Tirupati-Tirumala – A divine pilgrim place to few, centre of academics for few, but for me this place holds a special significance as I stayed in this place for quite some time during my post-graduation days and I had my memories attached to it due to special blessings showered by God.
That was year 2010 and with strong belief in the power of Lord Balaji I have planned a trip to Tirupati and Kanchi along with Mom, Dad n my daughter during Diwali as I thought Diwali is the time where everyone will celebrate at home and there will be less crowd in Tirumala. Contrary to my expectations there was crowd and i laughed at myself for my thinking. we could manage due to prior planningand the trip went smooth. That was the first time I have been to Tirupati without my spouse by my side and that left me in pain and all through the way to Darshan while chanting Vishnu Sahasram I was crying..crying..crying and hidden my tears behinds the glasses of my spectacles so that mom cannot see my tears but they were uncontrollable. Pain was such. Trip was over and due to many topsy-turvy incidents in life I stopped going to Tirupati and stopped praying to him as well. Series of events happened in life and I never thought of visiting too. However, with the recent happenings in life as I moved to new home and due to progression in my career I thought of visiting him just to seek Divine Blessings. No more desires on my list. I have surrendered myself to the Master of Fate.
Fortunately my best friend Priyanka got her PR to Canada and she has planned to visit the divine place and I too wanted to join them as lack of company was one reason that stopped me to visit.
She has already booked her Darshan and reservations, however she did arrange for tickets again and I booked my tickets and now it’s time to get accommodation done. Not aware of Priyanka’s accommodation plan I have approached my good friend Hari explaining the entire story and he instantly offered help without any second thought. He asked me to relax and arranged everything.
We never know how God plans. I was all excited to spend two days with my best friends Priyanka and Sourabh in a divine place and just before a day to our travel, priyam called up and told that they would not be joining me as Sourabh has met with a hand fracture. Gosh! I went crazy. Started calling up all my friends to seek their advice should I go alone or not?
When I spoke to my soul friend Hari, he motivated me to go and have Darshan and assured of required support when I reach Tirupati through his contacts. Having solaced with his assurance I have made my mind to venture out all alone to a Divine place for the first time. Though, travelling alone was not first time for me, this is a different feeling altogether.
My journey was set finally, packed my head phones, all necessary knick knacks but forgot to hold the dinner I packed for myself for the day. Mad I am. Thought will pick up something in Vijayawada station and calmed myself.
Got into the Train and pampered myself with a Book and some dose of music and a family got into the train in Samarlakot. Strangely, the elderly lady and the young girl of the family also carries name as Meenakshi. We exchanged words and conversations rolled between us and I was impressed with the way Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law were behaving with each other. One thing I understood was they have mastered the art of Life.
Tirupati welcomed me with its usual pilgrim traffic and I ventured into a nearby coffee shop and had steaming idly and coffee to satiate my last nights’ hunger as I couldn’t get decent food in Vijayawada platform. Headed to bus station and got into the bus and reached Tirumala by 9 AM and I was directed by the designated person by Hari to reach ATGH guesthouse. A person was waiting for me over there and I was put in a comfy room and he left asking me to call him if I require any assistance.
As I know the nook and corner of Tirumala, refreshed myself in the room and headed to visit Srivari paadalu and Silaa toranam as I need to report by 3 for Darshan. Just a thought popped in, God might have been telling me that, See! I have given you the required comfort even if you are alone. Thanked God and my good friends for all the help in my Heart itself.
Silatoranam., a natural rock formation which resembles God’s sleeping posture as the legendary storied depict is no doubt a geological wonder. Walked walked along the path just to absorb the energy around, captured selfies, ventured into the woods and enjoyed the wandering all by myself in the hills!
Ofcourse! I carried the spirit of my parents along with me. My friends walked along with me as i carried them in my thoughts and a constant communication flowed between us updating my whereabouts and status to them. Thanks to the communication revolution.
Roamed all around, ventured into Lepakshi to satiate my craft madness, picked up some art stuff and went to a place where I used to enjoy food, which is not up to mark now and hurriedly finished my lunch. Now, it’s time for my Darshan and ventured in excitement to see God, Father, Hari, Vishnu and the Lord of Lords. I could have a glimpse of him only for a second from a distance and offered my prayers and sought blessings from him for my entire family of friends and well-wishers. One thing that haunted me was I used to explain to everyone about the significance of every pillar and deity over there when I used to go in groups. I missed that feeling of joy. God might have heard me and I was able to meditate for a while in the temple premises.
Reminisced the way I used to have VIP Darshans during my Uncles posting in the District as District Judge with all royal treatment and I have got the privilege to touch God’s clothes as well at that point of time. Isn’t it a blessing?
This is the time for me to grab some Prashad and to my disappointment I found that there is a quota to buy and it is not available freely. Left the place and came to mine and dad’s favourite place steps in front of the Divine abode from where we can enjoy the Naada Neeraajanam and Unjal Seva.
Just carried the spirit of Dad as I sat there and clicked some selfies. My heart became heavy as I was leaving the place for the first time. Slept in peace in the arms of Divine and packed up for the next day’s University visit.
My Tirupati trip never ends without visiting that small craft shop lying in the Bazar street adjoining Gandhi road where I pick up wooden handicrafts to deck up my home. Just before catching train I head to that shop and pick crafts of my choice. We speak of religion and to my amazement the person who sells and carves those Hindu Gods idols is a Muslim man who affectionately receives me whenever I throng his shop.
My Tirupati trip ended on a pleasant note till here except for the incident in train journey ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1335775583118724&set=a.838802132816074.1073741844.100000588868021&type=3&pnref=story) added little more spiciness to the otherwise sweet trip. Ha ha.. After all Life is an amalgamation of good n bad! Isn’t it my friends?