There were demons and gods. They fought and they made love. They danced and they slept. They were angry and they were glad. They were animal-faced and horned. They had the eyes of a deer. They shone in jewels of stone. They fought with arrows that spat fire. They seemed lost in the eyes of beautiful calves. They had cruel canines that cried for blood. They had dashing bosoms, a scarce sense of clothes, all extrapolated by the sculptor’s tools and mind. But they were all stone. And they stood bear; lashed by the fiercest of rains and lightning; scratched and bruised by the flaming airs of mid-day Madras heat; undead and bear; all immortalized on the Kaaraneeshwarar Thirukkovil gopuram by railside Saidapet. And Kuppuchamy maama stood stooping in front of a roadside tea stall, lost in the beauty of stone.
Kannan: Well…how long are you going to be staring at the temple, maama? Maami would be waiting for you with her coffee with extra sugar! If you don’t go, I shall drink it all up and sit around as the owner of your house!
And I’d possibly turn to stone. I’d probably live like one of those gods or demons. Staring into space and unmoving.
(silence and Kannan leaves after flapping his chappals on.)
Kuppuchaamy maama(unaware): And he goes too. To live on the transient coffeed air. While I shall sit here. With the gods for company. With my dreams to sculpt, like that fortunate sculptor. With myself to reform, to chip and polish. And I’d possibly turn to stone. I’d probably live like one of those gods or demons. Staring into space and unmoving…
And so he enters the temple, dusting his feet at the entrance, while a petty thief walks off in his chappals, while Baalaambal paatti fumes on, waiting on the thinnai with the formless tumbler losing its smells to the evening air, while the children play in a bliss of innocent joy, while the other half of the world sleeps and dreams and makes what they can of the nightly beauty, while Kannan fights with his clients for a trifle more money, while calves with tummies of grass go back home with their bells tinkling with their every leg, while women walk on with vain bosoms, while time eats everyone raw. While Kuppuchamy maama stood stooping in front of a roadside tea stall, lost in the beauty of stone.