asked the surprised old man, my downstairs neighbor, when I told him gleefully that I was just back from a trip to Tiruvannamalai.
'Not only did I enjoyed myself thoroughly, even the boy had a whale of a time. We went for an early morning inner pradakshina, which ended on a bullock cart. Then we climbed halfway up the Mountain during the solar eclipse and a fellow selling small stone mountains showed us the moon-like sun in the reflection of a pot filled with dark, ink water.' I replied.
'I see.' he said, not convinced at all. 'Isn't this the same place that Ramana Maharshi lived?'
'Yes, Uncle. Same to same. Ramana loved that Mountain so much that he didn't leave it for a day even. He founded the special fevicol that stuck him to Arunachala for his entire life. All the restlessness was over for him. In fact, this special fevicol is available in Ramana ashram. All you need to do is walk around the samadhi a few times, and Bingo!'
'I see.' he said, wondering if I am the same nice woman who gives him prasad every Wednesday. This man badly needs to read my novel, I thought. Maybe I will gift him a copy.
'How come you came here only for a couple of days?' another duffer asked me in Tiru.
'To look at the Mountain.' I replied.
'That is my mantra. Look at the mountain, look at the mountain, look at the Maaunton!' I chanted, lest she start eating my head.
Lord, save me from the monkeys who don't know adrak ka swaad. I mean, I wear a rudraksh mala to declare that I am His servant, that I know nothing better than to love him. What more can I do to avoid being asked, 'But, did you enjoy yourselves?'
For those of you who are silently accusing me of fanaticism, please hear this song. If it can happen to Rajesh Khanna, why not me?