This time let us travel back to our childhood. I literally did that while visiting this village in north India. Candy floss, cotton candy, fairy floss, by whatever name you call it, still invokes the feelings of wonder in children. At least it certainly was doing so in that village. Just look at the face of this girl, her expressions says it all. The joy of watching the sugar turning into a fluffy ball, the expectation of a magic to unfold is so apparent.


My memories from my childhood brings back a bit fading image of a thin man with a box of transparent glass hanging from a wide belt on his shoulder. Ah, those glistening balls of baby pink and lemon yellow. No stick was attached to them and as the man walked on the street the box shook a bit with his movement and so did flicker the shining of the balls. More than the taste, holding that fluffy feather weight ball on palm and watching it sparkling in sunlight transported me to joyland. At that time perhaps the machine of turning sugar into the fluffy ball had not been devised or may be those were the times when everything was not so bare and open hence the feeling of wonder was intact.

I found this candyman with his machine on a hand cart, preparing the floss infront of children.And the best part was that feeling of wonder ,of magic unfolding has not lessened with the time.


the sugar in the container about to be turned into floss





And..HOW? is writ large on those innocent faces…


Uff! wait is too much,


finally the joy of holding it in hands…

As I grow older I really feel that the joys, that childhood has given me are the best ones.

I will love to end this post by a quote by Elizabeth Lawrence–

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”

So relish and enjoy the child within you. A very happy new year to you. This one is my first post of 2019 here.

All pictures by Sunder Iyer

Hampi in Karnataka, India is an UNESCO site, a site of rich heritage of sculpture, architecture, culture and history. Hampi, the glorious capital of  the great Vijayanagara empire.The area of about 26 sq, Km. is studded with ruins of temples, small  and grand temples. Many of these are restored to great extent and others might have been buried under the ground completely destroyed.

Among this large bevy of magnificent temples Virupaksha temple holds a special place due to many reasons.

Virupaksha temple , we can trace it back to our mythological references. Hemkuta hills on which this temple is located is said to be the place where Lord Shiva was doing his penance[ tapsya, dhyan] when Kamdev, God of love disturbed Him in order to help the local girl Pampa who was deeply in love with the lord and wanted to marry Him. Pampa was ultimately successful in impressing Lord by her severe penance and deep devotion and He agreed to marry her but in the process Kamdev had to bear the burnt of Shivas anger and that too literally. Shiva opened His third eye in anger and Kamdev turned into ashes. So here Shiva opened His third eye. Does it have any relation with Shiva being worshiped here as Virupaaksha? Aksha means eye, Virup means formless- formless eye. In deeper sense it refers to consciousness — seeing without eyes, feeling without skin, means absorbing everything without the help of sense organs and that is the state of yoga samidhi. On these hills Shiva was in samadhi awastha.

The recorded history of this temple is from seventh century A.D. Inscriptions from ninth century are still there in temple premises. The inner sanctum of temple is older than the Vijayanagara empire. This temple has a history of active worship of more than 2000 years.It is believed that despite various attacks, destruction of mighty Vijayanagar empire, ravages of Hampi in the hands of time, the puja, archna in the temple continued uninterrupted. This in itself is very reassuring. It strengthens our faith in the Super being, the divine entity.

Exterior of temple-—The east facing gate is the main gate of the temple. In front of it is about one kilometer long bazar with shops on both the sides of wide path. The lines of colonnaded shop reflect on the great planning skills of the people in power at that time. At the end of the Bazar there sits a giant monolithic Nandi on high platform facing the temple. In Lepakshi too the big monolithic Nandi sits about a kilometer away from Virupaksha temple. What could have been the thought behind this? Why Nandis were not made just in front of the temples or inside the temples? In Brihdeshwara, Tanjore too the Nandi idol is mammoth but it is inside the temple. Though placed under a separate canopy, on a separate high raised platform but inside temple premises just outside the door leading to Garbhgrah but in these two Virupaksha temples they are placed at a distance. Does it have anything to do with this particular form of Shiva?

Gopuram of Virupaksha temple – The gopura on the bazar side was under renovation when we visited Hampi. However even the horizontally, vertically rods fitted all around the lofty gopura were not able to mar the grandeur, the majesty of the nine storied gopura. Another gopura is on the tank side. This too is built almost in the same style and grandeur. The progressively narrowing figure of gopuram is built of brick and mortar. there are exquisitely sculpted characters and figures on the lower tiers of the nine story Gopuram. In every storey in the middle is a small door like open structure. Somebody told that there is provision of going to the top of the Gopuram, May be there are stairs inside the structure. Not sure about that. just a thought. On the top of Gopuram there are two horn like projections at each end and in the middle is placed Kalash.



The shape of Gopuram always remind me of hands with folded palms. The entire structure as if speaks on behalf of us…. we send our reverential salutations to Almighty, up there.




This is Kanakgiri gopura side of the temple, the holy tank side of the temple. I spent an evening on it’s bank. The still waters of the tank with reflection of Gopura nestled close to it’s heart appeared to say a clear heart is the abode of the sacred and pious entities. How pacifying and calming was it’s impact. Far and wide the distant blue horizon invited one to drop all the binding chains and soar high with stretched wings and light heart to pastures unknown. The deep waters of tank locked the gaze and took it deep up to the core of the being. These are the moments when I forget that I exist.

Kalyan Madapam


This Mandapam in the temple courtyard with carved pillars and painted ceiling is an exquisite example of the impeccable skills of artists of the Vijayanagar empire period. This mandapam is said to be the contribution of one of the most famous king of Vijayanagar empire, Krishnadeva Raya. It is known as Kalyan Mandapam or Rang Mandapam. The mythological figures carved on the pillars, the carving on the panels above the pillars and the colourful depiction of various mythological anecdotes leave one spellbound.Such treasures of our rich heritage not only fascinate us but prompt us to explore more, to learn more, to go deeper.



A closure look of the paintings on the ceiling of the mandapam. The colours still retain their brightness though centuries have passed.



Another look of the Kalyan Madapam






Second Courtyard

A small three tiered gopura leads us to the second courtyard of the temple. The outer and the first courtyard houses architecturally beautiful structures but this second courtyard houses the soul of the temple. Not only the main shrines of Virupaksha Shiva, the consort of the local goddess  Pampa[ pampa is associated with river Tungbhadra] but also many shrines are fitted in between the collonaded pathway encircling the courtyard. Even when the day is sparkling blue and gold outside certain niches and antechambers in this section are dusky with some sun rays filtering  in at some places. A small shrine tucked in the wall, a lone deepak burning steady, devotees sitting here and there engrossed in their own inside world– the entire area pulsate with deep positive energy. You sit quietly with your eyes closed for few minutes and the murmurs of tourists gradually turns into whispers and then a complete silence engulfs you and a little blue glow suffused your inside. The pervading energy makes you feel secured and protected , a feeling of being in womb.






















Some other deities are Bhuvaneshwari, Pataleshwara, Navgrah, Nagas, and Ganesha, Hanumana

There are some shrines outside Kanakgiri Gopura, on the side of tank.



The inverted  shadow image of the gopura on the wall of one of the ante image is another attraction of the temple. The pin hole camera effect.The shadow falls on the wall which is close to the rear end of the temple, quite far away from the entry gopura.




Another special feature of the temple is a big kitchen and the water connectivity system here. Water from river Tungbhadra was carried directly to the the temple kitchen through underground canal system. I am not very sure whether the system is functional presently or not but the network of pipelines can be seen.

The annual chariot festival celebrated in February every year and marriage festivity activities of Virupaksha and Pampa too take place with great fervor.


Visiting Virupaksha temple at Hampi was an enriching experience for me in more than one way. It took me back to glorious pages of history of my land, my race and strengthened my being like that tree whose roots go deep inside earth and it faces the rough weather with  faith on bonds that hold it firmly.

All the pictures by Sunder Iyer (more…)

poojas on ghats



These kids on Ghats of Varanasi, engrossed in offering jal [water] to Shivalinga, made me  think… what would have been their thoughts about God, worship or prayers. I felt they have imbibed it as a part of life, part of belief system from the elders in the family and the people around them. The unquestioning trust…. the purest form of devotion.



The lady here is performing ‘Tulsi Vivah’. Tulsi is the herbal medicinal plant Basil but it is considered to be a sacred plant by Hindus. The plant is worshiped like Goddess in Hindu households. Lighting a lamp near tulsi plant every evening is a ritual followed by almost every Hindu family. Tulsi Vivah celebration in the month of Kartik, specially on Ekadasi is considered to be very auspicious by Hindus all over India. On ghats of Varanasi during last five days of Kartik month this ceremony is conducted by many groups of women. There is a mythological story related to this ritual.



On several places on ghats we observed these squares made by flour. These were divided by twenty five smaller squares. These were kind of Chauk. On some places pulses, rice and other seasonal grains with colored cloth pieces were kept in each square while at other places flowers and sweets were kept. We could not ascertain the significance of this ritual but even then it filled the heart with a kind of reassurance. Unnamed, unknown it might be but faith can always be felt inside our souls.



The moments of silent communication with God — serene and peaceful. Prayers , the bridge of kinship with Lord.



From the depth of slumber,
As I ascend the spiral stairway of wakefulness,
I whisper
God, God, God!

When boisterous storms of trials shriek
And worries howl at me,
I drown their noises, loudly chanting
God, God, God!

by Paramhans Yoganand

All pics by Sunder Iyer.
Dev Deepawali …. 2016.

Rangoli, Alpana, Kolam,Muggulu, Puvidal, Mandana , Chauk….. you can call it by any name but different patterns adorned on ground on various auspicious occasions all over India speak one language and that is of celebration, welcome and devotion.

In South India drawing the geometrical patterns at the entrance and Pooja room is a daily ritual. Different states have specific design patterns for specific occasions and specific Gods too. In South India these patterns are drawn with dry powder or wet paste of rice powder while in North India it is made with dry wheat flour. With the passage of time various other mediums are also being used to draw Rangolis. Innovations and experiments with new design patterns are also seen but the spirit of these motifs still reverberate on the same tune.

The design galore on ghats of Varanasi on Dev Deepawali day was spectacular.The magnificent display of patterns, designs, colors and lights was mesmerizing.Ghats after ghats one could see old ladies to young girls busy in drawing designs, filling those with colors, decorating with diyas.  Witnessing  three generations involved enthusiastically to fill the world with beauty and sacredness gave a deep reassuring feel. Air was filled with Shlokas, Bhajans.Innumerable lighted earthen lamps in flower bowls floated slowly, rhythmically, steadily on quiet Ganges. These tiny dots of light on wide  waters of holy river bathed in inky darkness filled the heart with gratitude and peace. Big round moon in the sky smiled benevolently  as if granting boon.


































All pics by Sunder Iyer.

Few days ago I got to spend few hours with this ninety two year old gentleman with varied experiences of life. He takes care of this ages old temple but does not hold a good opinion of so called Sadhus and babas. He prefers to communicate with we grahasth [family] persons, who according to him happen to be more enriched spiritually.
He lived with Sri Govind Ballabh Pant, the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, when he practiced as an advocate and Our country was under British rule.He started his first government job with salary of Rs forty per month, did his char dham yatra on foot from Haridwar.He shared lots of memories of the days when entry of Indians was banned in Hazaratganj after four P.M. as that was the time British offiicials and their families used to come there for enjoying their evenings.He also shared how there was scarcity of educated people and posts in government offices, seats in higher educational courses lay vacant for want of candidates.
This temple where he now resides is ages old. He told us that no body knows who built it originally. years ago it lay surrounded by dense forest on the bank of river. Dacoits, bandits and freedom fighters too took shelter here.When he arrived here then also it was surrounded by dense forest and forty to forty five snake couple resided in the vicinity…and why not after all it is an ancient shrine of Lord Shiva.It is said that plastering of the temple structure has been done by the mixture of Urad dal [ black lentil] pulp of Ber [ indian plum / jujubi] and chasani [syrup of Gur[jaggery]

Talking to him was like turning pages of a old history book nay more interesting and enthralling. He created wonderful imagery while narrating his travel experiences of mountains and the underlying spiritual essence provided hope and strength.














All pictures by Sunder Iyer.

This time in Varanasi we stayed very near to Harishchandra Ghat and invariably spent evenings sitting on the steps of the ghat. Taking a seat on the steps of Ghat and watching the life and death happening around you is an incredible experience. Usually in all other cities the crematoriums are kept away from the bustling life around by erecting high walls etc. Death is not allowed to be mingled with life but in Varanasi it’s entirely different. Here life and death co-exist.

Boys played cricket on the steps and their boisterous shouting echoed in the atmosphere intermittently, hawkers sold their items, groups of people sat sipping tea, playing cards, tourists and pilgrims walked across continuously and in close proximity a pyre was lit, the flames leapt into the air, sparks sprang around and a body was being disintegrated into ashes. Family members stood around waiting while other mourners sat silently on the steps. Another corpse lay on the earth near water, wrapped in white cloth.  Relatives stood near it while woods were being piled to get the pyre ready. A crowd of people with a corpse wrapped in red saree were descending the steps.  A boat laden with logs of woods was drifting in waters towards Manikarnika Ghat perhaps. The ashen grey sky on the other bank of the river appeared to be closing in. Watching all this some how I did not feel disturbed, rather a feel of calm acceptance slowly spread within. Watching a corpse burn away on the ghats as if is like burning away the fear. It’s like burning away the trash, the apprehension piled inside. My own reaction left me intrigued rather than disturbed.

Why was it so?  Why I felt differently about death there on the ghats of Varanasi. Perhaps because here death is not shunned. It’s not kept apart. The smells of death here mingle inseparably with the smells of life. Death is here for everybody to see and life along ghats move on, gazing at the subtle smoke rising from the funeral pyre I was getting attuned to death. Ever presence of death midst the bustling life initiate us to confront/face our morality. It did not scare me. It did not frighten me rather this ever exposure to death somehow felt like preparing me to accept our transient morality. It initiates us to face the reality. Encourage us to live life to it’s fullest. To embrace life in a way where it is not consumed by the fear of death.

Varanasi is a place where people come to breathe their last. It is a staunch Hindu belief that dying here in Varanasi ensures freedom from the cycles of rebirth. Hindus from far and near arrive here and await their end. Some go on with their daily routine of taking bath in the holy river, praying and worshiping while waiting for the end. Others, who are too weak and incapacitated just keep lying and praying to Lord to free them from the bondage of life.

Here we learn to live side by side with death while everywhere else we run away from death. Here death for us is not merely an abstract concept but  a visually real presence. Death is deeply ingrained in everyday life.

The diesel fumes belched out of engines of wooden boats carrying laughing and enjoying tourists mix with the smoke rising from the funeral pyre, the rituals of getting blessings of mother Ganges by newly wed couples are performed side by side the cremation somehow imparts the essential meaning of life…the harmony in juxtaposition.

Karl jung said when man’s conscious thinking is in harmony with the deep truths of unconscious revealed in mythology, fear of death is no longer overwhelming. Being comfortable with one’s own morality one can release the anxiety of death.


and I felt perhaps liberation means being free from the anxiety of death. Varanasi  truly does liberate.

for nam12



for nam10


for nam6


for nam5

Manikarnika Ghat also known as mahashamshan. literally means huge crematorium



for nam8

on Harishchandra ghat in front of a temple of goddess this fire burn continuously perhaps a pyre symbolically


for nam7



for nam9


stairs leading to the idol of goddess above. Dogs are always present here. Looking at them I remembered the story of king Harishchandra.The ghat is dedicated to this king. When Satyavadi raja Harishchandra gave away his whole kingdom and had to work as an assistant to a dome[a person looking after the affairs at the cremation ground}, a faithful dog always gave him company. Are these dogs still keeping on the tradition of their ancestor……



for nam11

Boat carrying logs for pyre……death making a way for living

for nam2


for nam1

show must always go on

for nam3



Shiva’s Kashi


All the pictures courtsey Sunder Iyer.









I stand there decked in all finery. The glittering starry lights drape my exterior. Today from rooftop to the ground floor every room,hall is brightly lit.  Bright colored festoons adorn each door . Rich thick rows of red roses and sparkling yellow marigolds  adorn the freshly painted grand front door. Fast dance numbers are continuously blaring out of the music system installed in the open courtyard near the gate. Rustling silks,glittering jewelry,booming laughter, teasing giggles— every atom of my being is reverberating with joy and happiness. I am brimming with life still deep down there in the dark interiors of earth the stones of my foundations are moist with the  unshed tears remembering the hands ,who laid down them some 25 years back with so much love and dreams.

The hands of my first master,who converted a patch of rough land into a home for his family. He must have been a young man in his late 20s when he started giving shape to me brick by brick,inch by inch. I still remember how enthusiastic, choosy and particular was he about each and every specification. He wanted his home to be just perfect. Loosing his parents at a very young age he never had his own home since he could remember.  Being shunted from one to another relative as per their convenience and needs every time a new wall rose around  him  and he coiled in the dark corners of his being. No body could fathom his craving for a little bit of stability, a small quiet niche for himself. His heart was full of muted cries,suppressed emotions . No body had an inkling of the passive storm raging in his heart. He heard quietly the discussions among the relatives of their being full of kindness and humanity to take care of an orphaned child. But that was not the whole truth. However he was very young and knew that to survive in the world he needs the shelter of his uncles and aunts. but all this time with clenched teeth and fiery determination he waited for his growing up ,his completing education.

The day he joined the bank, he felt that his dream of having his own home is about to be realized. Even before he became eligible for housing loan he started looking for a plot in a good location. He wanted to settle for the best in his means. And then he finalized this east facing piece of land in the upcoming colony. It was just few steps away from the central road of the colony.just perfect as it being away from the main road, the peace and privacy will be intact and in the future his own family will enjoy the facilities and conveniences of being near to the the main road. How he deliberated over all the finer details while chalking the future  plans for  his home.

How I came to know about all his these dreams and thoughts ? I know, you are thinking that I had not come to my being at that time. Right you are . but from the day the foundation stone was laid down he bared his soul to the earth and air of the place. The unshared pain, the agony of the loss of his parents all the torturous memories he tried to bury deep under my foundation and started dreaming about a bright future as the walls started rising.

By the time the structure of the three room set of the ground floor was erected ,he had another good news to share with me. His marriage to a girl of well established family has been finalized. I can still recall the happy note of his voice while he discussed a bit altered plan of my lay out and design with the mason- in- charge. He wanted to add one more room as this girl had two younger sisters and one brother and he wanted them to visit and stay with them quite often. The thought of having a big family around him was like the first shower on dry, parched earth.

And the day he performed the house warming pooja with his young bride was perhaps the most fulfilling moment of his life. Then started a long phase of selecting  home decor and furniture items. I can still visualize his curly top bent on various home interior magazines and brochures scattered on floor.

Sound of steps on the staircase broke my reverie. Who can come upstairs at this time? Whole house is abuzz with the activities in the ground and first floor. Who would want to come to the dark solitude of the rooftop ? Oh it”s Biji, the old grandma of the house. The dragging of feet and the heavy breathing gave her away. If not Biji,who else ? I should have known it.Though she had neither met nor known my earlier master yet besides me she is the only one who often remembers the family. She very slowly opened the lock of the small room at the corner of roof. The doors creaked a little. They always do as if protesting . Inside them the past is kept alive. When Biji forcefully  kept few of the items and pictures belonging to my first master along with all the family members, I too was quite perplexed. But gradually listening to her unburdening herself in the solitude and privacy of that room , I gathered it was not for that unknown family but herself that she needed to preserve the past. But that is altogether a different story. My mind has started wandering away and getting lost in various alleys. I am getting old and the burden of untold secrets, unshared pains of my occupants is taking it’s  toil.

Through the open door I could have a glimpse of the lovely wooden cradle  he bought for his first born, his little princess. Due to  Biji’s  regular care and upkeep it still shines and the red, yellow, greens have not faded. With the sight of cradle came flooding the memories of those happy times. Four years after the baby girl, arrived the son of the family. How fulfilled and complete he felt. Life went on pretty smoothly. During all this period his soft spoken, smiling wife lingered by his side almost like his shadow.  She never demanded anything and always agreed to what he said or decided. Some times he  almost wished her to throw tantrums, quarrel and argue about petty things like wives of other people. But the very next moment he chided himself and thanked God for such simple hearted life partner.

He felt the first pang of disappointment when his daughter was about six or may be seven years old and the school teacher pointed out that  the girl took time to pick up the things told in the class and mostly kept to herself. She did not mix up with other kids like a normal child. But so caught up was he with the  belief of his world being perfect and happy that he refused to see anything unusual in it. He started spending more time with the daughter to teach her and make her understand, learn. But with the passing of years he had to admit that her princess has some …… problem. As his sisters-in- laws got married and were busy in their lives and mother-in-law too could not visit them due to growing age and increased frailty, the home started showing sign of mismanagement. He realized slowly that all is not normal with his dear wife too. She too suffered from minor mental, behavioral disorders. He watched with great concern the cracks in his happy world but with all his might he tried to keep  it intact. However  son was his pride and constant support in maintaining the order. As he advanced in his career ,the work pressure and responsibilities too increased. On the other hand the conditions of both mother and daughter deteriorated. Now returning from office he had to  spend  time in kitchen and arranging the home. He wanted his son to remain unaffected from the gradually getting more and more depressing atmosphere of the home, so he sent him to boarding school. Now he was alone to fight with daunting circumstances. And he did face it with exemplary courage. However the increasing pressure, stress and strain proved a bit too much to handle. With horror he watched his world slowly crumbling apart. The layers of dust on furniture thickened, food items rot, clothes lay scattered all over the place.

Sisters tried to help but some how the mother and daughter developed a dislike towards the people who tried to rectify their ways. They gradually shut themselves in the house. He too  was slowly cut off from the social circle. He did not have enough time to maintain and reciprocate the relation. Perhaps not enough will and wish too was left. Now he felt defeated. destiny has been cruel to him. He suffered bouts of depressions. He still wanted to take care of his family. He loved them. They were an integral part of his being. He went for his treatment and went on pulling along. In the mean time the son completed his engineering and secured a job too.The boy was the only flicker of light in otherwise dark world of his.

For last few months he was feeling that he is loosening his hold on himself. For wife and daughter the doctor had already told that there is no hope of any improvement in their condition. He used to serve them food before leaving for office and when returned found the dry plates lying there on the dining table. Some times they not even took bath . He arranged for care taker too but none of them proved to be of any help. Rather all of them took advantage of the helplessness of his wife and daughter and took away valuables from home. The struggle made him tired to heart. He lost the will to fight anymore. To maintain his own sanity was proving difficult for him.

That day his son informed him that he had bagged a scholarship to study further in a prestigious foreign university. After a long time I saw him brimming with happiness. He applied for a ten days leave from office as he wanted to get the home readied for his son. He wanted his son to have loads of pleasant memories before flying to far off destination. The boy was to visit home after a week. I too heaved a sigh of relief and prayed to God for his revived spirit but our this happiness too was short lived.

Only a day of his leave had passed when he got a call from his one colleague informing him that in his disturbed mental state he has overlooked certain procedures/entries in office which gave enough room to miscreants to commit a fraud and now the bosses are preparing to frame him. He contacted people and tried to sort out the things but to no avail.  With the passing of each day it became more and more clear that there is no chance of his saving himself. he has to bear the punishment which could be imprisonment too.He shuddered to think about the condition of his daughter and wife in his absence, the mental torture, social embarrassment of his son. Would the boy be able to proceed to study under such circumstances ? he knew he would not leave his mother and sister unattended and sacrifice his career ,his dreams for their sake. He knew his boy would not run from his responsibilities. He was his son. The thought of his son brought a smile on his face. But how could he bear to see his son ruin his life.

I still remember him muttering incoherently” I know I am haunted with some black powers, nothing good could ever come across around me. I am cursed.” and there after his jaws clasped into a stony silence.

The boy arrived at his appointed time and both father and son shared all the plans. After a long time I smiled and laughed. Both father and son cleaned me and tried their best to restore my lost glory.

It was the last day of his leave. He had to report to bank next day and people there were waiting to serve him notice . All this time they were busy in strengthening the case against him. That night he talked to his son for long hours. he went down the memory lane remembering the time when both the children were kids. The son too enjoyed it. he knew his father would feel lost without him. He assured him that he would write a mail to him daily as talking frequently from there would not be possible. He told that once he would be back after completing the course he would take all of them with him at his place of work and he need not work any more. It would be easier for him to take care of mother and sister once he did not have pressure of office work.  All four of them would live together. He listened to his son silently with his heart brimming with love and eyes overflowing with tears. It was late in the night when the son drifted into sleep while he lay awake on his bed.

At that moment I too was having mixed feelings. I was happy that the boy is so caring and concerned but the thought of impending doom and probabilities of shattering of his dreams made my heart heavy. Poor boy was totally unaware of the circumstances his father was facing. Later on when he would come to know about it, I know, his heart would be full of remorse and deep sadness. But presently he was blissfully resting in the arms of deep slumber.

The night suddenly grew very still. I don’t know why but an eerie feeling gripped me in it’s clutches. I remember myself shuddering but then got relaxed, the gloom and depression had taken over this home for such a long time that happy moments made me unnecessarily apprehensive.  With a shrug I loosened myself and slowly surrendered  to the arms of peaceful night.

bang…bang…bang….I trembled with the sound of three gun shots. It was early morning and I had not yet woken up when the gun shots resounded. Seconds later shrieks of the boy ripped me. On the bed lay motionless  bodies of the mother and daughter. Their blood coloring the white roses of the bed sheet into deep red and my master lay in heap on the floor near the bed. He shot them point blank in sleep. They did not suffer any pain….how could he let them feel it, he loved them so much.

Long after the three bodies were removed,the dry stains of blood  on floor, on walls seemed like his tears. I could feel his touch, his caressing. I was his dream. He shaped me, nurtured me and even after he was gone he clung to me. People termed me haunted. For months I stood in utter darkness alone. They feared me, avoided me but every night when the moon shone over me I could feel him smiling through that lone star. He gave me company day in, day out and then one day Biji crossed my threshold like a boon to end the curse.

Was Biji not afraid of me ?  Why she coaxed his sons to purchase me? Was the low price of the property only reason. No, she in her life had to two abandon her two homes. Every time she started from scratch and piece by piece built  homes full of life and then had to leave them due to political disturbances, riots. In me perhaps she saw the reflections of her those homes and wanted to make me alive once again. Down within her she hoped some one unknown must be showing that concern and respect to her memories too.

Those who live  the pain and loss can only understand it. Those who are shattered can only restructure. She had known sufferings,borne loss and found her way out of the depth. Her experiences, her struggle had made her develop a sensitivity, an understanding of life and filled her heart with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. She infused life in me.   I was once again filled with life and laughter.

After lighting the lamp before the family picture of my first master she was going down . People were calling her. The groom party was about to leave to bring the new bride to me …. fresh dreams were to take shapes, new beiginings awaited ……