Last week (the week of July14th) there were a few events to commemorate the one year anniversary of the passing of Amma, Smt. Sharada KrishnaMoorthy.
On Wednesday, July 16th, was the "Oona masyam" ritual. On Thursday, July 17th, there was a "Thiruppgazh Anbargal" Sharada Krishnamoorthy Ninaivanjali Bhajan. Below are a few photos from this Bhajan (you may click on the photo to see an enlarged version of it):
A short, sample, video from the Bhajan is included here:
On Friday, July 18th was the "Sodha Kumbam". Then on Saturday, July 19th was the "Masiyam", followed by the "Shrardham". This was attended by a few close relatives. Some pictures from this day are uploaded into this album:
The following is the text of the "speech" that I gave at the conclusion of the event.
I started by rendering Unnikrishnan's "Uyirum Neeye" as a dedication to Amma:
I thank all of you for taking the time from your respective schedules to be present here to pay homage to Amma's soul.
Let me begin by narrating a short story. There was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons when he visited a neighboring kingdom. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He wanted to see these birds everyday - so he placed them on a tree outside his bedroom.
The king was, however, disappointed that though one of the falcons was flying majestically and soaring high in the sky, the other bird did not move from its branch since the day it arrived.
The king summoned his ministers, healers and sorcerers from all over his kingdom to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly.
He then announced a reward to anyone that could make the bird fly.
Soon, a woodcutter walked into the court and said, "I can make the bird fly".
The next morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He summoned the woodcutter to give him the reward. After giving him the reward, the king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”
With his head bowed, the woodcutter said to the king, “It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”
Many of us (and I include myself in that category) are like that second bird. We have our comfort zones and are hesitant to stray away from that zone. Amma was different. She was like the first bird - soaring all the time. She was always trying new things. I am sure that up there, Steve Jobs is continuing to innovate and when he needs somebody to test out his latest innovation, Amma is one of the first to try it!!
She was creative and passionate about art and music. If she had to sing at a wedding - whether it was Preethi and Mani's wedding in Maryland or Janani and Avinash's wedding in Chennai, she would compose a song for the occasion, set it to a unique tune and render it at the wedding. In contrast, when I decided to sing today, I merely repeated a popular Unnikrishnan song. Given her interest in music, I would like to announce that we are establishing a trust in her name. This trust will be focused on teaching young children music and other art forms. We are still in the process of establishing the trust, etc. We will provide details of the trust and other relevant information at the following URL: http://bit.ly/FBSKM. I have contacted the founders of shradhanjali.com. They have agreed to include Amma's profile. I am in the process of creating and sending this to them. These details will also be available at http://bit.ly/FBSKM.
I would like to conclude by playing a lullaby. You may think of this symbolically as a lullaby for her soul. She used to sing this lullaby to us when we were children. Later, she would sing this to her grandchildren - when we recorded it (on cassette tapes) and digitally transcoded it. Another tidbit about this song is that it was originally composed by Irayimman Thampi - a composer from Kerala. When Bombay Jayashri was nominated for the Oscar for Pi's Lullaby, Michael Danna and Jayashri were sued by the Irayimman estate for plagiarism. It was finally determined that the lyrics are generic enough that it would not constitute any intent to plagiarize . In essence the lyrics imply that a child sleeps not because he is sleepy, but because he feels safe. In some sense, by playing this lullaby, we are wishing Amma's soul a safe passage. There was no Wikipedia when this song was recorded. So, she did not know the lyrics of the whole song. In her own creative style, she concludes the song with a verse from another Neelambari song!