But in those two words was a sense of longing which was 35 years in the fulfilling. A hunger he had carried in his heart since he was 15, the longing to see his ishtadeivam, Kali, and not just any Kali mind you, but Sri Ramakrishna’s Kali, the Mother at Dakshineshwar, She who had inspired him and set him off on a proud spiritual quest.
Though he had travelled all the way to the other side of the world, a trip to Kolkata never seemed to materialize. He covered all the metros… Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi … why he had even made the Kailash Manasarovar yatra, but Kali’s city somehow eluded him. Finally when his sister and family made the trip and brought back Kali’s Prasad for him, he could take it no longer. He had decided once and for all that he was going to make it, he was going to rendezvous with the Terrible One within a year, and he did. And finally when he did set his eyes on Her, surely he closed them in bliss. A tumult of emotions that welled up within him surely flowed down his eyes unabashedly; tears of pure unadulterated joy, of a longing finally fulfilled.
And at last when he was tranquil enough to let his little sister know that he had seen Her, he knew that no words could fully express the magnitude of what he had experienced. So he resorted to one of Tamil’s greatest poets, a wizard of words who long before Shakespeare proved that brevity is the soul of wit. Kambar, who spoke volumes in the two words that fell out of Hanuman’s mouth when He returned to Rama after his successful quest to find Sita. “Kanden Sitaiyai,” was all He said. But He conveyed a world of meaning in those two words.
And so, he borrowed the words of his sister’s ishtadeivam to tell her that he had finally succeeded in his quest. After all, she was the only one in the family who could really appreciate the fine nuances, the power, and the significance of those two words,” Kanden Kaliyai”.