Kalaivani and Thathva Bodha = Too Good
  • Please take time to read and think


    Kalaivani and Thathva Bodha

    Posted by Muthu on August 28, 2010

    My friend sent me the transcripts of a Washington Post's NRI
    journalist's article about a poor girl who is working in 'Giri Trading
    Agency' near Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore, Chennai. Felt like
    sharing the same with you.

    After a simple Temple Darshan we entered "Giri Trading " and started
    searching for this Book on Thatva Bodha.

    We found many people buying various books and CDs and from their smart
    walks and accumulation of CDs from Bhajans to Bombay Jaishree, sent a
    nice feeling in us, that, we have come to the right place indeed.

    I was looking for this Book while my wife started collecting
    Bharathiar's songs and MS's Music. I searched everywhere for this book.

    There was this Girl Kalaivani, standing next to the Cashier, sincerely
    watching all our movements. A black Girl, should be from a nearby
    Village, might be 17 or 18, should not have crossed 8th Standard, and
    might be out of poverty she is here. All my Journalist's brain
    unnecessarily calculated about this gullible girl and though she was
    repeatedly watching me, I ignored her and started searching for "Thathva

    I saw many books from"Sandhya Vandanam" to Swami Vivekananda's Chicago
    Speech" but having spent a good 40 minutes, I looked at her.She also
    looked at me curiously.

    I asked her, knowing fully well that such a girl cannot have any idea of
    anything, leave alone Thathva Bodah.

    "Sir,Shall I help you?"(in Tamil)

    "Yes I am looking for Thatva Bodha?"

    "Sanskrit Text or English /Sanskrit?"

    God. She knows.

    "Sanskrit and English"

    "Do you like to have the Publication from Chinmaya Mission or Indu
    Publications or by Ramakrishna Mutt?"

    "I don't know. I just want to only learn you see. I don't really know

    "Do you read Tamil Sir?"

    "Yes I am a Tamilian " (thinking to myself how most of my life time I
    like to act in most other places that I am not).

    "Then Sir, you can take this". She ran to the Shelf where I had searched
    for 30 minutes, removed the books in the front side and came out with a
    book in Tamil.

    "This one in Tamil by N.Sivaraman by Indu Publications infact is simple
    and wonderful. You have the Sanskrit Text too inside."

    My God, Why did I under estimate such a genius? Just because of my
    arrogance that I am an NRI. Or just because I presumed such a black,
    gullible girl, who would have come for this job out of absolute poverty,
    would not have any idea of "Thatva Bodha"

    I decided to change my attitude and realise that I am absolutely an
    'Idiot' at this moment in front of this wonderful girl and submitted
    myself in all humility.

    "Madam, I really don't have any idea of even who wrote Thatva Bodha till
    Yesterday. I just attended a lecture on this subject and was fascinated
    by the lecture and hence..."

    "Did you attend Goda Venkateswara Sastri's lecture in Bharathiya Vidya

    "Oh God! How did you know?"

    "He regularly takes classes on such subjects. Infact he is one of the
    best sir, in the city on such subjects."

    "You are interested in such subjects?"

    "Yes Sir, I read a lot about Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna and
    Thathva Bodha incidentally is my favourite Subject".

    "You mean to say you have read Thatva Bodha?"

    "I have read this one by Sivaraman and once you read it you won't feel
    like keeping that book on the table at all."

    "Why what is so great about this book?"

    "Sir, you must be joking that you don't know about Thatva Bodha."

    "Really I accept my ignorance."

    My wife was watching from the corner, admiring all her CD collections.

    "Sir, according to me if you read this it gives the entire Vedanthic
    Saramsam and one would become a bit more humble in life leaving
    Ahamkaram (Ego) once for all."

    "Is it a fact that reading this simple book one would get so humble?"

    "Ofcourse one should be involved totally into the text, needs lot of
    conviction and devotion."

    My wife joined the conversation and she felt this girl is indeed a very
    very talented intelligent girl. So she told me "Why don't you interview
    her for Washington Post. Why at all you should think of Paris Hilton?"

    I also felt that I owe something to her. So I asked her whether she can
    spare sometime for an interview.

    She politely refused saying "My boss is to give me permission, besides
    many people are looking for guidance like you and hence I have to go."

    "What is your name anyway?"


    My wife's admiration for her devotion to duty and her total involvement
    in her work, made her go direct to the boss.

    "Sir, that girl Kalaivani..."

    "Yes, very hard working girl."

    "This is my husband Viswanath ."

    "Nice meeting you Sir."

    "He is the Senior Journalist in Washington Post."

    Boss stood up. "Washington Post?"

    "Yes Sir. I would like to interview this girl. I am highly impressed
    with her ethics."

    Boss called her. Time was 5:45 pm.

    "Kalaivani, they have come all the way from USA, they would like to
    spend sometime with you. Can you?"

    "Sir, there are so many customers waiting for some guidance, it is a
    rush time. If they can come again tomorrow..."

    "Ok Ok, I can come again tomorrow."

    I again came next day morning leaving all my appointments with Times of
    India just to see this girl. It was no rush hour.

    My wife and myself found out...

    Kalaivani is from a nearby village near Arcot. She has 5 sisters. She is
    the eldest one. Her father was a drunkard and he died a few years ago
    caring for none of them. Her mother used to work as a helper in Masonry
    and passed away two years back, leaving all the 6 on the streets.

    This girl who had completed her 9th standard decided to search for a job
    and 'Giri Trading' came forward to help her out. She brought all her 5
    sisters with her and with her meagre salary she is taking care of them.
    All the 5 sisters are going to a nearby corporation school.

    "Kalaivani, but when did you get this enthusiasm to learn about Thatva

    "Sir after joining here, I decided that the best way to be of help to
    the customers is to know the subject first. I took small Books on Swami
    Vivekananda and started reading. I found the subject so fascinating. I
    decided to read other books in Tamil like Bagavad Gita and Viveka
    Choodamani. Thats how."

    "What is your salary?"

    "Rs. 2500 Sir"

    "Are you able to manage all your expenses with the 5 sisters?"

    "Not at all sir but the boss helps me a lot."

    "What is your aim in Life?"

    "I want all my sisters to get education then they would get easily
    employments is it not?"

    "If I give monthly Rs. 10000 for meeting all your expenses. would that

    "It is indeed too much but that also I would accept only through my

    We took her to the boss and told him that we would like to send Rs.10000
    every month so that all her sisters' education would be completed. Boss

    "She deserves it sir. You can trust me I will hand over the amount to
    her every month or alternately you can open an account in her name and
    start transferring."

    My friend John Paul, who is the Regional Manager of Times of India, had
    also come with me. He said "You have done a good thing."

    My wife said "I pray that Karpagambal helps Kalaivani to become an
    expert in Vedantha and start giving lectures in USA. We can arrange for
    her lectures."

    We left wonderstruck. If we go into the interiors of Bihar and
    Barrackpur, how many more Jewels can be found.

    I really became humbled.

    She works at Giri Traders, Near Kapali Temple, Mylai Chennai
  • Wow. Wonderful read and great inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  • great work, but i wish they didnt include the part about their sponsoring
    her. remember old saying when you give, give in such a way that your own
    other hand doesnt know !
  • Could be take in the positive sense as well - to induce the privileged to
    identify more such people and help them.

  • Okay my suspicious mind wanted to search the Internet for the authenticity of this. I see this has been reported in Sulekha as late as 2008.

    Seriously the language used here does not foster a feeling that it is from a Washington Post senior journalist :-)
  • Dear,

    It is journalist’s style while narrating the incidence. The writer has brought environment portion exactlyand that is why it reflects just reading the same in Tamil. Any body has remembered Kalki's article on vaa.raa published in Kalki during 1948. He brought excellently tbe basic quality of vaa.raa. I am seeing kalki's depth in the said article.

    The various features of Kalivani has correctly brought out by him. Her sincerity, her devotion to duty, her meager pay, her excellent knowledge, her family backgrounds…….. what not?

    The writer has brought all features of Kalaivani in a poetic way. He clearly mentioned where the incidence happend and how his interest and his wife's interest varied.

    Normally, the writers priase big waalas for political or for other reasons.

    Parisukkku paattu ezuthum pulavarkal niraintha naadu ithu ayya.

    But Kalaivani is not political leader she is one among many poor girls, who requies assistnace for uplift of her family again not her personnal uplift of her but her family.

    The writer will never get any thing for prising her, except the honorium form WP if any he is entitled.

    I am able to follow the author’s society conciousness and it is the message he has given to all to help poor people in such a way that such assistance will uplift their entire family.

    Very good ariticle.

    As a writer, I hearlty congratulate Senior Journalist author and Namma Perumal for bringing this article to PS members.

    perumalE ungalukku 108 vandanam ayyaa.
  • This has appeared in some other forums as well. Authenticity can be
    checked easily by be checked by contacting giri traders.
    True or not, the story is inspiring.
    I have heard this story/fact from a close relative; a well to do
    gentleman alighted at the Srirangam station one evening, saw a girl
    selling flowers and reading a text book at slack periods, and arranged
    for a scholarship and financial assistance for her in the local girls
  • Dear,
    Even if the message is not true, the author has conveyed the way how to help poor people to all. For that, we have to congraulate to him

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