Sivarathri memories are many for me; two are outstanding:
Holding the hand of my father, crossing the Olavakkode rail track and a hill
( which has been decimated now by the ruthless rock bursters) to watch the Kathakali  shows at the Eamoor Bagavathy Temple, which starts at around 10 pm and continues till the dawn of the next day. The program was for nine nights then, now reduced to three. My father used to hold a choottu( an indigenous torch made of the wastes fell from the coconut trees ) for guidance in the darkness. After the show we used to have a bath in one of the many ponds near the temple and have darsan at the shrine. I used to carry a small pouch of rice grains for feeding the fish stock in the ponds and it was a real fun. While returning back home, from a distance an old  nayadi ( untouchable outcast) woman in rags, used to call for alms and my father used to throw a coin or two, which she used to pick up, after making sure that we were at a safe distance. Her call still reverberates in my mind.
My mother’s elder sister was very determined to observe Sivarathri, strictly as prescribed and she used to starve the whole day and night. Evening she moves towards the Kalpathy Sivan Kovil, have darsan there and attend  the religious discourse.Half through the discourse, she goes into sound sleep,lying on the sand floor enjoying the breeze from the big tree in the vicinity, gets up only in the dawn. She had the company of several other  women, who had come for the exclusive purpose of keeping awake whole night!
The empty stomach, enlightening discourse and enticing wind from the banyan tree, all acted as catalysts to induce them into sound sleep on the Sivaratri night, through out which they were determined to  keep awake.
Comments:
 Subject: Re: Sivaratari memories
> From: ngiyer@hotmail.com
> Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 20:20:13 -0800
> To: sivaratna@hotmail.com

> When I read this I literally cried.don’t you Sir feel like crying out loud?
> Where are those simple happy old days?Will they return in the future or are the gone forever?
> If they were not happy days you Sir would not have remembered them.
> The old lady sleeping shows her innocence like a Gopika stree. I am sure she is with Lord Shiva in Kailaasam.
> Hope I am right.
> With respects
> Iyer
>

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