A Vinappam

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An evening time. Maybe around six. PeriyavargaL sitting quitely in a corner at the KAnchi MaTham, with four-five people around him. Among them was a PATTi
- grandmother, crossed sixty, who had done muNDanam -shaving, of her head, wearing a white cloth, curling it up over her head. I was too a witness there.

At that time in Tamil Nadu, a scheme of granting financial assistance to senior citizens had been introduced by the then ruling party.

ParamAchAryar was talking to those who had come to have darshan of him. It could be seen that PATTi was anxious to tell him something. She was one who
was staying in the MaTham for a long time.

"A viNNappam--supplication, to SvAmigaL", started PATTi.

"prachchinai--problem for you too?", as SvAmigaL asked her, encouraged by it, that PATTi said, " oNNumillE--it's nothing! It is said in the sarkAr--government,
they give 20 rupees as penjan--pension, even for those who have no support in life."

"AmA, adhukku ennna ippO--Yes, so what?"

"That is, if I am recommended by the MaTham...I would get that money, won't I?"

"Would get it, sari--right, what grievances you have here?... You get your meals on time. They give you saris too; and there is place to stay. Beyond these, why
money, for you?"

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"That is, since it is obtained summA--ex gratia, so...", that mUdhATTi--old woman, dragged in hInasvaram--low voice.

"Look here! I am one who has no Adharavu--support, too! Somehow I remain in this MaTham in a corner. Shall we both apply for that pension?" Asking her in a
prankish tone, PeriyavargaL laughed.

Hearing these words, PATTi bowed her head in shame.

To misuse government's ex gratia is a great sin is PeriyavargaL's opinion. It is that he explained to PATTi and to the others.

ParamAchArya continued further:

"At least for us we get food to sustain our life, a place to seek refuge against rain and shine, and clothes to cover our self for honour. They have brought out the
pension scheme only to help the really poor who struggle for these things. If I get it for you, won't the chance be lost to another--real, eligible, unsupported, aged man or woman.