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Sai Inspirations: Day 1

 

*** This is Sukhbir’s second post about his Yathra 09 trip. To read the previous one, go to http://dramedyremedy.blogspot.com/2009/12/sai-inspirations-prologue.html

Beautiful is the Creator. Beautiful also are the Creations.

-Guru Nanak Dev Ji

 

~Meeting the Creations~

 

December 20th, 2006.

 

All of us sat at the front of the dais waiting for Swami to come out. I was nervous and my mind kept repeating the words, “I’ll forget my lines, i’ll forget my lines…”

 

And two hours after that, I did. I went infront, sang the first paragraph and totally forgot the rest of the 2 paragraphs.

 

It was a huge blow because it was a once in a life time opportunity and I blew it by forgetting my lines while singing to Him. And there I was, kneeling towards the mike infront of thousands of people and I can’t remember the words of the song.

 

I went back home disappointed. No amount of Arathi for Swami could have changed that moment.

 

That was my ghost of 2006.

 

***

 

3 years later, I sit next to Shan thinking about this in the KTM train. We were on our way to Bandar Tasik Selatan. I turned to Shan and then said to him, “Shan, are you going with any expectations to Parthi?”

 

He replied, “No anney, why?”

 

I just smiled and shook my head to say that it’s nothing important. I was having bad flu, thanks to the cleaning of the SS3 centre the day before that and lack of sleep as I only slept at 1 after packing my bags.

 

I had this mix feeling. I wish I could just drop out from the train and run away in the next stop, leaving Shan to fend all alone by himself. I just felt that I was not ready to be a faci yet. I never felt this weird before and something kept telling me that I’m not meant to go to Parthi.

 

Bro Ganesan picked us up from the station and by 11.30 am we were at SS3 and we were late by 30 minutes!

 

Nidhish was there and he was busy registering the participants. I had nothing to do so I asked him if there was anything to help him with. He gave me the registration book and asked me to fill it up as each teen came.

 

I sat at the table which was near the entrance of the centre. To my left was Kamini. Kamini is a facilitator for the girls and she’s a journalist for the NSTP. A very close friend of my close friend Kugan. That makes us all friends. Kamini and Shamini Akka are the only two original people from the Yathra 09 Organising Committee team that’s facilitating the girls and know basically what happens from Day 1 to Day 22. Yes, there are other facilitators coming but they’re only helping us out and they don’t exactly know what happens in Parthi or for the Yathra Orientation for that matter.

 

2 main facilitators for 25 girls. That’s suicide if you ask me.

 

Nidhish is a facilitator and one of the core members of the Yathra 09 Organising Committee as well. He’s 3 or 4 years younger than me and if you compare him to me, there’s a vast difference. The dude has organisational skills way beyond Donald Trump’s! I feel embarrass whenever I stand next to him and he knows how to handle situations which even I can’t handle. That’s how matured he is. He knows what happens next and what happened earlier. A very attentive listener and very fussy when it comes to work which is good because we need someone like that. Especially me. I’m a wheel barrow, people need to push me in order to get moving.

 

And Akka adores him alot! So do the rest of the Yathra 09 Organanising Committee…

 

I sat at the table, took out the registration book and flipped it’s pages and pretended I was the most busiest facilitator around so much so Kamini actually asked me, “What are you busy with?”

 

I replied, “Nothing. I’m just busy pretending being busy”

 

It seemed like ages because no one had arrived yet save for Shan and Sudarshan and a few female participants. Vinitha, one of the participant, was there infront of me, she was not feeling well and so she was sitting next to her luggage.

 

Vinitha’s a pretty girl. It’s just that she has not realised it because she cuts her hair short like a boy and combs it backwards and wears a cap. You get my point now? She’s a tomboy. But she’s really sweet and hilarious.

 

I realised everyone in the Yathra group has some sort of problem or history. Everyone’s weird in someway or other.

 

Shan is from the Seremban 2 centre. He’s plump, chubby, annoyingly funny, easy to be bullied and for the first few days in Parthi, he was my regular supplier for biscuits. He plays the naal really well and that too self taught. He kind of reminds me of Sangkaran during his younger days.

 

I was starting to doze off when I hear a slight commotion outside and in comes two teens. One’s short and well built. That’s Chandra and the other tall one was Yumesh. I swore upon God that at first I thought Yumesh was Chandra’s big brother or something. He was so freakishly tall!

 

Both of them are from Penang. I looked at the both of them and asked myself, “Are all Penangites this tall and well built?”

 

Chandra signs his registration form and I collect his passport. I felt like a customs officer doing that. Chandra looks at me innocently and asks me, “Where do we go now anney?”

 

I look at him, pretending to be stern and I say, “You go up, and clean up the first floor”

 

No, actually that was not what I did. What I actually did was, I smiled and said Sai Ram and told them to relax since they had a long journey.

 

Yumesh was the surprise of all surprises. He’s huge, tall and well built (his taller than me!!) And when he looks down at you, he reminds me of the old Frankenstein movie. His haircut and everything is the same!

 

But what kills his characteristics is his speech. He has speech problem. He looks at me in the eye with a serious face, folds his hands in namaskar and says, “Shai Ram”

 

“Shai Ram?” I ask.

 

“Yesh. Shai Ram Anney”

 

“Owhh!! Sai Ram!”

 

“Yesh! Yesh! Shai Ram!”

 

“Great! Come in and sign here. Enter your particulars and pass me your passport”

 

“You mean shign here?” he points to a section of the form. I reply, “Yes there”

 

“And my passhport, I passh it to you?”

 

I look at him and nod my head. He’s such a sad kid.

 

Moments later Vasanth, Harindran and Keshov make their entrance all the way from Ipoh. Ipoh brought in the most number of participants. Let me start with Vasanth first.

 

Vasanth is a complete opposite of his brother Subash. He’s thin, and instead of people making fun of him, he makes fun of people and he’s got lots of anger in him. And he’s darker compared to his brother. I was shocked when they said he was Subash’s brother!

 

Harindran on the other hand is Tirumel’s brother. He’s an exact replica of his brother except that he’s young and is yet to get his whole face and ears pierced and body tattooed like his brother.

 

Then Dakshan walks down from the the first floor to the ground floor where we were. He’s Sangeeta’s younger brother and he too is a complete opposite of her! He has this annoying habit of raising his hands and moving them about like an ape whenever he sings. At first I hated whenever he did that. But then as the days passed I had to live with it.

 

All these 3 characters along with a few more from the girl side has a connection with the Yathra 06 participants. They remind me of the Pokemon games where almost every Pokemon character has a prequel character before it. For instance Pikachu and Pichu.

 

It was dejavu for me. I felt it was 2006 all over again and it was scary.

 

Keshov thankfully has no one he’s related to from the Yathra 06. But he does know most of the Ipoh teens. He’s good looking (that’s what the girls tell me) and he seems macho and all but only throughout the Yathra did I realised that this macho man needs to grow up. But of all the teens he was one of the few that really listened to my orders and instructions and was one of the sweetest. And he was one of the few that was so easily to fall for pranks and tricks that I played during Darshan time.

 

Balendira on the other hand is a forgettable character. Not because he’s a villain or anything, it’s just that he’s quiet and reserved. He’s not sociable as the rest of them. He’s thin and he was the only one that did not shave and come. So I made him shave in the night. But in the days to come, I would get to know him even more.

 

As I was observing the whole lot, I hear someone say hello to me. I turn and look and there was the singer, Pritha Prasad’s son, Pranav, the boy wonder. The genius in music.  I say hello back.

 

I was starting feel a little claustrophobic as the boys were surrounding me and were getting to know each other. so I ran up to the first floor to check it out. The first floor is where the boys slept and it’s also where the “office” for the organising committee is. Towards the toilets, that’s the dining area.

 

And there was Puvini and her mum, bringing good food for all of us. She’s so sweet because she actually takes the pain to come early in the mornings, set up the food area, sit with us throughout the boring Suprabatham sessions and wait till lunch to serve us lunch etc. Basically she was there with us 70% throughout the whole time.

 

When I first saw her, I saw her staring at the window. I thought she was feeling sad or something so I asked her, “You okay?”

 

“Yes I am”

 

I waited for a few moments and then I said, “You’re bored right?” She smiles. “There are some books over there at the back, you can take them and read. But mostly are spiritual related books. You know, books about the Bhagavad Geeta, and Gandhi and Vivekananda. The usual stuff.. They actually make you feel even more bored so you can continue staring at the window”

 

She nodded. Not much of a talker perhaps.

 

I move out and went down stairs and I bump into Sudarshan coming up the stairs. Now, Sudarshan is the odd one out. He’s way matured for his age and his thinking style is different. Throughout the trip I realised we had a lot of things in common. We’re both sarcastic, we both love pranks, we both love reading and video games and we both hate, I repeat hate being silent. Sometimes we think alike. Most of the time, we do.

 

Akka then comes and the boring introductory session begins. Bla bla bla… Akka explains the rules of the camp bla bla bla. I sat at the back blowing my nose. My flu was worsening and I could feel a sore throat coming up.

 

By evening I had developed fever and I had lecture from Akka for not being focused during the camp as a Faci as I kept going out from the hall and being too playful with the kids. But they’re so much fun!

 

Seriously, I hate being serious.

 

From the sessions, I realised the boys gelled with each other really well. The girls… well, they needed more time.

 

In the evening, it was the audition session. Here was where we hold an audition where each teen auditions for singing, voice narration and acting. It was fun to see how each one of them showed off their own talent.

 

I was amazed to hear Jwalita and Pranav singing. It was mind blowing! And Vasanth acted really well too!

 

Later on Akka informs everyone about their respective room mates in Parthi. My room mates are Hari Anney (who’s also a Faci and one of the core organising Yathra 09 team) Harindran and Pranav.

 

I forgot to mention and explain about three more people. Hari Anney, Ganesan Anney & Bro Gopi.

 

I’ll start with Hari Anney. I always thought he was a very stern person who’s extremely seriously that he makes me shiver in my pants. But as time came, i loosened up with him and realised he has his jovial side too. He too, went through some hardships during his journey to Yathra 09.

 

Ganesan Anney is one witty faciliator who also loves being alone, like me. He loves missing sessions, like me. Who loves food, like me. Who does mistakes and laughs about it to akka, like me. We bonded so well.

 

Brother Gopi is also similar to Hari Anney. But as the days came, he cracked me up with his jokes and the way he treated the kids.

 

These were the few of God’s creations I met that day. More are yet to come 🙂

 

In the night, before I slept, I prayed for my family and friends. I can still picture mum’s teary eyes when she dropped me at the KTM station.

 

“Owhh c’mon Maa! It’s ONLY 3 weeks!”

 

That was my first day during the Yathra Orientation Camp. Still 5 more days before we fly off to Parthi. And what a day it has been!

 

*** Sai Inspirations is a daily blog about Sukhbir’s Yathra 09 experience from the 27th of November to the 22nd of December 2009. To read more about them, go to http://dramedyremedy.blogspot.com/

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