Arts

Salute to our Gurusamy

A picture of the late M.N.Nambiar. Photo: Special Arrangement  

If Nambiar the actor has left unforgettable memories for actors, who worked with him, the impact Gurusamy Nambiar left on Aiyappa devotees is indeed great. With the advent of the Tamil month of Karthigai, Sabarimala season begins and the hundreds of pilgrims, the writer being one of them, whom Nambiar initiated into the cult and led to the hills, will sorely miss him.

It is not easy to observe the regimen the way Nambiar did. It was devotion combining with discipline and absolute dedication. As a pilgrim who was in his group for over three decades, I was amazed by his grit, guts and determination.

The group that he led was a mix of people from neighbouring States too. And led he did till the end, up and ready at the crack of dawn. The 48-km trek demanded will power and stamina, both of which, he seemed to have in abundance. Perhaps, it was this routine that stood the late Rajkumar in good stead when he was captive of forest brigand Veerappan. The actor was a regular in Nambiar’s group. Incidentally, Vijayakumar and Balachandran, both members of the special task force engaged to nab Veerappan were also members of our group.

So was Rajinikanth, a fast walker. Gurusamy, however, believed in keeping pace with the others and helping the weak. Vishnuvardhan, Muthuraman (Kannada comedian) V.K. Ramaswamy, Sivaji Ganesan, Srikanth, Karthick, Karan, Ganesh (music composer) the late P.N. Sundaram (veteran cameraman) director (Sr) K. Shankar, AMitabh Bachachan, dance master Sundaram, Raju Sundaram and so on.

VIPS thus were aplenty in the group but everyone was treated alike. Senior swamis had to help juniors and present themselves at his house on specified dates for puja and other rituals. It was a royal feast after the puja, Gurusamy finding happiness in feeding the devotees. The tradition continues thanks to his wife and son Sukumaran Nair.

Nambiar always chose the Vandi Periyar path. It was tough and risky but with unerring precision and focus, he guided us. The late K. Veeramani through his singing added to the divinity of the journey. Having traversed the route for decades, Gurusamy could tell in advance landmarks and even the trees that stood ahead. The land and the topography were etched in his mind. And it was a delight to listen to his narrations - of episodes and experiences. Nights and dawns were marked by devotees singing Aiyappa songs.

A friend, philosopher and guide there was none who did not seek his advice at some point of time. Gurusamy would counsel them with great concern and sincerity. Devotees will continue their trek to the Sabarimala but the absence of Gurusamy Nambiar has left a void that cannot be filled.

(The author, a nephew of the late R.S. Manohar is a writer and filmmaker.)


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 3:01:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/arts/Salute-to-our-Gurusamy/article15715763.ece

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