A Sales Girl in a Chennai Store- Giri Trading – E Mail


A Sales Girl in a Chennai Store- Giri Trading


After the Temple Darshan at the Kapaleeswarar Koil at Mylapore we entered the “Giri Trading” stores and started searching for this Book on “Thatva Bodha”

We found many people buying various Books and CDs and from their smart walks and accumulation of CDs from Bhajans to Bombay Jaishree, sent a nice feeling in us, that we have come to the right place indeed.

I was looking for this Book while my wife started collecting Bharathiar’s songs and MS’s Music. I searched everywhere for this Book.

There was this Girl, standing next to the Cashier, sincerely watching all our movements -a dark complexioned Girl, should be from a nearby Village, might be 17 or 18, should not have crossed 8th Std., might be out of poverty she is here.. all my Journalist’s brain unnecessarily calculated about this Gullible Girl..and tho’ she was repeatedly watching me, I ignored her and started searching for “Thathva Bodha”

I saw many books from “Sandhya Vandanam” to Swami VIvekananda’s “Chicago Speech” but having spent a good 40 minutes. I looked at her, she also looked at me curiously. I asked her, knowing fully well that such a girl cannot have any idea of anything, leave alone “Thathva Bodah”

“Sir, may I help you?” (in Tamil)

“Yes. I am looking for ‘Thatva Bodha’ ”
“Sanskrit Text or English/Sanskrit?”

God..she knows.
“Sanskrit & English”
“Do you like to have the Publication from Chinmaya Mission or Indu Publications or by Ramakrishna Mutt?”
“I dont know..I just want to only Learn you see..I dont really know indeed”
“Do you read Tamil Sir?”
“Yes I am a Tamilian ”
(thinking to myself how most of mylife time I like to act in most otherplaces that I am not)

“Then Sir, you can take this”..she ran to the shelf where I had searched for 30 minutes, removed the books in the front and came out with a Book in Tamil.
“This one in Tamil by N.Sivaraman by Indu Publications infact is simple and wonderfull. You have the Sanskrit Text too inside.”
My God. Why did I under estimate such a Genius. Just because of my Arrogance that I am an NRI. Or Just because I presumed such a Black, dark complexioned, gullible girl, who would have come for this job out of absolute poverty, wouldn’t have any idea of “Thatva Bodha”

I decided to change my attitude and realized that I am absolutely an ‘Idiot’ at this moment in front of this wonderful girl and submitted myself in all humility.

“Madam, I really don’t have any idea of even who wrote ‘Thatva Bodha’ till yesterday. I just attended a lecture on this subject and was fascinated by the lecture and hence….”
“Did you attend Goda Venkateswara Sastri’s lecture in Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan?”
“Oh God. How did you know?”
“He regularly takes classes on such subjects. In fact he is one of the best Sir, in the city on such subjects.”
“You are interested in such subjects?”
“Yes Sir, I read a lot about Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna and Thathva Bodha incidentally is my favorite Subject”
“You mean to say you have read Thatva Bodha?”

“I have read this one by Sivaraman and once you read it you won’t feel like keeping that book on the table at all.”
“Why what is so great about this Book?”
“Sir,you must be joking that you don’t know about ‘Thatva Bodha’.”
“Really I accept my ignorance.”

My wife was watching from the corner, admiring all her CD collections.
“Sir,according to me if you read this it gives the entire Vedanthic Saramsam and to say it in-one-word you become a bit more humble in life, leaving Ahamkaram once for all.”
“Is it a fact that reading this simple book one would get so humble?”
“Of course one should be involved totally into the text. Needs lot of conviction and devotion.”

My wife joined the conversation and she felt this girl is indeed a very very talented intelligent girl, so she told me “Why don’t you interview her for Washington Post. Why at all you should think of Paris Hilton?”
I also felt that I owe something to her. So I asked her whether she can spare sometime for an interview.
She politely refused saying “My boss is to give me permission. Besides many people are looking for guidance like you and hence I have to go.”
“What is your name?”

My wife’s admiration for her devotion to duty and her total involvement in her work, made her go direct to the Boss “Sir,that girl Kalaivani.”
“Yes very hard working Girl.”
“This is my husband Viswanath.”
“Nice meeting you Sir”
“He is the Senior Journalist in Washington Post.”
The Boss stood up.”Washington Post?”
“Yes Sir. I wd like to interview this girl. I am highly impressed with her ethics.”
Boss called her. Time was 5:45 Pm.
“Kalaivani, they have come all the way from USA, they would like to spend sometime with you. Can you?”
“Sir, there are so many customers waiting for some guidance. it is a rush time. If they can come again tomorrow.”
“OK. I can come again tomorrow.”
I again came next day morning leaving all my appointments with ‘Times of India’ just to see this girl. It was no rush hour. My wife and myself found out.

Kalaivani is from a nearby village near Arcot. She has 5 sisters. She is the eldest one. Her father was a drunkard and he died a few years ago caring for none of them. Her mother used to work as a helper in Masonry and passed away two years back, leaving all the 6 on the streets.

This girl who had completed her 9th std decided to search for a job and ‘Giri Trading’ came forward to help her out. She brought all her 5 sisters with her and with her meagre salary she is taking care of them. All the 5 sisters are going to a nearby Chennai Corporation School.
“Kalaivani. But when did you get this enthusiasm to learn about ‘Thatva Bodha’?”
“Sir after joining here,I decided that the best way to be of help to the customers is to know the Subject first. I took small Books on Swami Vivekananda and started reading..I found the subject so fascinating..I decided to read other books in Tamil like Bagavad Gita and Viveka Choodamani. Thats how.”
“What is your salary?”
“Rs 2500, Sir.”
“Are you able to manage all your expenses with the 5 sisters?”
“Not at all Sir, but the Boss helps me a lot.”
“What is your aim in LIfe?”
“I want all my sisters to get education. Then they would get easily employments is it not?”

“If I give monthly Rs 10,000 for meeting all your expenses, would that suffice?”
“It is indeed too much, but that also I would accept only through my Boss.”

We took her to the Boss and told him that we would like to send Rs.10,000 every month so that all her sisters’ education would be completed.
The Boss said “She deserves it Sir. You can trust me – I will hand over the amount to her every month or alternately you can open an account in her name and start transferring to the account.”

My friend John Paul, who is the Regional Manager of ‘Times of India’ had also come with me. He said “You have done a good thing.”
My wife said “I pray that ‘Karpagambal’ helps Kalaivani to become an expert in ‘Vedantha’ and start giving lectures in USA. We can arrange for her lectures.”

We left wonder struck! If we go into the interiors of India, how many more ‘Jewels’ like Kalaivani can be found!!

I really became humbled.


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Tulsidal Thanks
T.P. Sreenivasan, (IFS 1967)
Former Ambassador of India,
Director General, Kerala International Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
Member, National Security Advisory Board, New Delhi
Cell (91) 9847721656
J-3, Jawahar Nagar,
Trivandrum-695 003


About dhavalrajgeera

Physician who is providing free service to the needy since 1971. Rajendra M. Trivedi, M.D. who is Yoga East Medical Advisor www.yogaeast.net/index.htm http://www.yogaeast.net/index.htm Graduated in 1968 from B. J. Medical College, Amadavad, India. Post Graduate training in Neurological Surgery from Charles University in Czechoslovakia. 1969 - 71. and received Czechoslovakian Government Scholarship. Completed training at the Cambridge Hospital and Harvard University in Psychiatry. Rajendra M. trivedi is an Attending Psychiatrist at Baldpate Hospital. He is the Medical Director of CCA and Pain Center in Stoneham, MA where he has been serving the community since 1971 as a Physician. OTHER AFFILIATIONS: Lifer of APA - American Psychiatrist Association Senior Physician and Volunteer with Massachusetts Medical Society and a Deligate of the Middlesex District. www.massmed.org Patron member of AAPI - American Association of PHYSICIANS OF INDIA. LIFE MEMBER OF IMANE - Indian Medical Association of New England. Member of the Board of Advisors "SAHELI, Boston,MA. www.saheliboston.org/About1/A_Board Dr. Trivedi is working closely with the Perkin's School for the Blind. www.perkins.org. Dr. Trivedi is a Life member and Honorary Volunteer for the Fund Raising Contact for North America of BPA - Blind People Association of Amadavad, India. www.bpaindia.org Dr.Trivedi is the Medical Advisor for Yoga East since 1993. He is a Physician who started Health Screening and Consultation At Shri Dwarkami Clinic in Billerica, MA. https://www.dwarkamai.com/health-and-wellness

8 responses »

  1. I really became humbled.
    u r towards goal
    It is extremely important to understand the exact nature of bondage then alone the word liberation will make any sense and also become something cherishable & feasible. What is our basic problem ? Is this life a problem ? Is action a problem ? Is the existence of thoughts a problem ? Is relationship a problem ? The moment we attribute something as the real cause of our problems, thereafter all our pursuits will obviously be directed to handle & eliminate that cause. There are many who keep sitting for hours to eliminate all their thoughts within, because they attribute the problem to them. No, none of these is basically a problem, for the simple reason that those ‘enlightened ones’ who are free not only act, but also think and experience. So the problem is something still deeper. It is a ‘sense of limitation’ regarding ourself. This limitation too is only imposed or imagined bu our own minds. This mis-apprehension is neccessitated because of the non-apprehension about our true Self. Not knowing our Self properly we just take ourself to be something else, and thereafter keep trying to eliminate a non-existent problem. Because the problem is not basically there therefore none of the steps taken by us really helps us, and thus the story goes on & on. We become eternal seekers, the whole life gets wasted in solving imagined problems. To be a Mumukshu means to diagnose our fundamental problem, and thereafter with single-pointed aplication direct all our energies to handle or solve it. Mumukshu thus has a very clear goal. Know the truth of his Self. As Vedanta is the compendium of knowledge which reveals the truth of our Self, he dedicates fully & thoroughly to the study of Vedanta. This alone is his goal, rest is all secondary. He thinks of this, plans about it, reads about it, discusses about it, and works for this. In the beginning the fellow may not be very clear of the nature of problem, but as the problem becomes clearer & cleare, so also the intensity of desire becomes clearer. Thereafter he has no other goal. The fellow wants knowledge of Vedanta, and nothing else.

    Thus a person who possesses these four-fold qualities of Viveka, Vairagya, Shamadi sampatti & Mumukshutvam is a person who is ready for the subjective awakening through the knowledge of Vedanta. He alone is the fit person for receiving this divine knowledge.

  2. Dr Balasubramaniam, You are really great. You gave a life-line to that intelligent girl, Kalaivani, and her five sisters to proceed with their education. I found your generous offer is most wanting and a lesson to others who also can help the needy in the deprived environment. I also thank your wife for her open heart.

  3. પિંગબેક: Tweets that mention A Sales Girl in a Chennai Store- Giri Trading – E Mail « તુલસીદલ -- Topsy.com

  4. Kalaivani is an exceptional girl, God had given her a rare Attitude – an attitude of fortitude, concern for her sisters; and even more tellingly a commitment of the highest order.She and her parents who gave such ‘vasanas’ to their children need to be complimented.
    It calls for a discerning and empathetic audience to appreciate and go an extra mile. The gesture by the Washington Post Journalist and his spouse is remarkable and pray God they are given more strength to be of service to humanity at large.
    I would like to compliment her Shop Owner most – but for him this event wouldn’t have happened. He is a kind soul obviously and may his tribe increase.

  5. Hi,

    I happened to read about this incident through one of my friends forwraded mails. Came across this blog while searching for her contacts. If any body of you has any contact of this girl, I wish to spare that 2500 rps salary per month for her and also support to continue her education.

  6. I stumbled into your blog while searching for Giri trading. Quite an interesting and inspiring story! I hope Kalaivani and her sisters are doing well and are getting a good education. Intelligent and resourceful students like her need all the help they can get.

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