Book 3 | Chapter 42 | The Fever Subsides
Prince Arulmozhi Varman was housed in the room next to the head monk of the Choodamani Viharam. He lay on a wooden bed. He was mostly unconscious except for a few bouts of consciousness now and then. The monks took great care of him, feeding him water and medicines regularly. His bed faced a wall in which there was a beautiful painting, which depicted several Gods and Goddesses, with musical instruments and garlands of different kinds of flowers. Some of them were carrying umbrellas. The scene looked very realistic.
Sometimes the Prince felt that he had reached heaven. He wondered how he had reached heaven and remembered the boat ride to here. He remembered the fragrant flowers on the sides of the canal. He remembered the Devakumaran and the Devakumari who brought him here. The Devakumaran was probably a Shiva Bhakthan, because he had sung quite a few Thevaram songs. The Devakumari had only spoken a few words in their entire journey. Her voice seemed like music to his ears. She looked at him with warmth. He wondered where they were now.
He also recollected a Buddhist monk, who seemed to come close to him and pour some nectarine liquid into his mouth. He seemed to always feel thirsty in this heaven, and felt the monk was not giving him enough of the nectar. Was he intentionally not being given too much of the nectar? Was it indeed nectar, or something else? He seemed to fall asleep immediately after he drank the liquid. He drifted in and out of sleep and these memories for three days.
On the fourth day, he woke up with a start, with full consciousness. He realised that the image in front of him was a painting. He was still weak but understood that he was right now in a monastery. He recalled his journey from Lanka, and how he jumped into the ocean to save his friend Vandhiyathevan. He vaguely remembered escaping from that journey and reaching the mainland. He could not recall anything beyond that.
At that time, a monk approached him with the familiar liquid. The monk came close to him and squinted at him intently. He reached out his hand, took the vessel and looked into it. It looked like some form of medicine, probably mixed in milk.
“Swami, where am I? Who are you? How many days have I been here?”
The monk was silent and went to the next room. “Acharyare, I think the fever has subsided fully. He has regained full consciousness.”
The head monk came to him and looked closely at him.
“Ponniyin Selva, you are in Nagapattinam. In the Choodamani Viharam. You came here with a bad tropical fever about three days ago. We have been blessed with the chance to nurse you back to good health.”
“I am also blessed, Swami.”