One of a man Nagappa Aiya
climbs the steps
of the Motta Gopuram, turns east,
places a stone on the Ishanya ( North East)
a start to complete the unfinished one.
Masons fear to ascend
as earlier attempts ended
in disaster. The bald vihar
transforms into a sculptural marvel
Stands at par to the other three vihars
on east, west and south,
Nagappa Aiya goes to the temple
every night, witnesses the puja
walks home with the prasad.
it happens, he was away, could not make
it to the evening puja, rains force him
to break the journey,
On the couch ‘of his cart,
he falls asleep, head knocking
on the wooden bolsters. He sits up
to a girl’s laughter accompanied
by the anklets chime.
Nagappa. Nagappa she
calls thrice, Clad in pattu pavadai
the lovely lass gives Chakra pongal
and milk in golden vessels,
Aghast at the sight – Meenakshi as a girl
he remains speechless.
She runs a little distance, bids him
to eat, the rain drenching her,
Aiya partakes the prasad in a hurry,
calls amma, amma, She is
nowhere to be seen. An apparition,
Next morning he rushes
to the temple. It is in chaos
Shocked to see Nagappa aiya
‘with the golden vessels, the priests eye
him with suspicion. At the moment.
from the sanctum, Meenaksi’s
words reverberate through the corridors.
It is I who brought the prasad
to you in the night, Nagappa ,
knowing well that you will go
to sleep without dinner.
Nagappa Aiya resolves
not to leave the town.
Stays stoic while
his wife is fighting
for life in the native village,
He remains even more stubborn.
when he learns of her death.