"When i saw Tirupati Balaji" is an exemplary book written by Mr P.V.R.K.Prasad, an IAS officer who served as the executive officer of TTD (Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams)for many years. It is a beautiful collection of essays by Mr Prasad counting his experiences as the first servant of god in the capacity of executive officer of TTD. It is a highly recommended book for believers as well as non believers. The book is so compelling that i completed it in 2 days. The book has reinforced my faith in god manifolds. Ever since i have read that book, i have been wanting to go to Tirupati.
My last trip to Tirupati was in 2007. However after 2007, i could not visit Tirupathi for some reason or the other.
From 2007, my many plans for lord's darshan failed. In 2012, i made yet another attempt to see the lord at Tirupati. Everything was set. We had booked for the seva, for the accommodation and the taxi. We were scheduled to leave at early hours of the 27 June. I was all excited since this was my visit to Tirupati after 5 years.
On the evening of the 26 June 2012, i started feeling cold. By 6 PM, i started getting severe chills and within few minutes i was under 5 blankets. By 8 PM i was lying in the emergency ward of Manipal hospital.
So yet again Tirupati plan got cancelled. On the morning of 27 June, two lucky people from my family took my place and proceeded to Tirupati for the lord's blessings.
We planned to go to Tirupati after my wedding on 4 November 2012. But even before we could chalk out something , my wife fractured her leg and she was in plaster for 6 weeks. Many events throughout 2013 did not give us an opportunity to plan for any trip.
All the events just buttressed my firm belief that nothing works as per our plan. We were just not destined to get the Lord's blessings. Tirupati remained a distant dream for us.
It was on one fine day in April 2014 that the thought of seeking Balaji's blessings came to me. My brother too was planning to go to Tirupati for many years but had not materialized. So we decided to give for Kalyanothsava for the lord at Tirupati.
|At Manipal Hospital, 27 June 2012|
We had planned to give for the seva on the 28 July. So on the midnight of April 28, we were sitting and waiting for the portal to open. The portal opened at 12:20 AM on the 28 April. We were all set to book for the seva. But when we clicked on the "Book" button we were getting some error message. Out of desperation, we tried from different computers and from different internet connections but of no avail.
So i called up my brother in the US to try. I had to send him all the details and passwords. We did all that but for some reason photographs were not attaching. After a while we were successful. Meanwhile the sevas were getting booked very swiftly and our hopes were dimming. My brother could operate one account at a time. He finally managed to get to payment gateway. I had to give my credit card details. After all information was entered , i did not receive the password for the payment on my mobile phone. It finally arrived after much delay and we were lucky to get a confirmed booking. So two tickets for two couples were booked 90 days in advance.
I was finally relieved by 1:30 AM and thanked god.
We booked our Hotel and taxi well in advance. We were pre prepared for the chaos and crowd. We were travelling with two kids. One about 11 months (My son) and the other 4 and half years old (My Brother's daughter).
Our plan was to leave on the afternoon of 27 July. Reach Tirupati by late evening. Relax in the night and head to lord's darshan the next day morning (Kalyanothsava was scheduled at 11 AM on 28 July).
We had a small ceremony at home on 26 July. Soon after the ceremony, my always charming and playful niece complained of stomach ache. She was in bad pain and we took her to the hospital at 4 PM. The doctor said there was nothing to worry about and sent us home with some medication. Doctor did not advise us to cancel the trip.
At around 8 PM, my niece Isha started vomiting. We thought it was some food poisoning. But she puked a few times and at 11 AM, we called the doctor who asked us to get Isha to the hospital. At 11:30 PM we were at the emergency ward of Manipal hospital. After some procedures, medication and X ray she was discharged and we were back home by 1 AM on 27 July. The doctor said my niece was ok and she should not vomit again.
But at 2:45 AM on 27 july, Isha started vomiting again and we had to rush her to Manipal hospital. She was admitted at the hospital. She was put on intravenous fluids and medicines. Ironically, i was admitted at the same hospital and same ward exactly 25 months back (27 June 2012) with almost the same symptoms and i too was put put on intravenous fluids and medicines.
So, at 8 AM on 27 July, my little niece was sleeping at Manipal hospital. Yet another Tirupati plan was cancelled. I called up the hotel and cancelled the booking. The cab driver called and i asked him to cancel the trip. He too was disappointed. However, i asked him to come over so that it will be easy for us to commute between home and hospital and for other odd jobs as required.
I was not destined to get the lord's blessings. My many attempts had failed and i told myself that i will go when the lord wishes.
It was a sad day. Phone calls were pouring all day to enquire about Isha's health. She is a precious baby for our family. So all were concerned. We shuttled all day between home and the hospital. Isha was discharged at 5:30 PM. She was all ok and playful.
The idea of Tirupati was still clinging on my brother's mind. Isha was normal and very energetic. She was more than compensating for the previous day.
At 8:00 PM my brother santosh said lets us go. After a five minute discussion, we unanimously decided to head out to Tirupati without a second thought. We called the cab guy and he agreed to show up at 4:30 AM the next day (28 July).
From somewhere we got the grit to make it. Isha, my niece is a very precious gift of lord to our family. We can never afford to compromise with her health. But somehow we thought we can make it. We were well aware of the crowd and mayhem at Tirupati. But we still wanted to make it.
I got up at 3:00 AM the next , got ready. I was myself not very well. I was on medication for last two weeks. But it did not bother me. The thought also did not come to me. I am realising that i had forgotten my medicine only as i am writing this.
At 4:45 AM, we were off. We were 6 of us. Myself, my wife sheethal, my son Shri Krishna, my brother Santosh, my sister in law Vijeth and my niece Isha. It was a very comfortable journey. We had to struggle a little inside Tirumala to get o the right place but by and large it was manageable.
As expected it was very crowded and people were pushing from all directions. We were very concerned about Krishna and Isha. But both the kids behaved extremely well. Inspite of so many people , amidst all the screaming and chaos, the kids kept their calm and behaved.
We finished the kalyanothsava. By that time both the kids had slept. By the time we were heading towards the sanatorium for Lord's darshan, the kids woke up. To our surprise Krishna was all cheerful and smiling in the middle of the mayhem. He was clapping and enjoying. We got into the sanatorium and had a very satisfying darshan of the God.
We got into the temple at 11 AM and we were out by 2:30 PM. We were surprised and delighted by the sequence of events.
I got into the car to find a few missed calls from the relatives who were anxious to know how Isha was doing (No one knew we were going to Tirupati). They were surprised to learn that we did make it to Tirupati. Everyone were appreciating our courage to have made the trip.
My seven year long wait culminated with the lord's darshan on the 28 of July. I never imagined that we could make it after all the events that preceded our visit. I do not have any explanation for the events. I did not have anything to say to our relatives as well but just "Naham Kartha, Hari Kartha" .