February 20, 2009

Almost lost and almost recovered - Chapter 1

 Thanx a bunch for the heart whelming comments on the prologue :)


Birth was my choice, I was here to stay
The name was their's and I gave away


Maanu and her family were on a trip to Tanjore* for a ceremony at the family's temple in the suburbs of the city. It was habitual to visit the saivaite* Brahadeehswara temple* against authentic vaishnavite* granny's words, before reaching the family's temple. The divinity and grandeur of the Brahadeeswara temple had never ceased to captivate Maanu. This was her 15th visit to Tanjore as far as she could remember and still she marveled at the sheer genius of Raja Raja Chola*. The 65 meter high central tower of the temple had never been once found to cast a shadow during the noon time. Such was the architectural excellence of the ancient Tamil rulers and Raja Raja Chola was no exception. She used to stare at the sculptures, the epics carved on the walls, the temple elephant, the mammoth sized Nandi* made of stone, the channels around the temple that were once the home of crocodiles for protection from enemies and the vast expanse of the temple corridor. She could now imagine the supremacy of the Chola rule. Many thanks to Shivaji ganeshan* (What an actor! ) for enacting Raja Raja Chola in the movie she had happened to watch the previous day. 

Chandran's family temple was located on the remote yet authentic village of Pillayarpatti on the outskirts of Tanjore city. Maanu had always loved the walk through the narrow yet clean streets of the village. She would stop for a hot cup of Horlicks at Indira aunty's home and would finish the breakfast at Kannan uncle's. Devi's grand pa would take both the girls for a visit to his rice mill. Every family in the village was a relative of hers unlike the one back home in Coimbatore* where the colonies were an assortment of immigrants from the rest of Tamilnadu and Kerala*.
Shanti was all pride for her 21 year old daughter. She had been the most obedient and understanding child ever since her kindergarten days. 
She was a voracious reader of novels like Shanti and was also a "where is my newspaper" kind like Chandran.
She was a theist when Shanti recited stories from the Mahabharata and would turn an atheist like Chandran while condemning blind faiths. 
Her eyes and ears resembled that of Shanti and she also had a dimple in the chin, a trait she had inherited from Chandran.

Maanu, almost a dad's girl and almost that of mom's as well.  

Shanti's memories swirled 21 years back when herself and Chandran had visited Chandran's family temple for the first time on account of Maanu's naming ceremony. Chandran had a desire to name the baby "Naagi" in memoir of  the guardian angel of the family, a sacred serpent who was called "Nagamma" in south India. But Shanti wished to name her baby "Maanasa" after a brave snake godess. 

"Shuklam bharatharam vishnum
shashi varnam chathur bhujam
Prasanna vadhanam dhyayae
Sarva vignobha shantayae"

The priest had started off with the ceremony.

Eventually Shanti whispered "Naaga maanasa" thrice into the ears of the 1 month old baby as the temple bells were rung by the kith and kin.

"Naaga Maanasa" whispered Chandran and fed her a spoonful of sugar syrup.
"Naaga Maanasa" whispered Shanti's brother. Spoonful of sugar syrup again.
"Naaga Maanasa" whispered Chandran's sister. Another spoonful.


Tanjore - The capital of ancient Chola empire
Saivaites - A sect of Hindus who worship Lord Shiva
Brahadeeswara temple - A temple situated at the heart of Tanjore, dedicated to Lord Shiva
Vaishnavites - Another sect of Hindus who worship Lord Vishnu 
Raja Raja Chola - the emperor who built the Brahadeeshwara temple 
Nandi - A sacred Ox statue facing Lord Shiva in the temples. It is believed that Lord Shiva travel on this Ox.
Shivaji Ganeshan - A renowned Tamil actor. A recipient of the Chevalier award.
Coimbatore - The Manchester of South India
Kerala - A beautiful south Indian province with Malayalam as the provincial language






  1. loved te narration... it binds the interest well .. looking forward to more of it !!

  2. i love history .. n this has got bits of it..

    wondering about what is yet to come.. :)

  3. Thanx for droppin by prats di and ani :)

  4. nan........that was simply wow!! the descriptions...traditions...the flow...the way you have weaved your plot around these characters...such a rich read.....your write has the grandeur of the scenaries described here...cant wait for the next....n a humble plea to write a longer part the next time around...i wont mind reading para's after para's if its as captivating as this......loved this one!! too good!!

  5. @ Sandeep
    he he request taken into consideration i shall try my best to make it lengthier the next time ;)

  6. hmm good good

    description and narration i lovedd........and yes u mentioned abt temple and all .......gud read

    waiting for chapter 2

    btw try to make it a bit long yaar

    this is very short...i assume that since its the intro post u ve made it short

  7. @
    He he am not so much used to lengthier posts will try my best to make the next one lengthy ;)

  8. ahh..!! Felt like traveling and attending a pukka South India Naming Ceremony...!!

    Nice beginning........ :)

    Lets see how u take this story..!!


  9. @Nan: woaaaaaaaa! i am amazed at your writing skill.. It was excellent.. the detailing of history, architecture, south indian culture... I am not much of a history person but this one got me hooked.. waiting for more..

    it reminded me Sandeep's Appu series.. you've got a similar expertise girl.. make the maximum of it... :)

  10. @ Kajal
    Am so glad u liked it yaar :)


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