I couldn’t exactly point on what had disturbed my mood and temperament this morning. I didn’t want to engage in anything; even the sight of the stack of books in the cupboard opposite weighed heavily on my mind. Dickens suddenly seemed so very wordy and boring, and the thick and bound Reader’s Digest seemed so very full of trivialities and unfunny laughs.
Mother’s voice summoned me to the puja room for the occasion’s ritual; I went in, moodily and sluggishly, my mind wobbling fiercely.
There, seated facing my mother’s joined palms, was a wide bowl containing hot and crisp vadas that were crispier at the edges. Beside stood a large vessel of recently cooked rice topped with a spoon of cooked lentils. The vermicelli paayasam in the adjacent vessel, with its seasoned dry grapes and cashews, tingled my tongue and brought to my mind the sweet sense of the dish from earlier memories. A nearby copper plate had fresh green betel leaves bearing areca nuts, a coconut broken into two halves; also jasmine buds and bright yellow chrysanthemum petals were heaped together on one side. A couple of incense sticks, from the burning ends, sent ribbons of smoke spiralling upwards. Straight ahead were photos of Gods and Goddesses, all suitably garlanded and sporting on their forehead round sandal paste marks and tiny vermillion dots.
I was gradually being transformed, gradually being refreshed; very much at the same rate at which the ribbons of incense self-contentedly wafted through the divine yellow aura that filled the room and circled my being in many hazy rings of aroma.
Just as I had not known the source of my gloomy mood, I couldn’t find now where all the darkness had disappeared to.