Govinda iyer is singing the Mohana varnam. ” You are such an outstanding singer. Why do you have to still practise this basic Mohna Varnam” ,his wife says. ” It is because I like it, be it simple or not. I like Mohanam. Take it or leave it.”
“There is some one at the door. Interrupt your mohanam for a
whle and go and find out what he wants,. And then, we need to go to the Brihadeeswara temple in the evening.. I have vowed to The Kolamukhi, to offer a coconut. and flowers today. “, the wife shrugs and goes back into her haven, the kitchen.
The visitor is an emissary from the court of the Udayaarpalayam principality. Govina Iyer receives the missive, opens it and goes through it.The Zamindaar ( prince) has requested the singer to kindly consider to be his guest for a few days and provide him and his courtiers an opportunity to listen to the maestro’s divine rendering of the Mohana raga. Iyer conveys his acceptance.
The musician and his spouse, go to Udayaarpalayam. The Zamindaar is happy. He enquires whether the travel was comfortable and whether they have any special requirements in respect of lodgings and food. The singer humbly lists his spartan requirements. The couple are comfortably ensconced in their new environs. Days roll by. Months pass. The couple are treated regally. But Govinda Iyer is restless.
There is no call from the prince, to display his prowess. In disgust, he packs his things and stealthily leaves,the town on his way back to his home in Tanjore along with his wife. Soon it is noon. The heat is sapping.
They come to a lake surrounded by big shady trees , take their bath in the cool waters, eat their lunch and lie beneath a massive tree for a siesta. Iyer pities the prince for not having been lucky enough to savor his Mohanam. “No matter. I will sing to these trees, this lake and the flora and the fauna. They say this forest abounds in Vana Devatas, the Angels of the wood. Let them listen to me and bless me.” He starts singing beginning humbly with Vara Veena. His wife smirks, shrugs and goes to sleep. The concert goes on and on and on. He is exhausted. Raises himself up, stretches his aching back and prepares to lie down for a short siesta before embarking on the rest of the journey.
To his surprise, a stranger appears before him emerging out of the thickets. Iyer looks at the stranger’s face keenly. Oh, it is the prince in a common man’s garb.
The prince explains to the singer his surprise presence in the woods. His experience was that singers singing in the court looked perfect in technique but lacked spontaneity . He wished to partake in the spontaneous and extemperaneous outpouring of joy that Iyer’s singing exuded,
The prince prevails over the couple to return to his city and accept a reception in their honour. The couple agree.