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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January - A month to remember

For most people on this planet, January 1 is a sort of clock reset to yet another year of promises, hopes, celebrations and planning. To some it may even be a time to ponder and look back at the losses in the previous year. To the Krishnaswamy family, it is a whole month of mute remembrance about a tower of strength that was snatched away by fate's cruel hands a few years back.

Every year as January marches to its Ides (look up Julius Caesar), most Indians eagerly anticipate the onset of Makara Sankranti, the northern sojourn of our Sun, as DakshiNaayana gives way to Uttaraayana.  Tamilians especially engage in repainting their homes, stack sugarcane and fresh harvest to celebrate Bhogi, Pongal and Maattup-Pongal (and KaaNum Pongal) in that order. Most Ayyappa devotees are ready to have a darshan of the divine Makara Jyothi on the Kaanthamalai hill.

But one family dreads to tread the 16th because it brings to their tearful memories two great men in their lineage - a prophet of a maternal grandpa and his gifted son-in-law, both born the same day only 30 years apart, as if perchance they were destined to become intertwined as guiding lights to their families. And both equally imbued with a contrasting nature of being fiercely orthodox and nonchalantly maverick at once.

Pudukkottai K. Srinivasa Raghavan, a lawyer by profession, has never been a stranger to God. He journeyed through a lifetime of upheavals with unswerving devotion, hand in hand with his favorite deity, Lord Srinivasa of Saptagiri Hills. And narrated to us simpletons of his extended family, through magically appearing golden letters in his left palm, the wonderful acts of God's mighty creation and other abstruse philosophies that have been recorded only on handwritten notes☹. It is now a good 28 years since he departed, but the notes still stand as a testament to his glorious dictations from God.

The other man, inscrutably lovable to all his relatives and admirers was, and continues to be our lives' daily blessing and other-worldly light of wisdom. Sarukkai Kumandoor Parthasarathy Krishnaswamy (aka KANNAN aka Partha Krish) is still alive through his timeless musings in Bodhimaram and My Early Days, blogs that showcase two aspects of his eventful life. A humble but brave man, he achieved a graceful greatness simply by not pursuing it relentlessly. The 2015 Chennai flood is a reminder of his exemplary role as Chennai/Chengalpattu District's flood officer, preventing a near certain disaster of Chennai drowning in 1976 from a overflowing Chembarambakkam Lake.

On a less sober note, presented here are a medley of songs that were dear to his heart (the two visible videos are on the same krithi "Krishnaswamikku Sari Evare?", which my mom supposedly sung during her 'PeNN paarkum padalam' impressing her would-be as he was himself an able singer and connoisseur of Carnatic Music):