25th Wedding Anniversary and Kalyanotsavam at Tirumala Tirupati
My wife said, “No celebrations. Let’s go for Lord Venkateswara Darshan at Tirumala Tirupati and seek HIS blessings…” We have been visiting Tirumala for the last 25 years to have HIS Darshan.
I agreed to her. She said, “We must perform Kalyanotsavam Seva on June 30…”.
We checked Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) online for advance reservation – no slot was available. We have sent a demand draft requesting Kalyanotsavam Seva ticket for June 30- it bounced back. My wife called 24/7 helpline and talked to TTD reception. She speaks Telugu. There was no way to get a slot on June 30.
She was very disappointed.
I tried to pacify her. “Don’t worry. Kalyanotsavam is Lord Venkateswara’s marriage with his love, Padmavati and not with his wife Lakshmi…So, by performing this Seva, you might be inviting a huge trouble for yourself…”I said jokingly.
That didn’t work with her. I said: “It is not important to perform the pooja. Let’s go for his Darshan on the same day….” then I added: “But don’t forget to take traditional dress, in case, we get chance for Kalyanotsavam.”
“Yeah, as if some big miracle will happen…” she snapped.
25 years ago, I had taken two decisions in a matter of 30 seconds. One – whether to marry or not (Till that moment, marriage was not even in my wildest dreams, let alone planning a family life) and two – whether to marry this girl (whom I just had a glimpse). My intuition told me “Yes”.
After saying yes, we had met once more. I told her about my background that was least expected by any bride in this world. I was jobless and living on some freelance work that I get occasionally.
The total bank balance was Rs 250/- (the minimum amount to be kept in the bank for a savings bank account) and nearly 250 rupees in my pocket. “Don’t look at my parents or family name, but you are going to live with a pauper”. She just smiled.
“I am now thirty. So, seven years older than you”
“So I can call you Udayannu. Why didn’t you marry till now? Did you have any love affair?” she asked. Normal doubt.
“Yes, I have an amazing love. I waited for her to come to me till 30 years. Now I gave it up.”
“Who was she? What was her name?”
“I don’t know her name. Unfortunately, I had neither met her nor talked to her, except in my dreams. But I am sure she is there somewhere. I had glimpses of pre-birth too. I searched for her in many places, couldn’t find. Hence stopped chasing dreams.”
“Oh, who will wait for an unknown person whom you see only in dreams? That’s romantic…”
However, when her parents came to know more about my real profile and that I was a rolling stone, they were bit hesitant. It was normal for any parents to look for a groom with a regular income. But she was adamant on marrying me.
“Why did you insist on marrying me?” I asked.
She said: “Few boys came to see me. Everybody was asking for money and dowry. My father is a poor railway employee who has huge family responsibility. You didn’t ask for money and you are the first person who said yes, without any hesitation. You also told me that you have no job and have only Rs500 as total bank balance.
You told me about your love too. I understood that you are honest…So tell me, whom else should I trust in my life and marry?”
It was raining when we reached Tirumala on 29th morning. My daughter asked: “Appa, why don’t you try for the Seva or Darshan through your contacts? It was Amma’s long-cherished wish to perform this Seva. You have been a journalist for the last 32 years and might have met lot of big people. Still, why should we always have to struggle for each and everything? Why don’t you seek any single favour from people?”
My life experience taught me this – if you go for out-of-turn, instantaneously you can gain many things. But then, the existence will stop supporting you.
At time, my family gets bit upset with me that I am spending most of my time in writing, learning and sharing about science of Santan Dharma and replying to my readers. They see NO tangible benefit from it – it is just waste of time, efforts and money, some of my friends and relatives told them. Had I spent that much time like other smart and practical contemporary journalists, I would have been affluent and influential. But the Dharma assigned to me by the existence is different.
Yes, the corrupt admin and greedy priests may give preference to people at ‘highly placed’ or those who come with recommendation letters. People may fall for such things. The problem is that THE representative of the existence standing there won’t accept such things. I have got all that I really needed in my life without going out-of-turn. In fact, there are millions of people in the world who don’t get their daily needs met. So am I not lucky in that perspective?
I told her: “Why should we try for something out-of-turn? I guess I have got whatever I wished for.”
“That’s true. All his wishes come true. I always wonder how does it happen,” my wife said.
“Probably his wishes are limited,” she replied: And, if that’s true, then why didn’t we get Kalyanotsavam slot?” she asked. There was no reply for that.
My wife cross-checked with the information desk near the Central Reception Office, TTD – is there any chance of getting Kalyanotsavam ticket? Is there current booking?
The person who was sitting in the counter said: “No. But there is a lucky dip for current booking…You can register for that between 11AM to 5 PM. If you have blessing you will get allotment…You will be notified by 6.30PM, if you are selected.” But he added that there was no chance of getting it as 1000s of people would try each day for the next day’s Seva. Only few tickets are available.
We went to the counter. There was a long queue and we have registered our name. They took our finger print, photo and phone number. After that we checked in to Nandakam Guest House. Had ‘Annaprasadam’ (temple lunch) in the late afternoon.
We waited till 8PM – there was no SMS. All were disappointed. We have decided to take a stroll around the temple. The night atmosphere is so serene and lovely. It was drizzling and bit chilly.
At 9.25PM, my mobile phone beeped. SMS: “Congratulations, Dear Uday garu, 1 Ticket for Kalyanotsavam has been allotted. Please collect it from allotment counters before 10PM…” Everybody says usually the SMS comes around 6.30PM. It was really an unlikely delay that happened on June 29th.
Reading that SMS my wife burst into tears. “Isn’t this miracle? We wished earnestly to perform this Seva exactly on the 25th anniversary and Lord Venkateswara made it did happen!”
“Oh, God, I can’t believe this. Now I trust it Appa! God has eyes. He sees everything. He will always come to support those who support Dharma,” my daughter said. (Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha)
I don’t call it a miracle. I can’t comment on something that is not possible to explain by science. For, I am basically a science student. It can just be a coincidence. But I have been experiencing 100s of such coincidences in my life. I have no clue. I am trying to apply science and logic in those incidents. But human logic fails mostly in life.
All I can do is to quote Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
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