM  
Blogger chandrasekaran said...

Dear Sriram,
It was nice to read ur trip to Varagur. I got one bag presented by your father when I was going to Vaishnadevi Temple. On the one side of the bag it was printed as Uriyadi 2009. When I was enquiring about Uriyadi he was narrating the real story of Varagur Uriyadi. Though he is working thousands of miles away from Varagur his mind and soul is in Varagur. I will join with ur father to visit Varagur to see natural beauty of Varagur.


4:52 PM  

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