Original Story by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj
Sundar was a bright student in his class but a computer nerd to the core. He wore baggy clothes in white, green, saffron or any combination thereof to school because his forefathers were Indian freedom fighters. Fellow students picked on him for his intelligence, his grades and pacific nature. He had no one to call a friend because the other students were afraid, they would become the butt of jokes and pranks.
He had a bulbous nose with depressed bridge and large floppy ears, which he had the ability to move up and down and backwards and forwards. He wore thick glasses.
His father was an ENT surgeon. That did not make him popular or help him gain respect or friendship from others. The family portrait showed the men, and their blood relatives had schnozzolas like that of comedian Jimmy Durante.
Sundar used to go to Sadhu for religious instructions and brought to his attention the abuse he suffered from his fellow students. He assured him things will change in due course of time. The Sadhu gave him a miniature metal idol of Vel Murugan, the God of war and victory and initiated him with Mantra ‘Om Saravana Bhava.’
Sundar carried the idol in his trouser pocket or school bag and most of the time left it in his prayer room in the house. He chanted his mantra whenever and wherever he remembered.
Sundar never revealed to anyone that he had Vel Murugan’s idol and chanted the Mantra. Chanting his Mantra sotto voce was second nature for him.
When he was on his way to school, he had to pass by the municipal park. He heard the call of the peacock. He turned his head towards the sound and saw a peacock with open feathers. That exhilarated him and thanked Vel Murugan for the sight and acknowledgement.
Soda-Bottle Ruffian
Every school day was a day for taunts, abuse, and verbal, and physical violence. That day, a rowdy-dowdy threw soda bottles filled with colored water against the school wall. The school warden was videotaping the incident as it was taking place. That stout belligerent boy rushed towards Sundar uttering curses and calling him ‘Soda-Bottle-Eyeglass Wearer.’ Sundar was afraid that the ruffian might grab and break his eyeglasses and make him blind; the only recourse he had was to utter the Mantra. The ruffian tripped and fell on the ground strewn with broken glasses he helped create by dashing soda bottles on the wall. Seeing him fall, Sundar uttered the Mantra once again. The ruffian escaped with only a few scratches from the broken glass pieces. The Matra came in handy to break the ruffian’s attack on Sundar and prevent him from sustaining too many lacerations.
Gundodharan, the soda-bottle ruffian was taken to the First Aid Room and attended to for his facial scratches. The principal suspended him for one week and informed the parents about his unacceptable behavior in the school with video evidence. The parents apologized, took him off from the school and admitted him to another school.
The Balloon Popper joins with the water gun sprayer
Sundar continued his school studies without any physical violence or verbal abuse for some time. It was Holi, the spring festival of colors. In certain parts of the country, Holi was a big celebration. In other parts, it was not. Sundar lived in an area where it was not a celebration. But some school students decided to make mischief and celebrate it for their own pleasure.
Bonda Gundan came from a family of wrestlers and was corpulent. He thought Sundar was an easy pick for his malicious mischief. He joined hands with the water-gun Wallaby, who came from a family of boxers. Though Holi celebration was out of place in his part of the country, the two wanted to use it as a prank on Sundar.
Bonda Gundan filled three balloons with three-color water: Saffron, white and green. Remember, Sundar wears only the Indian flag tricolor clothes. Water-gun Wallaby loaded three water guns with three-color water to spray on the victim. Both waited for Sundar to come to school. The two miscreants hid themselves in the watchman’s booth at the entrance to the school, ready to douse Sundar with colored water. The watchman was in the south booth at that time. The two had their radio on at that time, since they expected Sundar to turn his face towards the source of radio music, so they can soak Sundar’s face with colored water.
Sundar appeared near the booth and heard the peacock from the radio. Far ahead of the booth, he uttered sotto voce the Mantra, ‘’ Om Saravana Bhava.’’ In their hurry to douse him with colored water, they fumbled, toppled the booth by their clumsy movements, sprayed themselves with the colored water as the balloons burst open. Sundar uttered the Mantra again, blocking the booth from rolling off to the street with heavy automobile and truck traffic. People gathered around the booth, extricated Gundan and Wallaby, doused with tricolor water. The rescuers and Sundar laughed at the nefarious two who were crestfallen and made to pay for the new booth by the school.
Diwali celebrations
Moorgan and Arakkan were bosom friends in the school as thick as thieves. They wanted to indulge in malicious mischief on Sundar. They bought a bunch of crackers. The idea was to sneak in on Sundar, hook strings of lighted crackers on his backpack, frighten him and enjoy seeing him twist in the wind from a distance. They hid themselves in a telephone booth with crackers and a cigarette lighter. The idea was to wait until Sundaram passed by the telephone booth, jump behind him, hook the lighted crackers on his backpack, get back into the booth and watch the drama unfold. Sundar passed by the booth and saw a bus with an ad of a picture of Murugan and peacock. That reminded him to utter the Mantra, ‘Om Saravana Bhava.’ The two miscreants tried to exit the booth both at the same time with the lighted crackers but got stuck. The lighted crackers burst fiercely injuring their hands, shattering the glass, and damaging the booth. Sundar by reflex at hearing the explosion repeated the Mantra again. People gathered around the two; police came, arrested the two for malicious mischief and damage to the city property and took them to jail. Luckily for them, they had only minor injuries.

It was evening and children were at play. They left their school bags outside the play area since the school did not have lockers for the students. These two (Kalavan and Tirudan) were in the habit of stealing stuff from the unsupervised bags. The students lost money, books, pens, pencils, and sometimes whole bags. While Kalavan was rifling through other bags, Tirudan was getting ready to steal from Sundar’s bag. Sundar saw his tricolor bag being opened from a distance. He uttered his favorite Mantra: ‘Om Saravana Bhava.’ A wayward ball hit Moorgan smack right on his head and knocked him down unconscious. Sundar uttered the Mantra again. It took a while for Tirudan to get his senses back. That taught Tirudan that God works in mysterious ways.