If you were born and brought up in a tamil brahmin household, then chances are you have seen your thatha, patti, appa, amma or other kith and kin dutifully write Sriramajayam daily in their best handwriting in a book exclusively dedicated for this purpose. I know I have seen both my paternal grandpas and my appa follow this practice. And when I got married, I was pleased to see that my father-in-law practiced this daily habit as well.
I don’t know when it rubbed on me, but I too have a prayer notebook in which I pen the name of the deity that I heart – Ganesha. I am not as dutiful, I don’t write everyday, not necessarily in my best handwriting, but I do resort to it especially when I have the need to tangibly express my faith. There is so much peace in surrendering, in letting go, in accepting that you do not control everything, and that it’s going to be ok. My prayer book is the thing I resort to when I am in need of a security blanket.
Hari has seen me write in that book for the past 10 years. It has his 5 year old handwriting in it. The practice has intrigued him, and now Ram is curious too. Why do you write that? What will you do with the book after you have completed? How many times have you written? So on and so forth.
This May when it was my fil’s b’day we were debating about how we wanted to celebrate the day? The popular vote was for appa’s favorite snack – onion pakoda. Noooooooo! Right suggestion to the wrong person. I dislike deep frying from the depths of my heart, so I vetoed it in a heartbeat and came up with an alternative, expecting it to be shot down – “Hey guys, thatha used to write Sriramajayam in a notebook everyday, may be you should write today by way of thinking of thatha.”
Ram wrote Ram five times on the back of an envelope and Hari took a new ruled notebook and proudly called it Hari’s Prayer Book and wrote his first set of Sriramajayam. Since that day he has been dutifully writing everyday. It has been more than a month and he is going strong. All on his own accord. When I asked him why he chose to keep up with it, he said “I don’t know. I just want to write” And that’s as good a reason as anything else.