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The TamBrahm

January 23, 2009

Like the incessant wave that erodes the soil from the river bank, Natarajan Dīkshitar too felt the relentless pain gnaw at his heart.
For the last forty years, he had been watching the world around him as an impassive spectator. That was because his life was restricted to just 40 acres of land. He had put all his energies over the last twenty years in the worship of his lord in his temple. He had missed food on multiple occasions, fought his way through storms and rain, battled sickness but had never missed the puja schedule.
He did all this not because of a sense of duty but just because of pure unadulterated faith. Being a Dīkshitar, this was what he had grown up watching and this was what he wanted to do from a young age and though the community was decreasing in number and faith, he still had forged ahead with an iron resolve.

It was a hot morning in the little town called Chidambaram and Natarajan had just finished his puja of his beloved lord Shiva and he had some spare time with him. The years of hard work in the temple had taken its toll on his body. Though he did have a few niggles here and there, the stress that he had in his life had debilitated him to a great extent.
As a spectator, he watched from the sidelines as the Dravidian movement spread right across the state and he knew the implications of that. He was not bothered that much as after all; he was in the chamber of God. He kept telling the other priests that, in front of his Shivan’s Tandavam, Karunanidhi was nothing.

But in the last two years, his world had come crashing down. First of all, it was the mandate by the High Court that Tamil could be used for chanting the sacred Devaram inside the temple that had crushed him. He had fought that decision of the court with all his strength but he found the government totally lacking in interest. For Natarajan, tradition was everything and he did live his life by a certain code and from 2008, he found that his lifestyle had changed thanks to these infidels.
What brought an even bigger change to his soul was his very own son. Natarajan had always been the doting father. It was taken for granted that Ananth would continue the family tradition of a thousand years of being a Dīkshitar and he had taught his son everything about the scriptures.

But last week, Ananth had surprised all his family members and announced that he was going to Chennai to take up a job and that he was inspired to join a political party!!!
Natarajan was totally shocked at this change of heart by this young bloke!! After all, Ananth was taught all the Vedas and was brought up to believe that service to God was like attaining moksha!!!! That shock was later replaced by a deep sorrow that made Natarajan restless and unhappy.
So this morning for the puja, he had prayed that extra harder to Shiva as this was the day that his only son would be going to Chennai. As he was wallowing in self pity, he could see his beloved son come up to him.
Good morning Appa”, beamed Ananth with a big smile. He was dressed fashionably with the vesthi worn in a rakish manner. Long limbed, tall, dark with eyes that held an infinite sparkle, he looked like sakshaath Shivan himself, to his father’s eyes.

Natarajan’s eyes swelled up with tears and in that last minute attempt pleaded, “Do you have to go payya. This is our tradition that this family has been following for a thousand years. You cannot do this to us”.

There was this look of compassion on his son’s face and after a gap of a few seconds, Ananth said, “Appa, We all believe in something that we want, something that takes us forward. I have all the respect in the world, for what you do and your ideals but unfortunately, mine don’t match.”

But payya, Service to God is something that we all have to do. It is our dharma, our birthright, our very existence. You are an Iyer, remember that”, negated Natarajan.

My dear dad, you have taught me well, everything about life, the scriptures, the Vedas and the Puranas but I unfortunately interpret them to mean that; service to man, is like service to God. All of us in life, we need to follow a dharma, your way or my way, it does not matter. All that matters is that we carry forward into the next generation, a change. A change for the good; a change for the better, a change so that every human lives peacefully living his life to the fullest. Your ways as sacred as they may be, are not for me and hence, I am going forward in my chosen path and I need your blessing, appa”, retorted Ananth.

Natarajan had no other option but to bless his son who was making a mark for himself.

With that, his only son, his twenty something son walked out the temple into the bright day in his chosen path. He walked confidently, a careless ease, eyes sparkling with hope, a mischief in his smile and with a confidence that stems from the fact that he knew what he was doing!!!
and Natarajan watched as his only son, faded away into the crowd.

Links to this post: IHM on why she thinks that traditions are not that great.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. hitch writer permalink
    January 24, 2009 5:30 am

    I guess the son has a right to choose his way of life.

    As much as the father followed his traditions and wanted his son to follow them, he still was very liberal to allow his son to go his merry way when he could not convince him.

    So I guess all actually were happy at the end. Even Natrajan !!

    am i right ? Ajit..

  2. Ajit permalink
    January 24, 2009 5:33 am

    you are absolutely right dude…. 🙂
    I wanted a happy ending to the story… LOL

  3. hitch writer permalink
    January 24, 2009 6:41 am

    At times I am unnecessarily worried if I understand things correctly … whew !!

    thanks for the certificate..

  4. Bones permalink
    January 24, 2009 7:20 am

    I agree with hitch writer…Children have a right to choose and should be allowed to do so…It is the parents’ duty to educate their children not to force them to do what they want them to do…

    I too hope this story has a happy ending…

  5. Ajit permalink
    January 24, 2009 8:01 am

    hehehe 😛 hitchwriter….

    yeah bones, the story did have a happy ending….
    but in real life, we still need to implement it 😛

  6. Usha Pisharody permalink
    January 24, 2009 8:16 am

    Glad that there was enough learning and wisdom in the father to bless his son, as he chose his path for Service to God! Even if he did not agree, he accepted… which I wish more people in this world would do..:)

    Nice one!

  7. Ajit permalink
    January 24, 2009 8:17 am

    thanks usha!!!!
    and the father had enough common sense as well 😛

  8. J P Joshi permalink
    January 24, 2009 3:06 pm

    A wonderful story. Ajit, sometimes i wonder….are you in the wrong profession?

    What is a parent’s job? To provide love, physical, physcological, moral, and financial support to the offspring until the offspring are able to strive out on their own. And then bless them to make what they want of their life. Beautifully put down in this story. Loved it. Thank you.

  9. Indian Home Maker permalink
    January 24, 2009 4:58 pm

    Ajit I love this story!

    Hats off to this wonderful father … you managed to convey his pain and pride both so well. And also his love for his son!

    I have always felt that stories can make more impact than any write ups, because stories are also a leisure activity and all the time you are wondering ‘What happened next’, …before you have realised you are agreeing with the author!

    Thanks for sharing this !!!

  10. Ajit permalink
    January 24, 2009 8:51 pm

    Thanks JPJ,

    I really really appreciate it…
    Am I in the wrong profession….
    I dont actually know 😛

    Yo IHM, Thanggg you …. 🙂

  11. Winnie the poohi permalink
    January 25, 2009 3:05 am

    Ah lovely story 🙂

    It is always hard for anyone who lived their life by tradition to try not to convert a rebel back in their folds..

    The father was sensitive to the change and let go.. thats the best part of it 🙂

    btw: Love your blog url too!

    quintessential hope 🙂

  12. Ajit permalink
    January 25, 2009 3:32 am

    Thanks winnie… 😛
    yeah, i wanted the ending to be a good one 😛
    and yes, I try and live with Hope
    Thanks for dropping by….

  13. Indyeah permalink
    January 25, 2009 1:23 pm

    What a story!My kind!All’s well that ends well…:)

    Yes,as so many have said….even if he did not agree ,he still accepted his son’s choice…….
    and you portrayed a father’s dilemna beautifully…

    you write and how!!:)A writer lurks inside …
    let him out more often..:)

  14. Solilo permalink
    January 25, 2009 4:51 pm

    I believe “Good upbringing doesn’t mean that parents make choices for us. It is to teach children how to face life, how to be accountable for your own actions.”

    and your story suggests the same. The father let the child go finally believing in him. But you are right it is still not so easy.

    I agree with Indyeah! you have a good writer lurking in you. I noticed that at IHM’s Dutt rhymes post and wanted to tell you the same. Let it out 🙂

  15. Ajit permalink
    January 25, 2009 9:04 pm

    Thanks Indyeah and Solilo,
    you guys just made my day… 🙂

    and Solilo, that was a good one..
    Good parenting makes the child accountable for his/her actions….

  16. Anurag permalink
    January 26, 2009 7:11 am

    wonderfully crafted story ajit with a definite meaning for one and all.. listen to the world but follow your heart.. that’ll be YOUR happy ending 🙂

  17. Happy Kitten permalink
    January 26, 2009 11:07 am

    That was a great story and you are a great story teller too..and you have given the moral of the story gently with much sensitivity….

  18. kanaguonline permalink
    January 26, 2009 3:53 pm

    very well written with the slight tone of message under way.. I loved this one.. words are perfect and I could feel how it would be to a father when his son moves out of his profession and choosing his own way..
    Once again a great story which tells about the traditional values of our country.. superb 🙂

  19. Ajit permalink
    January 26, 2009 5:30 pm

    Thanks Anurag, happy kitten and Kanagu… 🙂

    Thanks a lot actually…

  20. Quirky Indian permalink
    January 27, 2009 5:50 am

    Good story, Ajit. And you brought out the pain of the father very well. But he is a good father.

    We all have to make our own way in life.

    Quirky Indian

  21. Ajit permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:16 am

    Thanks dude

  22. Chirag permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:48 am

    Freedom to choose, Matters. May be its better to correct a society by being a change agent that paring for one.

  23. Ajit permalink
    January 27, 2009 7:37 am

    yes, absolutely agree…
    if we all be the changes we want to see, then the world would be a better place…..
    in india, we definately need a change of guard, from the old to the new….

  24. L. Venkata Subramaniam permalink
    January 27, 2009 1:24 pm

    Interesting thought. I guess these boys have to leave anyway because there arent enough temples to accommodate them all?

    Also i am sure only the very devout would like his son to work in a temple. Most would prefer that their sons become engineers and doctors, which they have become.

    Anyway i understand you are trying to make a deeper point than that.

  25. Ajit permalink
    January 27, 2009 5:46 pm

    Also i am sure only the very devout would like his son to work in a temple

    that is why I took the case of the Dīkshitars… the most orthodox of the lot… 😛

  26. thethoughtfultrain permalink
    June 26, 2009 1:05 pm

    Loved this story. The way you spun it is so much like “Chandamama’s Vikram Betal style.” I was kind of expecting the Betal to ask the question to Vikramaditya to keep his head intact !!
    PS: Sorry for the delayed comments. BTW I hopped in here from Winnie’s review of your site and it took me to Blogspot. I had written the comments when I saw that you have moved to WP. So copy pasted the comment here!
    OG: Thank you so much 😛 I really appreciate it……..
    maybe I need to ask winnie to correct the links 😛

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