It was a normal day, the 10th of Jan., 2007. I had left home without any inking what was in store for me. I had expected it to be a routine day, with no unexpected surprises coming my way; but it was not to be.
Anish send me an IP message at around 10:40 am, asking me if I was ready to come to Sabarimala. I was surprised, since he knew it requires the 41 days of penance and abstinance from worldly pleasures to be able to go to Sabarimala. I therefore enquired with Anish if it was possible for me to come. He told me “Dekh bhai, You can start the fast and come; but don’t count this visit. Next year, you can take the 41 days and make the trip to Sabarimala. Let this be a pre-assessment year for you”. Well, I thought. I have been nurturing this dream of making it to Sabarimala since my childhood days. Since making a trip to Kerala from Maharashtra, involved a lot of planning; it was always postponed. Even this year, I had planned to take the 41 days of penance to go to Sabarimala, but had to shelve the plan due to personal reasons.
Once Anish Bhai had me in company, we tried to include others too. So we asked the immediate decent neighbour “RENIL”, but he was reluctant. He did not speak anything, but gave his trademark wide smile and wringled his body. This was indication enough that he did not want to join us. Next in line, we contacted Dhanesh, who confirmed his participation in the evening. Shijil too declined to join us. So it was left to the three of us to make the piligrimage to Sabarimala. It was very important for me, since it was my first. I had nurtured this dream since a long time. We decided to move on the 19th of Jan. With a couple of days remaining for the trip, Dhanesh came back with a confirmed news that if we reach on the 20th, we will not be able to see the diety. They are closing the temple premises. Hence it was decided to go on the 18th (Thursday).
So on the D-day, we assembled at a temple near Dhanesh’s home and had the puja for the irumudi kettu. Just before leaving, Dhanesh’s mother bought us some idli and chutney. Wow, I would not forget the taste. I had planned to eat only a couple of idlis, but ended up having 6 of them with practically the whole of the chutney. I was left licking my fingers. Dhanesh, I am one day gonna come to your home to a delicious food from your mummy.
By 9:36 pm, we left for Sabarimala. With our bit of short naps and bickerings, we reached Pamba at 1:15 am. It was a bit cold out there. We went to the Pamba river to have a customary dip. At this time, towards the fag end of the piligrimage season, the river was loaded with dirt, leftovers, rotten belongings. We managed to take our bath in these waters, and started on our ardous climb to the top of the hill, where the diety resides. I was over-enthusiastic, since it was my first ever trek to the holy hill.
It was heartening to see lot of people (kids, men and old alike) making their trek to the hill top. The enthusiasm never wanes and they go about it as if possessed.
We reached the top at 4:21 am. But I guess, being the last day, they had a long puja and we were able to enter only by 5:30 am. Anish was pulling and prodding me to enable me to have a glimpse of the diety. Since I was short and would not be able to see the diety over the top of the heads, Anish Bhai visualized a vantage point for me. We approached this place at a slightly higher level so that I could see the diety. It was a dream come true for me. There were tears in my eyes and I resolved to come here again next year. Yes, with the typical 41 days of penance and abstinance.
We started on our downward journey by 7:45 am, and reached the plains by 12:17 pm, visiting the other shrines and asking for forgiveness for our sins and definitely for favors. I guess, being humans we go out of our way asking God for favors in turn for the elimination of sins. God has a big task ahead. He has to weigh our sins and then forgive us. Only our life bank balance at the time of our death will tell us, If we are in credit or debit.
On our trek down, we had a glass of sugarcane juice for relief. But relief sure it did. It relieved us of all our comfort, because the three of us are down with an upset stomach. We were planning to have another glass of the juice, but had to forego because of Dhanesh’s reluctance. Thanks Dhanesh. Otherwise the situation would have been more worse.
Back home, I am relieved that I could atlast make the trek to the holy shrine hill. Next year, I am gonna be there again.
I have heard people saying “Once you go there, you will go there every year”. So it is not a hearsay, It is a belief.
Until then, Guys and Gals; wait for my next trek to the hill shrine. I will be back with more of my experiences put down in sheer black and white.