By 1996, Appa decided it was time to move from Goa back to Karnataka. Komala had completed her 12th standard and wanted to study Psychology. Mysore University was supposed to be good for that subject, so Appa said we would settle there.
We sold the Tisca house (for what people later told us was a pittance, but then, there was really no option because we wanted to move soon) and Amma, Appa and Komala settled down in Mysore. I still had my final year B. Pharm to finish, and became a permanent hostelite in Goa, with trips home to Mysore once every 2 to 3 months.
After the hectic activity of all those years, Amma and Appa could finally relax and lead a retired life. But Amma wasn’t one to sit quietly and while away her time. She started organizing bhajan sessions in our house on weekends and our neighbors who had great respect for Appa and Amma, responded enthusiastically. They would even bring their friends and relatives over.
|Amma Appa being honoured by bhajan group members|
|Amma lost in prayer|
|Bhajan group and relatives too|
Both Amma and Appa would go for pravachans arranged in the city. We had members of the extended family in Mysore, and would visit them occasionally, and they would come over sometimes. All in all, this was probably the most glorious period of Amma’s life because she was still quite strong and in good health and doing the activities she loved most.
After 3 years in Mysore (during which time I continued to stay in Goa for my M. Pharm), Vijaya got back from Odisha and took up a position in Bangalore. I too finished my M. Pharm and got a job in Bangalore. Komala had finished her graduation and wanted to do her post-graduation in Psychology, and Bangalore University had a good department. Bhargavi and Maithili were already living in Bangalore.
It was a no-brainer. So we set up home in Bangalore. First, in a rented accommodation. Next, we moved to the house that Engineer Narasimhamurthy had willed to Amma. It was in this house that my engagement was held. It was from here that I went to my in-laws house after marriage. About a year or so later, my son was born, and in the same house, Amma cared for me post-delivery and took care of Sanath till he was almost 2 years old. It was also from this house that Komala got married and went to live in Chennai.
|Komala and Srivathsan with Amma Appa|
During these years, Amma and Appa finally got to fulfil their heart’s desire of learning the 4000 Divya Prabandham from a relative on Amma’s side, Jayalakshmi Maami. The Srinivasa temple at Sripuram was a 15-minute walk away, and Amma would go there before sunrise every day during the Margazhi month for the suprabhata seva as well as the adhyayana utsava during the rest of the day, and unjal seval in the evening.
Both Amma and Appa went on yaatras that were conducted by tour operators from our community. One of their daughters went along too. Amma would wake up earlier than everyone else, get ready well ahead of the informed time, co-operate with everyone, and visit all the places even if she had to walk in the hot sun.
|Amma outside Lotus Temple in Delhi|
|Bharagavi and her husband went on this yatra too|
|With Vatsala and Bhargavi|
If any of these tours had an award for most systematic /punctual /cooperative pilgrim, I’m sure Amma would have won it. After all, hadn’t she navigated all through her life with the same grace?