Long time no post…
So here goes…
A few days ago, a nice old gentleman who resided in my neighborhood, passed away. He was 95 (yes, ninety five). I have not personally been close to him, but we knew of each other, and were comfortable in affording each other space in our perceptible world. In other words, although we exchanged few words, we did nod sometimes when we passed each other, and our mind’s waves registered no dissonance.
When I got the information that he had passed on, I visited his house to pay my last respects to him, and convey my condolence to his family. There I spoke to his daughter. She told me that the man had lived a beautiful life. No illness worth recording. Did not suffer from Blood Pressure or Diabetes etc. No regimen of tablets. Did Yoga every day. Was always active, reading, writing. Went for his walks. He ate well till the end. Had a full meal the previous night. Had coffee that morning. She saw him sitting on his bed, checking his pulse, and asked him about it. And he told her he just felt like checking…. And even as he said these words, he gasped once or twice and then his breath stopped. His back leaned on the wall behind the bed. He passed away just like that. Conscious till the last moment. Sitting. The kind of end that even Sanyasi-s pray for.
Ah yes, there is goodness in the world still.
Read on Twitter today about a good person, one of India’s great architects. About his retiring from service. The tweet read: “Man who changed the way of life in #Delhi, Metro Man Sreedharan, switches tracks, retires tomorrow ~ Legend of India”
We owe much to this good man. Lets wish him well in his retired life. I remember seeing an interview of his on TV some years ago, where he mentioned that he looked forward to his retired life, and that he would love to spend the time with his Bhagavad Gita and Vishnu Sahasranama. The North Indian TV anchor, a young lady, had surely no clue what Vishnu Sahasranama was, she pronounced it as Sahastra-nama. Be that as it may. Best wishes to the good Mr Sridhar for his next Ashrama.
Today I was speaking with an ex-colleague of mine, who retired a month ago. He was a banker and an IT man, who worked in Bengaluru. For his retired life, he had purchased a flat in Sri Rangam. I called him today to wish him for the New Year, and asked him how his retired life was. He described his day for me… Here it is..
This is the month of Margazhi.
Morning 7-25 am to 8-45 am, he attends a talk on Tiruppaavai by Velukkudi Krishnan. I guess he gets some good Pongal too as viniyogam. These days the ‘pagal patthu’ festival is on in Sri Ranganatha temple. Ten days leading to Vaikunta Ekadasi. The Utsava idol of the Lord is adorned and taken in different Vahana. Araiyar Sevai is carried out. The celebration starts early morning every day and goes on till 4 pm or so. My friend spends 10 am to Noon there. Afternoon 4 to 5-30 pm, he again attends another talk by Velukkudi, on the glories of Sri Rangam as expressed by Azhwaars and Acharyas. After that he goes for a nice long walk, visits some temples, Kaattu Azhagiya Singar temple being one of them. Evening 7 pm he goes for a talk by Sri Krishna Premi, who gives a discourse every day from 7 to 9 pm on Sri Ramanuja Caritram…
Thats his current routine. Some evenings he goes to Sringeri Mutt to join the Vishnu Sahasranama Parayana, or Veda Sukta chanting.
He tells me that he is loving his new life. Everything that he needs is available in the neighborhood. The wholesale flower market is nearby. Quarter Kilo of fresh roses costs just ten rupees. And a lotus flower costs just eight annas.
His father, now in his eighties, is handing over the family Siva puja to him. He plans taking that over after Pongal.
Talking of the morning Tiruppaavai function, he tells me that hundreds of people attend the talk. And ever so many of them come in Pancakacam and Uttariyam, walking barefoot. They walk barefoot out of reverence for the land trodden by the great Azhwars. Such is the holiness of Sri Rangam.
Kaveri flows nearby. Tyagaraja music utsava is starting in a few days.
Life is good.