Agastya and Varsha looked at the sky. The sun is sinking behind the eastern ghats. The horizon is lit up. The vermilion shade is gradually turning grey. The sweet singing birds are trilling melodies sitting on the branch of the guava tree. After a while the external noises stopped. Outside is enveloped by tranquility and the inside by peace. "How is the nature?" Bharatavarsha asked Agastya. Great !!! He said.
The nature is lovely and cute
It's time the heart became nightingale
and sings merrily at the nature mute
and quietly flies to the far off dale
"Wow!Wonderful!!" clapping was heard. Lakuma applauding while entering. She was accompanied by Manjusha. I am sorry for being late. I couldn't come in time. Lakuma stammered apologies. " You don't want to see the program! You did not come! There is nothing to worry about" said Manjusha. You don't like Language discourses and history discussion I know it very well. Leave it! you have come to see us that is great!
who said history is boring. It is absorbing. we forgot ourselves. I want to learn more history said Agastya. "If you like to learn history you had better learn your family history. It seems that you have not met your father for years. "said Varsha. "Yes for six years, I haven't met him. I have no family like you." again his voice dulled down. Varsha laughed and said "where has the cheerful mood gone? How unfortunate is Basava that he is losing his parents for luxuries and fashions. Love is the greatest luxury only the fortunate can have it. "said Varsha.
Malini just entered the garden, saw Lakuma and said " You came while it is getting dark I am afraid it is not safe. Damini will be waiting for you" "Shall I drop you at your hostel? said Varsha. Oh you too Varsha! You are speaking like Damini. I am going to Hyderabad to see my mom. I will come back after two days. I have come here to ask you for a small favour. I want an Individual house or a flat. I can' t stand Damini. Her moral lecturing is still ringing in my ears. The rules of conduct she bugs in my ears all the time. No freedom loving woman likes her outdated ways. " Lakuma you are all friends since childhood. You trust each other well. Damini is my childhood friend. I trust her. When she tells you anything she keeps your safety and your mother's reputation in mind." Oh! Aunty! you can not understand the modern lifestyle and freedom. After all there is a generation gap between us. said Lakuma.
Let me know what kind of freedom you want. What kind of freedom you are looking for? The freedom you are looking for is imposed on you by cinema. " I am an educated and cultured girl don't forget it! said Lakuma. Education! Culture!! wonderful! but I would appreciate if you know the meanings of those words. Many educated people confuse between culture and civilization. Mobile phones, computers and cars are civilization. we are losing culture for civilization. We are losing knowledge for degrees. we have no culture but civilization. We have no knowledge but degrees. Look Lakuma you don't read any books even your text books. How do you get to know many things? Only through cinema you acquire trends. You have not thoughtfully chosen but you have unconsciously learned it. just give me your walkman tape recorder. asked Varsha. Lakuma gave it. Varsha played the songs by unplugging the earphones. The song were loud. She heard the songs enthusiastically. Agastya explained the meaning of the songs. They were all non sense and negative stuff. Lakuma agreed and said " but the music is wonderful, isn't it?"she said. so you don't ask for the meaning except the music." said Varsha.
Nobody can learn things in one day. Rome was not built in a day. said Malini. We have the Tulasi pooja now" said Manjush. They both went it to take bath" Manjusha returned in wonderful silk saree. She asked her brother to get ready. Experience is the best teacher and Lakuma can learn practically. Today is fullmoon day. It is our custom to do pooja and offer the guests a feast. So don't go away. said Varsha and went in to take bath.
When Varsha came out in traditional clothes Lakuma laughed at him and said " what are you going to do now? " Look Manjusha is decorating the Tulasi plant. She has brought water with a pitcher , turmeric and Kunkum in two small silverpots. She is placing lamps around the plant. we are going to do pooja." said Varsha. "you too follow these customs? worshiping the Tulasi plant and doing Vratham are superstitions. said Lakuma. Many people proclaim that our traditions are great. Some people propagate our culture. What is the point in propagating our culture without following? said Agastya.
Malini was watching standing at a distance. Manjusha competed the decoration is of Tulasi. Varsha went near and stood by her side. She started singing the traditional song " Sri Tulasi.. give us victory..." After the musical presentation prayer she walked round the plant three times. Later Lakuma, Agastya, Varsha, Manjusha and Malini went in. Lakuma said to Manjusha " The song was melodious and the lyric was wonderful. How do you know such songs? " Every pooja has scientific significance. It is related to the movement of planets which are connected to our everyday life. Life is worth living when it is connected with the universe. Isn't it? said Malini. Lakuma has no words. She was spell bound. I am really sorry. I feel good to know that I am connected to universe." said Lakuma. Varsha and Agastya smiled. I was told that things such as pooja vratam are all superstitions besides Sandhyavandanam is a superstition of Hindu brahmins. " said Lakuma. Who said that? asked Agastya. I found it in the google. said Lakuma.
You find lot of shit in the google. Everything we read in the newspaper not news. Everything we read in google is not correct. An ignorant man may write something or it may be the handy work of malicious man. said Agastya.
Sandhyavandanam is nothing but connecting yourself to the Sun God. It gives energy to the Sun and passes that energy to the entire universe. I can not read all these things but I feel good to listen to such things. said Lakuma. "Book reading for today's youth is like a cold day in the hell. I am not an exemption. I don't know the Telugu months. I don't know all the directions. I know only the east and the west. I don't know the seasons. You can follow the calendar from today. said Manjusha. Malini asked everyone for the food. The food was served on hot banana leaves. After the supper they stepped into Varsha's study. Malini was still in the kitchen. Lakuma looked at the books and said "This library doubles the grandeur of this house. I too want to have such library at home. Agastya laughed and laughed" You want to display that you too have a library. What will you do with the library?" He asked Lakuma. She was silent. Her face turned red. She was absorbed into the picture of a tree on the wall. "What is this?" Agastya asked. It is my family tree. I am collecting information about my forefathers and adding here. "Should you need to do it?" asked Agastya.
Tell me Agastya how much do you know about your grandfather? Very little. My father told me that he is a great man. said Agastya. "What is that greatness? Don't you want to know?" asked Varsha. "Yes. By all means" replied Agastya. Lakuma quickly asked " Should you need to know?" Agastya understood that it is tit for tat. she asked the same question which he had asked Varsha. He answered Lakuma with a smile. Later he turned to the wall and found the words "1940, second world war." Oh! your forefathers were soldiers, right? Agastya remembered them. Yes , they participated in the second world war, said Manjusha.
Lakuma and Agastya grew curious "Tell me about the WW2." They asked.
Two lakh fifty thousand Indian soldiers participated in the war as India made a pact with the British. The British promised Freedom if India fights for the British. Thousands of Indian soldiers were martyred. My great grand father died in the same war. In those days the soldiers used to sit in the trenches for days. If anyone asks for leave due to ill health , they used to shoot him. So the soldiers would shoot themselves in the mouth to meet their end. Agastya was shell shocked and kept staring at Varsha. He continued " It was believed that my great grandfather died in the war in Dunkkrik a French port town. " In French town? why did Indian soldiers go there? asked Lakuma. Indian soldiers went to Italy, France, England everywhere. The Germans occupied the French town. The British went there to fight and send them back. Adolf Hitler planned Bitzkrieg( flash war) a strategy of sudden foray on the enemy, in which 68,000 British and Indian soldiers died. My grandfather must have died there. My father also died in the same fashion in the kargil war."Said Varsha.
Don't you know exactly that he died there?
How is that possible? It is not possible to send the dead bodies of soldiers. sometimes they don't find the bodies. sometimes the bodies are shattered in the battle field. So it is only hear say. It is like going to Varanasi in the olden days where there was no transport. The travelers used to walk through dense forests. If they don't return after six months , they are believed to be dead. The England port is in some distance from Dunkrik. I those days there were rumours that four Indian soldiers escaped to English port by swimming. But only expert divers can escape. My grandfather was an expert diver." Varsha stopped and looked at them. They were listening with bated breath. He continued Here is the over all picture of the war. Sarojini naidu wrote an emotionally charged response for the martyrdom of Indian soldiers in foreign lands in her poem "The Gift of India."Is there ought you need that my hands withhold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo! I have flung to the East and West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands,
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands,
They are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France.
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Or the pride that thrills thro’ my heart’s despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of Victory?
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love shall offer memorial thanks
To the comrades who fought in your dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the deathless ones,
Remember the blood of thy martyred sons!