It was 6.00 Am in the morning. I was off to meet the Siddhar at Kollimalai. It seems that he meets people during mornings only and I was advised earlier the better. I loved my car drives in the early mornings and one of the primary reasons is that I could smoke whenever I want. I had kept my windows open to enjoy the early morning breeze. Today might be the day that many of my problems could end!
There were Government buses plying on the Salem Kollimalai Route. It had been a while since I travelled in a Government Bus. The cumbersome seats, the rust in the windows, the sound of people conversing and the distant “Kattukuyilu Manasukulle” from some one’s mobile, the vegetable basket in front of my leg, the conductor’s constant screaming for people to buy their tickets; It was all chaotic. I at times enjoyed the chaos. But today I chose the car, because I wanted to be clear in my head. It is not often you meet someone who solves most of your miseries.
A cold breeze hit me and brought me back to the journey. There was 30 minutes to my destination. Kollimalai, is a small hill town 50 kms upwards of Salem. Kollimalai is the place for Siddhars and has several mythological legends associated with them. It is a land less travelled and there are several tales associated with Siddhars living for more than 1000 years. There is also a rumour that the Great Chanakya was born here before migrating to North India.
I am going there to meet one such Siddhar. During my earlier visit, I was told that this Siddhar has solutions to many of the problems we have. I had plenty and I wanted to have an idea of where I was headed in my life. At 45, time was running out for me!
I reached Madapattu at around 7.15 Am. The place was quite cold, and the ranges of mountains seemed never ending. They were brown in colour for some strange reason. But nevertheless, it was a stunning sight. I thought I should come with Paru once; She likes these kinds of exotic locales.
The Way to Siddhars camp was a fairly easy one as there was only one way into the village. After crossing a stream of water, aloft a small hill, a tiny hut was the abode of this Siddhar.
Siddhar seemed to be a man in his 60’s. He was well built and must be as tall as my father (shorter than me) and surprisingly for a siddhar had a huge belly. He was in his green robes and looked like a man who had seen and known everything. His eyes were small but there was a kind of peace emanating by the way he looked. There was nobody else in the hut. He was chanting some mantra which I didn’t understand. The place for all its greenery around looked a little eerie.
For a moment I thought I should go back. But then he waved his hand towards me. I went closer to him. I was not sure what is the process here. Will he ask me questions, Should I tell an overall summary? Then he said looking at me with a deep stern voice
“அப்பனும் சுப்பனும் வாழ்ந்து கெட ;
வாழ்வுக்கும் வாழ்க்கைக்கும் விடை உந்தன் மாயகண்ணாடி!
Although I had read Tamil all along my life, I couldn’t quite decipher this. I understood the last word Maya Kannadi. It meant Magic Mirror.
He closed his eyes and then told. “Your home has an ancestral mirror. The mirror has been there for more than 1000 years. You have come here to ask me solutions for your problems. The Magic Mirror is the solution. Look at the mirror for 15 minutes tomorrow and when a light appears in the middle touch the centre of the light. You will be transported to a different world and that is the solution to all your problems”.
I was dumbstruck. Before I could ask him anything, he said looking at me deeply, “you can leave now”.
The ride back home was uneventful. I had so many questions to ask but didn’t know who will answer them. It all appeared like a big sham. But then he didn’t even take anything from me so why will it be a sham? What happens when I touch the centre of Magic Mirror? Should I tell this to Paru. She will laugh at me. She always tells me there are no shortcuts to solve your problems. She may tell her brother also. He is a crook and I hate him for almost everything he does. I wanted to walk tall in front of them. I wanted to retire at 60 with my head held high. For that there was 5478 days left. I need to use these 5478 days to live my dream.
There was a big curve and as I took the curve, I saw the dog in the middle of the road, sleeping comfortably. I swerved my car around it and wondered how it could sleep so peacefully in the middle of the road. It didn’t care about anything else and was enjoying the warmth of the road. That moment strangely I decided I am going to do what the Siddhar said. I reached home and slept peacefully after a very long time. I hoped the day passes off fast so that I could get into my “tomorrow”.
Had kept the alarm at 4.30. But I got up before the alarm could ring. I didn’t want Paru to get up. Although we slept in different rooms and she gets up only at 8, I was careful not to disturb her. I wanted to finish off my experience so that I can narrate everything to her at the breakfast table.
The mirror was right in my room and looked gigantic. This mirror has been here from the time I was born. It was very artistic with wood work all over it. When I was young, I used to spend considerable time looking at mirror with my new hairstyles but as you grow up, your image didn’t matter anymore.
I took a quick shower and wore my favourite dresses. I was ready for this. Time was 5.15 and I wanted to finish this before the dawn.
I put my chair in front of the mirror. I looked at the mirror and started to focus at the centre of the mirror. It was very tough to focus as my mind wavered with so many thoughts. But I had to focus, because this was life altering. Soon some sort of calmness set in and the early morning silence helped. Time ticked by slowly, but it was getting comfortable. This could change everything. I dreamt of walking proud amidst my family once again.
It appeared that 15 minutes had passed by and I suddenly saw a beam of light at the centre of the mirror. It was small but very powerful. My moment of reckoning had arrived. I thanked the Siddhar for this in my mind. Slowly walked towards the light and touched it with my index finger firmly. I felt a jolt in me, and I could see my body vanishing in the mirror.
It appeared that I had to come to a different land altogether. It was dark all over and breathing was heavy. I didn’t know where I was. As the eyes got comfortable with the darkness, I could see so many men and women. They were all standing in some sort of a Queue. Probably there was some process left. Wherever I turned I could only see people. They all looked old and pale. Not quite what I had wished for.
As I wandered aimlessly, one man looked at me. He looked a little familiar, but I didn’t remember who he was! He asked “Are you new here?” I nodded my head. He said, “come stand next to me in the queue before anyone sees you”. I was confused. But I decided I will do that since he is the only man I could relate to. I went and stood before him. My mind was racing. Where are my solutions now? May be the man would know.
“What is this Queue for?” I quipped him. He looked at me and said “There seems to be different world outside. All of us want to go there from this darkness. But to enter that you have to look at mirror for 15 minutes and touch the light when it emerges. Unfortunately there is only one mirror here and some one told the waiting period is around 5475 days from today!”
அப்பனும் சுப்பனும் வாழ்ந்து கெட ;
வாழ்வுக்கும் வாழ்க்கைக்கும் விடை உந்தன் மாயகண்ணாடி
The life of Suppan and Appan was unworthy.
The answer for your life’s yearning is Your Magic Mirror!