Agastya " Yes, I will " Kumkum took the phone and said "come up" Diana came in a minute. Diana call Mr. Hu. She said. Diana turned to go. Kumkum called Diana,. Diana stopped. Kumkum said " Call him after five minutes. Agastya will take coffee" " Ok Madam" Said Diana and turned. Kumkum called " Diana." Diana turned back with a bit of impatience " You too take coffee" said Kumkum. She smiled at Kumkum and said " No thanks. I don't want to be a spoil sport." She said and walked down.
Kumkum : You ended your previous mission?
Agastya: No I did not, It is an endless mission. It is a love mission.
Kumkum : Interesting. Tell me what happened. Did the girl love you?
Agastya : I went to Mumbai on Basava's love mission. Agastya told the story briefly.
6. Danavaipeta - Rajahmundry
Kesava pierced his eyes and looked keenly at the small letters in his mother's diary. It is since a week he has been reading. The diary was all two hundred pages. Some pages are left empty. Most pages are scribbled and illegible. The diary was written in first person. Kesava was struggling to see his mother face in the letters. Sadasivam looked at him sympathetically. He knew how eager he was to find his mother's name. He dropped the diary on the bed and closed his eyes. He instantly picked the diary and started searching again. " It is not written by one person. The hand writing belongs to two persons. said Kesava.
Aah ! Keava cried loudly and presed his temples. " Kesava you need magnifying lense." Stop reading and relax. "Hurrah ! Look here. It is written "My mother passed on this habit" That means this diary was written by my grand mother. Kesava had a severe head ache.
Sadasivam took him to eye specialist in Rajahmundry . The doctor said " He has developed not only head ache but also bad eyesight." He prescribed glasses and asked him to wear regularly. That night when they returned from Rajahmundry they came to know that they had Mridangam concert in Mylaopre.
7. Dakshinamurthi Auditorium - Mylapore
Tender face bedecked with glasses, sharp nose, long hair, white Dhoti and Kurta a boy sat on the matted floor with Mrudangam in the lap. It is the richest ornament of greatest delight that serves as light to his life. Kesava is simple yet his rhythm is rich.
Kesava has been playing the Mrudangam for three days in Dakshinamurthi Auditorium in Ramakrishna Mutt Rd, in Alamelu Manga Puram, Mylapore. It was a three day solo Murudangam concert. The auditorium is filled with audience. Many eminent personalities such as Gurumurthy, Padma Shri recipient Venkateswara Rao, and music maestro Venkataratnam were a part of the audience. The three days music concert is attracting the audience from various parts of the city.
A solo mrudangam concert for three days?! Even eminent paerson alities were surprised. Sadasivam who sat in the ring side of the stage kept watching Kesava with bated breath. He was totally absorbed into the rhythm of Kesava. Kesava's mridangam solo was complemented with Shankar’s ghatam. So it is is mixed with rhythm of the ghatam. Only Sadasivam knows that the rhythm of Mrudangam is mixed with the heart beat of Kesav. Kesava has mastered the versatility of the rhythm. The audience were watching with awe and wonder. Sadasivam was watching with pity.
Kesava is very much troubled by the thoughts of his mother. He started reading his mother's diary a week ago. He could not find out even his mother's name. Kesava saw only I in place of his mother's name. Solo mrudangam concert for three days?! Even eminent personalities were surprised. Sadasivam who sat in the ring side of the stage kept watching Kesava with bated breath. Kesava was totally absorbed into the rhythm. The mridangam solo was complemented with Shankar’s ghatam.
A veteran musician came to the front row where Sadasivam was sitting. From the group of followers Sadasivam learned that the veteran musician was Murudangam Viswanatham, a top notch mrudangist in Chennai. There were not enough chairs a the hall was full. Sadas ivam got up and offered his chair to Viswanatham. A few moments later another Mrudanga vidwan came to the auditorium. People started bringing chairs. "For three day this young chap has been shaking Mylapore. I haven't seen such a crowd for Mridangam before said Subramanya perumal a retired judge who came with his son Perumal.
A few moments later a tall man in Dhothi and a sharp looking man came to the stage and stood there. " He is a famed writer and poet recipient of National Sahitya Academy award Bharatavarsha, Offer him a good chair. said a spectator to the management member. But the management of the Auditorium stood helpless. Chairs can be brought but there is no room for chairs in the auditorium. He went up to Bharatavarsha and apologized for not offering chairs. A gentle man brought a stool and asked Bharatavarsha to sit. Bharatavarsha felt proud for not having chair. He offered the stool to Armugam standing next to him.
Armugam saw the man standing next to Subraminia Perumal " Perumal" He called. Judge Perumal turned back " Dr. Perumal" He called again and passed on the stool to him. There was a ruckus as nobody was willing to take the stool. Kesava looked at Varsha. His fingers slowed down. His lips parted. The clouds of agony drifted. The continual rhythm stopped after three days. The President of Dakshinamurthi kalapeetham honoured Kesava with Laya Kalaratna title hand over a memento and a cheque. Kesava saw tears of happiness in the eyes of Bharatavarsha. Veteran mrudangist Viswanatham invited Kesava to Cleveland Festival.
After they exited from the Dakshinamurthi auditorium Kesava asked Varsha " How did you come to Chennai suddenly? How you know that I have a program here?"
Bharatavarha: I am in touch with Agastya. Agastya came to your program yesterday. You are in meditation. You did not notice him. I came here to take the groom to Visakhapatnam.
Kesava, Armugam, Varsha and Sadasivam went to Chennai railway station. They got into the Visakhapatnam train. When the train started Bharatavarsha told Kesava "This is the ideal time. He has Diwali holidays for 10 days and the month of Karthika is very auspicious for marriages. He can spend a week in Anandanilayam leisurely.
"What do you say?" Bharatavarsha asked Armugam. Armugam stuck his head to the window he was was watching the green fields. He is not in this world. Kesava laughed at him. Sadasivam touched Armugam and asked " Are the fields so beautiful?"
Armugam suddenly turned back from the window " Yes, yes She is so beautiful " He said. Everybody laughed except Armugam. The laughter is mixed up in the train whistle.
8. Visakhapatnam - Ananda Nilayam
The day was splendid. Parvathi woke up early took bath and wore new silk long skirt and half saree. Malini gave her her golden girdle and bangles and ear rings before she went for a bath. Parvathi was delighted to see them. She never wore such expensive ornaments. "She stood before the mirror looking at her beauty." Malini finished her bath. She came and stood beside Parvathi. You are lost to the world. Are you here? In a few days your marriage will be celebrated and yu will go with your husband, till then be with us. Said Malini.
I thought I lost my mother. My mother came back from heaven. I will be with my mother even after my marriage. I want to serve my mother her love is warm. Let him come to Ananda Nilayam during holidays.
Poor girl, mother's love is warm but don't lose life's charm. Varsha wants to send you to Chennai. He has made all arrangements to live with your husband in Chennai. You both come during holidays. This mother will share love to both of you and your children also.
Parvathi felt that Varsha's age is advancing he has to marry first but he is thinking of us. Malini understood Parvathi's feelings. " That is called responsibility." She said.
Parvathi cried loudly hugging Malini. "Amma I understood why even God's surrender to love. Love is so powerful. You are so powerful." She said.
Nandini will come at any moment. She will laugh at you if you cry. You should not cry in the happiest occasion. Nandini had already entered Ananda Nilayam. She began plucking flowers. Malini saw her through te window, " Who is the theif plucking our flowers?"
Plucked flowers from the garden and brought them in her mantle. She came to Malini " I am the daughter in law of this house. I have to cook for you and look after you. Be careful with me. she said to Malini. Malini laughed. Nandini then turned to Parvathi who was dazzling like golden with ornaments. She pressed her mouth and said "Oh! have you given all these ornaments to her. They are meant for the daughter in law of this house." She shouted at Malini. Malini was amused.
Parvathi began teasing Nandini. She fancifully twisted her waist , turned her eyes round like O and said " A girl having a golden girdle is regarded as queen in our village." Nandini burned with jealousy. A bickering erupted between Nandini and Parvathi.
"Give me the girdle, keep the bangles if you want. The girlde belongs to the daughter in law." Damanded Nandini. "Is there any special law? It belongs to the daught. er" shouted Parvathi. Syamala and Ramya came. Malini went into Pooja room.
When Nandini came out from Pooja they were still quarrelling. Parvathi was running Nandini and Ramya were chasing her. Syamala stood and watching the game. " Syamala , catch Parvathi, catch her." shouted Ramya. Parvathi is more like a deer in the forest than a girl in the house. "Ay, Ramya! don't involve Syamala. She is pregnant." shouted Malini.
Parvathi ran towards the guava tree. In the blink of an eye she climbed up the tree.
Climb down , shouted Nandini. Climb up shouted Parvathi. Nandini tried but could not climb. Ramya succeeded in climbing up but Parvathi switched to another branch. Malini was terrified at the out come of jeopardy. "Parvathi climb down, You have marriage. Ramya nobody will marry you, if you break your leg." Malini threatened them of the consequences. No sister-in law ( Nandini) will take my girldle. complained Parvathi.
"My son will buy another girlde for you, leave them" Malini pleaded Nandini. But Nandini was stubborn and unyielding. Malini lost her temper and took a slender cane and beat Nandini. Nandini ran towards the entrance gate. "Parvathi get down first. How can gilrs climb guava trees? If anything happens ..." She commdaned.
Amma in Ballipadu jayamma climbs tall palm trees. I can climb palm trees also. Nothing will happen, Malini turned to Ramya "Ramya, you little devil, you get down first." she shouted. "Let Parvathi get down first." said Ramya.
If you accept that you can not catch me then I will get down. said Parvathi.
Nandini brought a ladder from the neighbour's house and put it to the guava tree. When Nandini began climbing the neighbourhood girls and boys came to watch the fun. When Nandini was climbing they began cheering up. Parvathi is no less intelligent she climbed down on to the high boundary wall near guava tree.
Nandini climbed down and quickly put the ladder to the wall and climbed. Ramya also followed her. The boys and girls were cheering up. The elderly men and women from near by houses came to Ananda Nilayam were non plussed. Now the three girls were running on the boundary wall. Malini got high B.P. All men and women started watching the sporting girls. "The Marriage hustle and bustle has set in. "Don't worry Malini. Marriage is the only remidy for such naughty girls. They said and walked away. Malini looked quite upset. Nandini observed her and jumped down the wall.
Just at the same time Bharatavarsha, came with Kesava and Armugam. They stood rock still at the gate and watched Nandini jumping the wall. Nandini saw only Malini and none else. She was mindful of how to escape from the cane. She ran towards the gate and Dashed Varsha. Malini got confused. She threw the cane and went in.
Varsha was embarassed while Kesava and Armugam chuckled. Till now it was only a play for Nandini but now she got offended. She is hurt. "You did not see Parvathi and Ramya I think look what they are doing on the wall" She said.
Kesava's face turned plae. Parvathi looked at the three standing at the gate. Armugam's face bloomed like a flowe when he saw Parvathi. Parvathi's face contracted like touch me not leaf. She bent her head down and slowly climbed down the ladder.
9. Rameswaram - Kalambur
Rasamani and Janaki couple were walking in the foot paths in the hilly area in the outskirts of Kalambur village. They kept looking at the undulating hills. The sun is setting in the western sky. The breeze is cool. "Where did this girl go?" asked Rasamani walking in the rocky area. Janaki stepped on an uneven spot. She was about to fall but her husband caught her. She had her ankle sprained. "Ouch!" grumbled Janaki. Rasamani asked her rubbing her ankle" Is it paining ?" "It is getting dark. I am getting tense. We haven't found her yet?" said Janaki.
Hooooo! Hoo! some body shouting. The shouts are approaching the couple. tcha ... tcha..... the tongue clicking sounds were heard. A goatherd was seen with his goats. He was going back to the village with his goats saw the couple. "Daiva pengal , malaiyil irikiral ( The God woman is oon the hill). He said with a smile and went away with his cattle.
The couple walked towards the hill. There is dull light in the sky. Rasamani saw Vidisha on the hill. He shouted Vidisha... There was no response. "She looks in the same size of the setting sun in the sky." said Janaki, " She is like prasadam in the leaf." He said to his wife. Janaki glared at Rasamani and shouted "Hooo! " like the goatherd. The sun set completely. The darkness enveloped the earth.
Rasamani: Why did she do like that today.
Janaki : She has been going out every day to search for Mahadev agora.
Rasamani: Is Mahadev an Agora ? Isn't he a sidda?
Janaki: Siddha or Agora who knows! Nobody has seen him for several years.
She was asking me for his address for several days.
She has been asking everybody, wandering all over the hills. Nobody could give.
What address this forest wanderer has ? How can she find?
10. Visakhapatnam - Nandini Nilayam
The blue Hundai city car stopped in front of Nandini Nilayam. Bharatavarsha and Malini got down from the car. Nandini Nilayam gates were flung open and Krishna Dasa and Paidamma welcomed them. Nandini was in her room watching the lawn through the window of her bedroom. She saw Varsha and Malini walking in. It is her dream walking in. She could not contain her joy. Syamala shut the window pane to tease Nandini. Nandini jumped like a deer and went into the livingroom. "Nandi , you should stay inside , should not come out. You are going to be the bride." said Adinarayana. "If we leave her she will run to the gate. Come into the bedroom. Syamala pulled Nandini into the bedroom. Nandini was resisting. "What type of bride is this? " Syamala said syamala.
Despite all these arguments Penchalayya looked undisturbed. He sat like a rock in the sofa. Adinarayana said " You have stopped smiling since last night, smile the guests are coming." Adi started clarinet music that marks the auspicious occasion.
Bharatavarsha is climbing up the stairs said syamala. Nandini sat on the bed hugging her knees. She looked like a fresh rose bud. She want to listen to the slightest sound in the livingroom but for the traditional music. Syamala understood her feelings and stopped the music. Malini laughed at Syamala. She understood her intention. "Call my daughter in law. No need of hiding." said Malini. Nandini came out and stood beside Malini. We came here to ask for your brother.." She said to Nandini.
Paidamma was elated. She said "I loved to give my daughter to good family. In my mind it is Malini's family. " She told her husband. " I also loved to give my daughter to a good family. In my mind it is a wealthy family. " said Penchalayya.
Malini : We are talking about Manjusha. We came here to invite you to Ananda Nilayam to see Manjusha for your son Sandeep.
Penchalayya : No problem , we will talk about Sandeep first.
Malini : We are here to talk about our son's marriage also.
Penchalayya : What is your expectation to make my daughter your daughter in law?
Malini : I expect them to live together happily and you to bless them whole-heartedly.
Penchalayya : I understand you have no expectations and I appreciate your high mindedness. But I have some expectations. He looked at Nandini and said " Go prepare coffee for the guests with your hands." Nandini went in with bubbling joy.
Malini : please tell me we will try to meet your expectations.
Paidamma : When they are noble minded we should match them.
Penchalayya : I can nnot match them. Don't interfere in dowry matter.
Adi and Das unsussessfully tried to explain to Penchalayya something.
Bharatavarsha : I will meet your requirement except converting my sister.
Penchalayya : She will continue as Hindu. My son and daughter are also not converted.
Bharatavarsha : Tell me how much yu are expecting. What ever it is I will.
Penchalayya : You know Simhachalam died and the post is vacant. Soon the election notification comes. You should participate in the election campaign on my behalf and promote me. I want to contest for MLA in Sabbavaram constituency.
Bharatavarsha: I can not do that.
Penchalayya: In that case you have to give me 50 lakhs.
All Penchalayya's family objected to his demand. Nandini said " Are you Mad?"
Paidamma said " Who will give 50 lakhs to you? Be reasonable"
Penchalayya said to Malini "This is my decision, You may demand the same amount from us or drop our match. I will search for a match within my means.
We will not do that. We want Nandini as our daughter in law. I will not fix a price for my son. They loved each other. Money is not more important than my children.
Nandini brought coffee in a tray and served coffee to all. " This Friday is a good day for the engagement ceremony. Come with Sandeep to Anandanilayam for a Bridal interview.
Adi : Why, What is the need for the bridal interview when they loved each other?
Malini : It is just a formality, more than a formality it is a celebration.
Paidamma : Then begin the formality with my daughter.
Nandini looked at Varsha , Varsha looked at her but swiftly turned looks.
Malini took Nandini near. Looking into her eyes she asked " will you marry my son?"
Nandini's eyelids became heavy. They are half shut with shy. Her cheeks blushed. Bharatavarsha and Malini folded their hands and silently walked towards the gate.
Paidamma , Adi , Dasu, Syamala and Nandini none had any idea that they were leaving. Penchalayya who was well in senses said " invaluable moments with invaluable people." He folded his hands to the parting mother and son. That is the mother. That is the son.