It was a school holiday. I had grabbed Achan's big black umbrella and ran out into the rain after rushing through a breakfast of puttu mixed with ripe padayamkulam banana and sugar.
Amma called out something. It was drowned in the rain.
A chilly wind swept over me, while the rain pitter pattered on my umbrella. I walked faster. My skirt and shirt getting drenched by the rain that was blown in by the wind. At the side of the road, Madhavan's cow grazed, oblivious to the rain. Its dung lay like greenish brown cakes ,on the grass , pitted by the rain.
I climbed through the fence and entered the Madan tharavad.
The ground was soggy due to the rain. I was worried about the snakes, since their usual haunts would have been flooded. I stepped gingerly over the debris. I reached the veranda of the illum. The remains of its roof offered a respite from the downpour. I kept the umbrella open , as I walked into the illum. Mini water falls from the roofs had flooded the insides.
I looked for Maya everywhere in the illum and could not find her. The old store room laid empty and open to the nature. Water was pooling on the floor , her bedding and the pathayam soaked. I wanted to call out to her but knew that I would not get any answers.
I walked towards the temple. She could have taken shelter under the banyan tree.
The monsoon had darkened the sky. A lightening flashed across, illuminating the illum in a blinding white , followed closely by the loud clap of thunder, startling me.
I reached the banyan tree. She was not there.
I looked around frantically. There was no place for her to go to; to hide from this rain. One part of my mind reminded me that she has survived many monsoons before my acquaintance, with out any help.
The ottupurra in the village temple?
No, she would not risk being seen.
The tharavad pond. The enclosure had a roof and the parapet would offer a good place away from the rain.
Yes. She would probably be watching the rain fall in the pond. I made my way to the pond.
Something made me stop as i neared the enclosure.
Some one was calling out her name.
I cautiously walked towards the voice.
There was someone standing outside the ponds entrance.
I stayed hidden in the midst of the estate, the rain concealing my presence, while I watched.
The lone figure stood outside, exposed to the rain, his back to me. Grey matted locks of hair was piled above his head in a large knot. In one arm he held a trident, around the neck of which was tied a black cloth that hung limp wet.
He stood stark naked.
A naga sanyassi.
'Maya' He called again.
From within the enclosure Maya emerged out, hesitatingly to the open wooden door. She stood by the door looking with the same emotionless eyes at the man that stood drenched in the thulavarshum rain.
'Maya' he addressed her, there was calmness in that voice. A confidence. As if this naked old man owned the universe. 'Come'
Maya stepped out into the rain . She stood facing the fearsome figure.
'I have come to you as Brahman' I heard him say.
'Swami' Maya whispered. Her face contorted as if in agony. The rain mercifully washed her tears as it emerged.
The sanyassi, stepped towards Maya and gently removed the thin towel that served as her anga vastram and dropped it to the ground.
Then he reached and undid her mundu, letting it fall.
Maya stood naked before him.
He then put forth his cupped palms and let the rain collect in it. This he poured over Maya Anthurjanam's head. Anointing her.
He placed the open palms on her head and chanted :
Guru Brahmo , guru vishnu, guru devo mahaswara
Guru sakshal parabh brahmo tastmai sree guruve namaha
Maya kneeled and touched the feet of the sanyassi. He helped her to her feet.
I backed off from where I stood and started walking towards the path that lead to the fence. The rain had eased. Drops of rain , trapped in the leaves of the trees dripped down. I looked back.
They were no longer there.
All that remained were the pile of Maya Anthujanam's mundu and thorthu lying in the mud being soaked by the gentle rain.
Guru brahmo... : Guru is the creator Brahma, Guru is the preserver Vishnu, Guru is the destroyer Siva. Guru is directly the supreme spirit — I offer my salutations to this Guru
thorthu : a thin cotton towel.