Delhi diary (Sep 07) – 5

Well, the plan was to go to Red Fort. But if things go as per plan, then one is not in India. There is such charm in facing the unexpected, welcoming the unannounced…Power cut, water taps drying up, Bandh, cooking gas cylinder becoming empty a week ahead of schedule, car not starting, sudden guests – there are any number of possibilities that creates a daily tussle of fate and free will. Wonderful!

7 am, Sunday morning. My cell sang.

“Sirji…” called an old school classmate of mine…

Cell phones have connected India like nothing has ever done before. Just dial and talk, without worrying about the variable “where”…

As it was, I thought he was in Bangalore or Mumbai, and he thought I was in Chennai or Bangalore…

His name, btw, is Shankar. He works in Bangalore, and his wife and kids are in Delhi.

“Sirji…today is my birthday sirji…sochaa aapsey aashirvaad ley loon” he said.

“Where are you sirji?” I asked.

And it turned out that he was in Delhi. So was I. 

He planned to wake up his kids and come to Uttara Swami Malai temple sometime in the morning. So perhaps we could meet there.

Shankar’s call was unanticipated. Not as per plan. Plan for the day had been to go for an outing with Shweta and my sister Anu. Shweta is a NRI youngster who is from Germany, on visit to India, heading for a three month internship to Banares…She wanted to visit the Red Fort. And so I had volunteered to be the guide and host.

We left at around 9 in the morning. First stop, Uttara Swami Malai temple – also known by Northerners as Malaai Mandir. Needless to say the word ‘malai’ means different in Tamil and Hindi. Malai is the Tamil word for Hill, and Malaai is the Hindi word for whipped-cream…Malai Mandir is a South Indian temple, of Lord Murukan, built on top of a small hill.

We walked into the temple compound. At the bottom of the hill there is a temple of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara (Siva) – as in Madurai. The day being Sunday, there was a brisk throng of devotees.

But right there, in that shrine, I spotted Shankar…We bear hugged in true Delhi style…His wife was with him…”Where are the kids?” I asked him. He told me that they hadn’t woken up. So there.  

After a short tête-à-tête he took leave.

And we climbed the steps. Halfway up the hill is the first stop – a nice large hall. A group of devotees were learning to sing Tiruppugazh – the most beautiful verses of Arunagirinathar. An elderly teacher sang first, followed by the students.

“Look” said Shweta, her eyes shining. Right amidst the students, a peacock was sitting peacefully, listening to the Tiruppugazh!

We then went to the niche shrine where is housed a rare sphatika (crystal) statue of Adi Shankara. Beautiful!

Then we went to the hill top. To the temple of Murukan. Lots of devotees. And on one side, a Veda class was on. A teacher was leading a group of young Brahmacharis through the chant of Vedas. In Ghanam style…(Ghanam is a special way of reciting the Vedas. Here, the words of a verse are chanted back and forth, repeated, in a certain mathematical sequence…This is one of the ways by which our Rshis have ensured that no word, no syllable of any verse is lost. A good overview about methods of Vedic chanting can be seen here …)

They were chanting the Mrityunjaya mantra (tryambakam yajamahe…) in ghanam style…It was delightful to hear.

With that sound resonating in ones mind, we walked down the steps…Back to the car…

Yes, to Red Fort now…


10 Responses to “Delhi diary (Sep 07) – 5”

  1. Srinivasa Says:

    This is indeed a unique trip – proceeding from Purana Qila to Lal Qila via Malai Mandir. This is like going from Alwarpet to Mylapore via Guduvanchery.

  2. gkamesh Says:


    purana qila was on Saturday. Lal qila sunday.

  3. Srinivasa Says:

    gustakhi maaf 🙂 All the Delhi posts say September 07. Nowhere in Purana Qila post do you let on that it was Sh’nichur. And also, it is but natural for fallows to go from Bangalee Market to Lal Qila via Purana Qila.

    In fact if you came to Mandi House and caught 210 (Central Sectt to Shakti Nagar) you were on the exact same route. Of course at Lal Qila the stop is between the fort and the river but what history buff wouldn’t like it?

    That is why I sat up when I read you’re at Malai Mandir. I felt I was watching an old Shammi Kapoor starrer – the hero and heroine go from Bombay to Agra and back to Bombay, all in one night. In fact during the course of this one night, the Taj Mahal gets stolen also!

  4. gkamesh Says:


    Sep 07, meant Sep 2007. What can I say except that the movie deserves the audience it gets. If it could be 7 am on Sunday morning after visiting Purana Qila, then it is like another wonderful film titled “murdey kee jaan khatrey mein”.

    gustaakhi maaf

    ps: Did they find the Taj?

  5. Srinivasa Says:

    Yes, they did. Looks like they needed it for the shooting of “Meri biwi ki shaadi” 🙂

  6. Srinivasa Says:


    can you please concentrate next 1 month on hamare zemane ke Hindi pikchur’s 🙂 Pleej

  7. ramji Says:

    Bought-“Romancing with Life”last thursday at Hyderabad airport..and finished it on Sachcharday morning…in between finishing some work at Pune! Dev saab’s first movie was shot at Pune/Prabhat Studios and his first full fledged ‘bang session’..he writes,was aboard the Dhakkan Queen!!
    Apney zamaney ka shtaar!

  8. gkamesh Says:


    The Dhakkan Queen brings to mind the Dev Anand song from Kala Bazar – “Uparwala jankar anjan hai, apni to har aah ik toofan hai” – sung so well by Rafi…

    Wanna see it? Here it is … Enjoy… humare zamane ka song…

  9. Srinivasa Says:


    गुस्ताख़ी माफ़! मलाय मन्दिर से लाल किले पहुंचने में दस दिन लग जाते हैं क्या?

    आपका शुभेच्छु

  10. gkamesh Says:


    maaf karna banda bhee insaan hai
    roji sey woh roj hi pareshaan hai

    sochta hai ki ab dilli door hai…

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