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Raising a family once again

When I was based at Udupi I took time out to visit some of the famous temples and pilgrim centres in the District. The itinerary included Dharmasthala, the famous abode of Lord Shiva which was also the seat of the well known philanthropist, Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Kshetra Dharmasthala. It was a huge pilgrim centre where at any given time thousands of devotees gather to have a darshan of the Lord. Free food is served to all the visitors irrespective of caste or creed. We spent a day in the town taking up a room in the choultry. We performed a ceremonial tonsure for Supriya. It was summer and the heat was unbearable. There was a long queue for the food hall and I was sure I would not make it and the children were hungry. As we were wandering about one of the security staff controlling the milling crowd called us apart and escorted us to the food hall as if we were VIPs. On another occasion we visited Kollur, a small town located at the northern tip of the district and the seat of Goddess Mookambika of legendary fame. Set amidst thick forests, the ancient temple is a famous shrine of Mookambika visited by devotees from all over the country. I had planned to give annaprasna and also perform the naming ceremony for Ambika in the temple. However we could not do either as the temple timings were over by the time we reached there. However we named the child Ambika after the Goddess. We had a wonderful darshan of the Goddess in all her resplendent glory. The major attraction is the priceless emerald and a silver maze the Goddess was wearing. After taking the free food offered by the temple we returned home greatly tired as it was a particularly long journey by bus through the heat of the country side. We also visited a famous temple at Katil Katil of Goddess Lakshmi where the offerings are black bangles. Another specialty of the temple is a river (a tributary of the River Thunga of Thunga-Bhadra fame) that flows almost beneath the temple. Here also food is served free for all devotees.

Hereabouts the hunt for a groom for Nimmi was on seriously. A groom was found through the good efforts of a relative. Father and myself along with Nimmi visited Bangalore for the betrothal ceremony. The wedding was fixed to take place in April 1985 at Udupi. I had a lot of work to do by myself as I was new to the place and being new I could count only on the support from my newly acquired friends in the town. Every single item had to be taken care of including finance. My prospective sambandhis were not a demanding lot and my problems were half solved. I sent out invitations to all my relatives and friends in Bangalore and Mangalore and most of them responded. The function was a great success. Nimmi left for Bangalore, her husband’s place, immediately after the ceremonies were over and it did not take much time for me to realize that she had left a big void in my life. All the family came together again for the Reception arranged by the groom’s family in Bangalore.

Soon thereafter my transfer came up again. Although I had asked for a transfer to Mysore so as to provide a home to Sriram who was studying there, the Regional Office refused to comply with my request as they wanted me back in their establishment. Thus I was on my way to Bangalore again this time not as enthusiastically as on previous occasions.

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