Songbird And Spring Time
As a child, I was often taken to see the pooja at the Meenakshi temple. I remember gazing at the splendid image in the inner chamber. When the priest circled burning camphor round her face, I could see the beautiful eyes of the goddess. They were full of love, full of sweet blessings. So you see, faith and prayer came to me in childhood. It was part of the way I was brought up.
Later, when I became a concert singer, I would sometimes sing in praise of Meenakshi. When I repeated the line "Madurapuri nilaye" which described her as the deity of Madurai town, I would always remember the long and lovely eyes of the goddess which had thrilled me as a child.
I spent my childhood in a tiny house wedged between a row of tightly packed houses. This was in Hanumantharayan street, very close to the Meenakshi temple. Oh yes, it is still there! The street is just as narrow, dusty and crowded now as it was in those days. The little lane was often occupied by cows which refused to budge. Certainly no cars could
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get by. The cows would sit comfortably and chew on, pretending not to hear the shouts and the honks.