‘Thiruvarangam’ is a temple located in Srirangam dedicated to Ranganatha Swamy, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu. It is one amongst the few illustrious temples in South India, dating back to the Sangam era [I], according to the Tamil Literature , and is even mentioned in the epic Silappadikaram by Ilango Adigal .
Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, it is known by several names such as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Periyakoil, Bhogamandabam, and is the first among the Divya Desams [II] .
According to Divya Prabandha, a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses by twelve Alvars [III], there are entirely 108 Vaishnava Divya Desams . Out of them, 105 are located in India, one is in Nepal, and the last two are believed to be outside the Earthly realms.
In India, up to eight-five of them are in the state of Tamil Nadu, eleven of them are in Kerala, three of them are in Uttarakhand, two of them are in Andhra Pradesh, and one each in Gujarat & Uttar Pradesh.
This first Divya Desam is massive in scale and is spread across 156 acres . It is even the largest functioning temple in the world and is ranked amongst Angkor Wat in Cambodia & Borobudur in Indonesia . Though Angkor Archaeological Park spreads over 40,000 hectares, unlike Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, the deity isn’t offered prayers anymore.
Another unique element for Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple is that around its main shrine, there are seven concentric rectangular enclosures formed by thick rampart walls.
Within these enclosures, the inner five enclosures of the complex constitute the temple, and the outer two enclosures function as the settlement. These seven rectangular enclosures are called Sapta-Prakaram and these make the temple more of a temple-town than just a temple . Thus, the distinction between the temple and the settlement gets blurred and the temple is often referred to as ‘Srirangam’ .
However, Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple isn’t the only temple with these enclosures. Meenakshi Temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati in Madurai has four prakarams followed by four concentric rings of settlement. Similarly, Nataraja Temple dedicated to God Shiva in Chidambaram has five prakarams followed by a few concentric rings of settlements . A slight difference is that Madurai and Chidambaram are examples of settlements around a temple while Srirangam has settlements within the temple. It is even considered as the best enclosure based temple-town in Tamil Nadu or arguably the entire world.
To be continued in the second post.
Notes: I.The Sangam Era period was from the sixth century BCE to the third century CE in ancient Tamil Nadu, Kerala and parts of Sri Lanka which were then known as Tamilakam. It was named after the famous Sangam academies of poets and scholars who were centered in the city of Madurai.
II. Divya means divine and Desam indicates place or abode.
Are you a shadow? Creeping behind my back Are you the wisp of the wind? Trying to sneak past my breath Are you a sense of foreboding? Trickling down my spine Are you my nemesis? Questioning my very existence Are you my reckoning? In this moment of truth Are you the face of death? An eventuality and a finality Too small to behold; Too vast to understand
The drums are rolling, The sky is lit in crimson The lines have been drawn In the battle of our generation Fight I will, with all my strength With my restraint and resilience I do not see what lies ahead In this clash for survival But I do see what I am fighting The darkness of my doubt and fear I gather all my resolve And look at the face Of my mortal enemy And vow not to give in
Picking up the transmitter, Bhaskar’s manager accepted his request to meet him. After signing a few documents, he waved at Bhaskar to enter the chamber.
He waved again listening to Bhaskar’s plea and Bhasker immediately rushed on his scooter to the hospital. Enquiring his wife’s name at the information center, he rushed to the maternity ward where he found his wife unconscious.
Walking towards the cradle beside the bed, Bhaskar could see his spitting image sleeping in silence. Happiness filled his eyes with tears as he extended his hand to touch him.
Looking at his son lying in the cradle, Bhaskar’s mother mentioned, “The Gods have given you an heir!”
Observing her son staring at the life he sourced, she continued, “Lakshmi will soon join.”
No matter what his mother said, Bhaskar couldn’t take his eyes off the beautiful life that was before him. He knew there was a reason henceforth to strive and without a second thought, he promised himself that all his actions should serve his little one.
The moment he felt him, tears of happiness slid his cheek as his mother hugged him.
Touching his adorable finger, Bhaskar mentioned, “It’s him.”
With a smile, his mother acknowledged, “He couldn’t be away for long considering how much you loved him.”
Meanwhile, Srinivas stood before Rudra, staring at his third eye. Staring at the inordinate amount of energy, Srinivas asked, “Why was I summoned, father?”
With a charismatic smile, Rudra replied, “You shall have to relive another dharmic life in-order to become a part of me, child.”
Kneeling, Srinivas begged, “Forgive my sins father. I do not wish to live in that hell. I would rather take any other punishment. Please don’t send me again...”
Continuing to smile, Rudra mentioned, “You haven’t been cleansed yet, child. Your desires should be destroyed before you become a part of me. You were created from me for that specific purpose.”
Accepting his fate, Srinivas pleaded, “At least give me strength father!”
For one last time, Srinivas saw Rudra before being thrown into darkness. He heard nothing but then, he heard his wife and son.
He felt delighted that the almighty had decided for him to be born into the same family, but before long he had no recollection of them anymore.
As Bhaskar turned to look at his wife, his mother asked, “Are you planning to name him Srinivas?”
Not intending to lie, Bhaskar replied, “Not until I saw him. I always wanted him to be Karna.”
With a smile, his mother replied, “Since fallen heroes are today’s icons and distorted comprehension of epics cannot be undone. Taking his mother’s name into account, let’s name him Radheya.”
Silence prevailed for a moment before she continued, “You could have your wish. Just name him Radheya instead of Karna.”
After a moment of thought, Bhaskar suggested, “If it is Radheya, then let it be Srinivas Radheya.”
Placing his plate of warm noodles on the dining table, Radheya recalled Mitram. He thought about how Mitram would have stopped him before he tasted his unusually sweet noodles.
Though he thought of taking a look at the portraits of all those whom he loved, Radheya started stuffing noodles into his mouth without wasting another moment. When he finished his noodles, he felt nothing.
It took a few moments before the intended reaction kicked in. While he was experiencing the pain, Radheya recalled about the online friend he invited for dinner. Observing the clock, he knew that she wouldn’t even arrive for the next twenty minutes.
Moments before his mortal form lost its soul, Radheya couldn’t help but think, “Why did I even strive in life if this is how it would have ended?”
More than pain, Radheya dreaded the thought of what would happen next. He was certain about Gods and demons being nothing more than mere elements of the mind and firmly disagreed on their existence in the fictional concept of the afterlife. However, when facing death, the uncertainty certainly terrified him.
As he pondered on the question, the doorbell buzzed. Glancing at the clock in the dining room, Radheya couldn’t help but presume that his guest arrived early. Trying to look calm, he walked to the door as he felt the pain in his stomach.
Looking through the peephole, he saw his friend standing steady. He opened the unlocked door to find a stunning girl in her late twenties wearing a black gown standing before him.
As his eyes closed, Radheya mentioned, “You’re early…”
Observing her getting tense, he raised his hand in assurance before he crashed on the floor. The moment he crashed, he could see his astral form still standing.
As his body landed on the floor, the girl just stood there for a moment. She could see he wasn’t breathing and just calmly left. He was surprised that she didn’t even call the police as he had expected. An hour later, one of his neighbors noticed him lying at the entrance and called the emergency services. A couple of hours later, Radheya’s mortal form was before a drunk surgeon whose quest was to find what killed him.
Though the intoxicated mortal knew that even the strongest leaf shall have to fall when kissed by winter, he was just checking the math of self-killers. Even he knew that the world he lived in was filled with no emotional entailment and just survived on rational investments alone.
After the inspector determined that the corpse owner killed himself, Radheya was surprised to see his body parts were being snatched to be reused. The rest of the poisoned filth was packed into a black bag like a broken toy before being shipped on a conveyor belt that carried many other bodies.
Another officer took a look at the tag on the bag before marking it in his system. In absolute silence, the conveyor belt passed the body into the incarceration chamber and burnt Radheya’s body instantly.
Radheya could see the mortal form that he built for four decades turn into ashes in seconds. As he believed, neither angels nor demons awaited. It was the darkness that surrounded him as he always stated. In such silence, he knew not a single living soul was weeping for him.
As the cold winds swirled into the room through the open window, Bhaskar looked at his wife as he felt her for the first time. He could tell she was controlling her pain but her eyes were filled with tears. Unable to witness her agony, he pulled himself out of her and when he did, he could feel her bleeding.
He looked at her for a moment as she took a deep breath. A moment later, he leaned forward and kissed her. As she kissed him back, tears rolled down her eyes as she closed them. The nineteen-year-old Radha, he married a day ago, caressed his black curly hair after they kissed.
Looking into her eyes, Bhaskar could see her willingness before he felt her again. For a while, the couple moaned in pleasure before he passed the life gifted to him.
As he did, he truly felt the transcendence of power within and it was like never before and as she received it, she ushered in joyful pain looking at the man whom she chose to lead her life with.
Taking a deep breath, Bhaskar rested on his wife’s bosom feeling her heart pace. He felt the wait was worth every minute and life has never been more complete.
Feeling his warmth, Radha asked, “What would you wish the Gods for? A boy or a girl?”
Placing his chin between her life preservers, Bhaskar replied, “I would like to welcome Saraswati. What about you?”
With a smile, Radha replied, “I wish for a girl too. It would be like my elder sister being reborn.”
Recalling how the lack of medical facilities led to her ten-year-old sister die of sickness, Radha curiously asked, “What if the Gods give you a son?”
Thinking about it for a moment, Bhaskar teased, “Looks like madam would, after all, prefer a son.”
Glancing at her husband, Radha laughed before confessing, “It was my father’s wish. He wanted a grandson named Arjun. Though I would love a daughter, I would prefer a boy equally, too.”
Leaning forward, Bhaskar stated, “Arjun? Rather than name our son of an overrated protagonist, I would name him of a fallen antagonist.”
Finishing his sentence, Bhaskar kissed his wife on her neck. When they looked into each other’s eyes, Radha replied, “My husband should certainly read Mahabharat once again. Maybe then, he wouldn’t root for the fallen and realize the reason behind such a fate.”
Listening to her, Bhaskar just smiled. He knew she wasn’t completely wrong.
A moment later, he mentioned, “Honestly Radha, it doesn’t matter who it is. I just hope they are born healthy and continue our bloodline with at least the respect we hold now.”
Radha couldn’t be more glad. Her husband’s words gave her more pleasure than their actions.
Meanwhile, Bhaskar lied on her bosom and closed his eyes before falling asleep. Caressing his hair, Radha closed her eyes too.
For a while, she could see a man in his thirties standing behind them while three young children were playing before them on the floor while she sat beside her husband posing for a picture.
She lived the moment for a few seconds before losing it.
Like most mornings, the moment I opened my eyes, I could see the radium solar system on the ceiling. Observing the blue rings of Saturn, I picked up my phone to check the time to be 6:24.
Walking on the cold marble floor, I reached the living room to find Rahul skimming through the daily Eenadu. As I turned to the kitchen, he informed, “Your coffee is waiting.”
Approaching him, I could see Renisha sleeping in his lap. I kissed him on his cheek before picking up the lukewarm coffee cup on the black table.
As I did, he asked, “Have you thought about her fancy dress competition? We only have a week left.”
Resting on the adjacent sofa, I enquired, “I never get you. You remember her fancy dress competition but don’t even have a clue about my entrance exams.”
With a smile, Rahul folded the daily, before replying, “You’re old enough to take care of yourself but she isn’t.”
With a teasing smile, I enquired, “When did you wake up?”
After a yawn, he replied, “You play with me before you go to sleep and she plays with me after she is done with her sleep.”
With a smile, I replied, “Yet she gets kisses and I get rebuked.”
Observing me, he replied, “I’m not even giving her one-tenth of what your father did for you. What are you complaining about?”
Looking at Renisha asleep, I teased again, “My father didn’t play with me every morning nor did he have the time to let me sleep in his lap.”
Caressing the little one, Rahul replied, “He’s a banker and I’m a software engineer. We start our days and end them at different points in time. I’m sure your evenings were rejoicing and just not television.
Observing the light blue clouds and trees dancing as the cold wind pushed them, Rahul stated, “She’s too young to comprehend what this decision could mean for her.”
Observing Rahul staring out of the window, I nodded in agreement while resting on the sofa. The view from the third-floor was always wonderful and after a moment of silence, I replied, “I agree but without savings, we can neither afford Renisha’s college admission nor buy ourselves a comfortable home. Traveling around as we planned looks difficult as well. Rahul… we have to plan for the long run.”
Turning around patiently while looking at me, Rahul said, “You cannot stomach the fact that we cannot have a lot of what you just mentioned, can you? Your ambitions and aspirations must always be met.”
Knowing the truth, I just replied, “You will thank me for this Rahul. This is for our future. This job offer would keep you away for a couple of years and it would deeply pain you and leave you in isolation... but it would secure us our entire future.”
Continuing to stare at me, he replied, “My daughter is twelve years old Ritu and she needs her father just as much as her father needs her. If I seek money now, I can never forgive myself.”
Without a moment of hesitation, I mentioned, “You wouldn’t forgive yourself too if you’re forced to gift her a loan the moment she starts earning.”
I could see him stay silent for a while before mentioning, “At least… Let’s stay together. We will manage with the expenses.”
Considering the amount of savings, I nodded in disagreement. Observing me, Rahul shouted, “You think you are right, don’t you? When our daughter would start sharing about her personal life to a stranger whom she would love more than us, you would know what you have started.”
Before I spoke another word, he left the room.
As I chopped vegetables, my mother asked, “When will he be returning? It’s been three years you have been living away from each other.”
I just didn’t want to talk about my marriage life and stayed silent. Observing me, she asked, “Ritu, whatever you’re hiding from me doesn’t help either of us.” I stopped chopping before turning to her. She could see it even before I stated, “We haven’t been the same… I think he is in love with another.”
For a moment, I could feel tears in my eyes. My mother for the first time in a while, stayed silent for a few moments.
Looking at her getting worried, I assured, “It’s just a suspicion maa. Rahul mentioned nothing.”
Holding my face in her arms as she wiped my tears, she mentioned, “Wives always know Ritu. You don’t have to lie to me. I should have warned you in advance.”
Looking at her, I defended, “It happens when you are three years all by yourself, ma. You cannot blame Rahul.”
With a smile, she asked, “Then why don’t I see you loving someone else? Don’t defend him Ritu. For me, it doesn’t matter how much you love him.”
For a few moments, silence prevailed before she asked, “Does Renisha know?”
That question broke me again. How could I tell my mother that Renisha speaks with her often and considers her dad’s decision to be fair because I was always a greedy mother who never loved her father after a certain point.
Ten minutes after Rajesh left, Renisha changed her dress before meeting me in the kitchen. The moment she saw me, her first question was, “What do you think of him?”
Continuing to clean dishes, I replied, “He seems good but I would never agree to your marriage.”
The very next moment, she mentioned, “Just as pa predicted. Is it because he doesn’t own enough property or a good job?”
After a moment of hesitation, I nodded in agreement and the very next moment, Renisha declared, “I don’t care!”
Her words reminded me of myself. That’s what I told my father when I brought Rahul home. I even remember my father’s words, “A software engineer from private sector? I rather marry you to a soldier. I’ll be certain of your future.”
As I continued cleaning dishes, Renisha got furious before stating, “I’m not you. I don’t see wealth and I’m marrying him!”
Finishing her sentence, she left to her room and on her way, she continued shouting, “Your greed killed my childhood! Killed my father’s love for you! I’m not going to let it kill my choice of companionship!”
What could I say? With a smirk, I just continued cleaning.
I know these are only a couple of incidents in my life and there are so many others that could be worth sharing. However, I just wanted to tell these few because as hard as it might seem, I’m the stereotypical villain in most movies.
The mother who always disagreed and destroyed everyone’s life in the family. Maybe I’m greedy. Maybe I knew what I was doing would harm me but I still did it.
When I sent my husband away, I knew that would affect our marriage. Yet for our future, I did it. I did it in my own greedy way that I paid my marriage as its price.
That decision reflected on Renisha’s childhood too. It in turn reflected her choice of companionship, thereby earning me a lifetime label; I must admit, I’ve earned.
What I’ve also earnt was loneliness, despair and anti-trust in life. The only force that pushed me was Renisha and no matter what anyone says, I just wish they would consider how much I’ve lost in this too.
I don’t expect anyone to sympathise and I know, I have started this but don’t you think I wouldn’t have felt happy to hug him to sleep every night? Have another child who might say a sentence about me without calling me greedy?
But, worry not ladies and gentlemen, I have given my daughter the education I hoped. I have traveled across the world and I’ve lived!
Every Sunday evening, as soon as Raghav returned from his Lord’s bungalow to his hut, he and his little sister went for a walk. She was three years younger to him and was named Lakshmi. From their hut, they crossed the paddy fields, where Raghav worked occasionally, after which they walked past their Lord’s guest house.
A mile away from this guest house, resided river Champavathi and the closer the siblings got, they noticed that the roads ended first and this was followed by the absence of thatched roofs. They always felt they have entered their mother’s abode which was the dominion of nature.
The siblings always reached the bank before the moon woke up and turned the blazing sky into a black blanket as they loved to witness the change while the river sang.
The river was Goddess Champavathi herself and was worshipped by their mother before fever took her and the goddess’s materialistic form was their father’s livelihood until he was shot by Lord Andrew.
It was a foolish rebellion against his Lord that killed the father and it was his debt that killed his children’s future. As a repayment, Raghav was taken as a slave by the Lord himself.
The siblings were small and thin for their clothes since they had to wear whatever they got at the bungalow. The rest of their expenses were met by the little amount Raghav earned. Once a year, he tried to fulfill a few of his sister’s little wishes like buying her a pair of bangles.
They both had black eyes and brown skin, and whenever Raghav worked in the paddy fields, he was usually covered in the mud until his hips and Lord Andrew barked, “You brown dogs got a fitting job, didn’t you?”
Raghav and Lakshmi never spoke during their walks to the banks because they always saved words for the night. They rested along the banks of the sliding river, played with the water and Raghav often tried his best to catch some fish.
Lakshmi built sandcastles every week, but not one of them survived until next week. When it got dark, Raghav ignited their lantern and Lakshmi always remarked downhearted, “This place reminds me of Amma and Appa... At least, she should have stayed with us after they left.”
“She was given no choice Lakshmi. Believe me, she will return; she adores us.” Raghav affirmed every time before they tread the same path one beside the other in silence while holding hands. On their journey, they re-lived their warm memories of their peaceful past.
The next week, Raghav had to mostly work in the paddy fields. The sun burnt him but, fortunately, he got lucky for two days, when Lord Andrew demanded him to wipe the floors of his bungalow.
Lord Andrew Silverman was the Special Collector sent from Delhi to Visakhapatnam agency to curb the eschewing militancy. It’s been around four months, the last militant was shot dead, so Lord Andrew tortured every Indian rebel he set his eyes on.
Lord Andrew often passed comments of loathing and disgust every time he saw an Indian and Raghav hated listening to the curses every day. However, he knew, if he angered his Lord, he wouldn’t just lose his work but might lose his life too.
One day, while walking out of his room, Lord Andrew saw Raghav cleaning the chandelier. Commanding him to get down, Lord Andrew asked, “My lover is concerned about your future. Tell me, brown worm, what would you want to be if you were given a chance?”
“I... I would like to farm in my land, my Lord,” fumbled Raghav curtsying.
Leaning towards the weakling, Andrew whispered, “I always reward my hounds for their undying loyalty. Prove me you’re one amongst these swine and I’ll help you get some land.”
Finishing his sentence, Lord Andrew left while Raghav couldn’t help, but think of his mother who was snatched away from him. He knew Lord Andrew well enough to not believe a word of what was just said and he also knew he had to be contented with his life.
The next Sunday, during their walk, Raghav and Lakshmi were surprised to see their sandcastle standing tall on the banks of the river. As the river hummed, both of them saw the one they adored and ran towards her.
Embracing them, Ragini laughed. A moment later, Raghav could observe that her saree didn’t cover her shoulders and the skin below her neck. He couldn’t help but think about where she was coming from. Meanwhile, Lakshmi exclaimed, “I knew it was you. I couldn’t believe that the cows didn’t stamp my castle nor the wind ruffled it.”
Soon the three of them lay on the bank of Champavathi, admiring the sky filled with millions of stars while the river hummed and tickled their feet. Ragini was tall, freckled and her eyebrows were perfectly aligned. She was a typical girl from Tanda.
Turning towards her, Raghav asked, “Will you have to leave the village again?”
To which Ragini nodded in disagreement before stating, “Our Lord apparently cannot travel often now to his fort in which I was held. He has important issues to be resolved.”
Ragini’s explanation was followed by Lakshmi enthusiastically shouting, “Then henceforth, we’ll stay in one home!”
As much as Raghav liked the idea, he knew, he could not agree to it. While Raghav looked at the two curved black snakes on her wrist, Ragini replied, “Not yet little one but… one day, we will. When the village doesn’t outlaw me any longer...”
Raghav interrupted, “She has to work after sunset, Lakshmi. She will anyway meet us every Sunday.”
With a smile on her face, Ragini opened the red cloth bag she tied across her waist and gave them two laddus each. As they took them, Ragini mentioned, “Take good care of each other and I will meet you next Sunday.”
As Lakshmi began to eat, Raghav wrapped his sweets in his shirt while Ragini left.
The next few weeks, Ragini visited them and every time she did, she brought laddus and one time, she even brought copper bangles for Lakshmi. For her, they were the only relations she had after Raghav burnt his father’s dead body. As much as she wanted to live with them, her profession made the villagers deny permission and Lord Andrew made the situation even worse.
Every time they met, the three of them rested side by side while their feet touched the river and they gazed at the stars. They talked about everything they knew, built sandcastles and relished each other’s company so much so that every moment was blissful.
That weekend before they left, Ragini instructed Lakshmi to start walking before she informed, “No matter what happens to me. I want you to take this and live in peace.”
Finishing her sentence, Ragini untied her red pouch before placing it into Raghav’s hand. Before Raghav could say a word, she continued, “Mistress is visiting. I’m unsure about my future considering what I’ve heard about her.”
Raghav knew what she meant and without saying a word, he took the pouch and started walking towards his sister. Looking at them for a moment, Ragini left too.
As told, the Lord’s lady visited. She was called Meghan and never spoke to anyone except Andrew. Every sigh of hers was cold, and whenever she crossed Raghav, she tried her best to express disgust by twitching her lips, scowling and calling him names in the presence of Andrew.
That Sunday, Raghav, and Lakshmi waited for Ragini, but she never came. So, they returned home disappointed after building their sandcastles. That night, Raghav couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t help but recall Ragini’s last words.
The next week too, she did not show up. This week, however, Raghav returned to the river banks after leaving his sister behind in the hut and he found no one near their spot except for a dog.
For a couple of weeks, this continued. Lakshmi was convinced that Ragini had again left the village and she stopped joining her brother for a weekly evening walk. Nevertheless, Raghav continued to travel and two times every week just to make sure he doesn’t miss the opportunity to meet her.
Five weeks later, when Raghav reached the banks late night, he saw a group of people standing in silence while Meghan was kicking Ragini as she moaned in pain.
“You shameless wench! How dare you confound my husband!” Meghan shrieked.
“Your pain finally pleasures me after my hound’s repeated failures in searching you for five weeks now!”
Raghav could also see Lord Andrew standing beside his mistress helpless and not interfering. He knew trying to help now would cost him his life.
“You slept with a brown whore?” she turned to Andrew, “What kind of man are you? Has she got anything better than me?”
Andrew Silverman, the Lord, stood with his mouth shut gaping at his furious wife.
“Oh, nice, round and firm right?” Meghan barked in disgust.
“Shoot her legs!” she commanded and one of the policemen standing next to Lord Andrew, obeyed and shot Ragini on her right leg.
“Die in this darkness while your village is asleep,” Meghan roared in anger, “don’t you forget to be thankful. If this was daytime, you will have to satisfy a couple more creeps before your final breath.”
Raghav could see Lord Andrew was out-voiced by his woman. Before the company left, Meghan kicked Ragini for one last time.
It was a couple of hours to sunrise and Ragini was on the cot before she closed her eyes. Aiding her until the cot, Raghav rushed to the local healer to plead him for help. After the bullet was taken out, Raghav paid the healer from the red pouch before touching his feet for helping them at such an hour.
Without saying a word, the healer left before Raghav and Lakshmi fell asleep. Before the sun even completely woke up, Raghav woke up and changed his shirt to rags before rushing to the bungalow.
Reporting to work, Raghav was summoned an hour later. Standing before Lord Andrew, Raghav didn’t say a word. Approaching him, Andrew whispered, “Prove me your loyalty brown worm. Continue to aid my lover in your shelter which is beyond the reach of my devil’s suspicion until I reclaim her and you will be a landlord within a fortnight.”
Recalling his Lord’s words, Raghav returned home to find Lakshmi feeding Ragini. For a moment, silence triumphed until Ragini questioned, “Doesn’t he want me back? That’s exactly why yesterday’s meeting was placed in our spot.”
Raghav nodded before Ragini pleaded, “Don’t fight him for me. Your father paid his life doing that and I have no one left if not for you both.”
Looking at her, Raghav asked, “You want me to sell my mother for an unseen future of comfort?”
As Raghav continued, “I’ve done that once being feeble and unable to help but now I mustn’t.”
Ragini’s eyes were filled with tears. She knew why children were Gods themselves. They see people for what they are than what they could be.
Comprehending that the trouble was with the Lord, Lakshmi asked, “How about we leave this village?”
Thinking about it, Ragini replied, “Even if you are willing to leave all your possessions and run away, where will we go? Andrew will hunt us down.”
In a trembling voice, Raghav replied, “If we fail, we die. If we succeed in finding a new home, we can be liberated from his hell. Don’t you think it’s a small price to pay?”
Oh, mountain! Oh, mountain! How giant and majestic you are In thou, I see an old but a stern man Standing tall, holding the values conquered in life Like the trees and stones, you hold, You make me feel timid From you, I learned there is no such thing which can quench my soul as you can From you, I learned life is beyond prejudice and inhibitions Oh, mountain! Oh, mountain! You make me feel so small but yet so strong that I could see the sunshine beyond. From you, I learned a few things that hold still in life. The way you stand alone amidst rain, snow, and sunshine Looking at you sometimes I fail to think about how you manage to engulf us in your arms. From the river which flows from you narrate the stories of your pride. They teach us to move on and to never stand by fright. In you I see an old man losing the teeth like the landslide. Oh, mountain! Oh, mountain! Engulf me in your arms so that I may never lose these sights.