AN APPARITION - SIGHTING OF ANGELS
Yemen was once given the responsibility of taking me back to Kasiapuram after a visit to Kurumbalaperi. We went by bus and after alighting from the bus to reach our home we had to walk by a sandy stretch through palmyra-tamarind fields. Along the stretch we had our family cemetery. It had tombs of our grandparents and that of my amma. I used to always have a mixed feeling whenever I went that side. It was a bit weird. I always wanted to sneak a look at the tomb and at the same time had a sort of fear to look at that side at all. Usually the former feeling used to win. This time I was on the shoulders of Yemen and he started talking about amma as we were nearing the cemetery. I was, as usual, in splits. I was under Macbethian to-be-or-not-to-be dilemma. I did not turn till we almost crossed the cemetery. But I succumbed to the temptation at the last minute. I turned for a fraction of second towards amma’s tomb. What I saw there is still quite fresh in my mind. On both the sides of my mother’s tomb I saw two very tall angels in the usual kneeling position with bowed head and folded hands that we see in pictures. Those two guardian angels were so brighteningly white. They, in the kneeling position, were to the height of the palmyra trees at the background. It was just for a fraction of a second but that “apparition” had become a permanent mental picture.
As an atheist now I analyze that ‘apparition’. It had been rammed into me that each person would be ‘supplied’ with a guardian angel and it takes care of you and all that stuff. And one sees pictures and statues of angels in that kneeling position. I was also quite convinced that my mother should have gone straight to heaven since she was considered by everybody as a good person. These facts being in my inner mind made me see what I wanted to see there. Rather it was a projection of my own mental picture. Apart from the dream my periyamma had at the time of amma’s death which I said about earlier, this is the one another ‘supernatural’ thing that had occurred in my life. While I am able to give satisfactory explanation for this second episode, I am still not able to adduce any explanation for the first.
After I switched over to urban life Yemen visited us twice. He came to Madurai for some medical help. Though I did not understand anything about his ailment then, now I assume that he should have got gangrene on his toe. He was advised to get it amputated. But he refused the first time and went to back to his village. After some time when he came back it seemed the condition had worsened and was asked to go for amputation of the whole foot. He declined to go for it and went back. That was the last of him. I came to know that he passed away shortly due to that wound. Whenever I went to Kurumbalaperi after that I used to enquire about his family. I got only disinterested answers. By that time chithi got married and my visits to Kurumbalperi became rare. Though I had never got any other information about him or his family, till this date his memories in me have never left. Probably he became a reference point in my life for my feelings towards the evils of caste system. Better I talk about this in a separate chapter.