The lockdown has challenged the endurance of people, who are basically outdoor-oriented. And for energetic children, it has been a strange experience, the summer vacation starting much ahead. Keeping them engaged has not been an easy task, in spite of digital entertainment, television shows, reading and indoor games. The parents of 10-year old Prahladh, however, encountered difficulty of a different kind. They ran out of stationery — paper and chart-paper — for the boy, who draws pictures of divine forms.
Prahladh was five, when he drew the picture of Narasimha, the deity he had just seen in the shrine at Sri Parthasarathy Swami temple, Triplicane. After darshan, he quickly sketched Telliyasingar with a pencil on an A4 that he had brought with him. His concentration amazed onlookers and a stunned Bhattar blessed the child with prasadam. Earlier, Prahladh had surprised his parents by drawing a picture after seeing an old photograph of the reclining posture of Ranganathaswamy of Srirangam.
Over the past five years, the boy’s devotion has grown manifold, and he is spending his leisure drawing images, at least one a day. The first thing his parents did when the restrictions eased a few days ago, was head to the nearest stationery shop.
His parents, who support Prahladh’s unusual passion, reveal that he draws the figures from memory after visiting the temple. Back in the hotel room after darshan of Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi, presiding deities of the Tirunelveli temple, the boy produced a sketch before the day ended.
Prahladh’s huge collection includes Lord Venkatakrishnan of Tiplicane, Kapaleeswarar of Mylapore, Durgai of Patteeswaram, Ranganathaswamy of Srirangam and Chakkarathazhwar of Thiru Mogur.
In December last, the family made a trip to Melkote. They went atop the hill for a darshan of Lord Narasimha and Prahladh left the shrine reluctantly. By the time they returned to Chennai, he was ready with a picture of Melkote Narasimha. Incidentally, Prahladh has captured Narasimha in many forms.
A student of Class 6 at the Hindu Senior Secondary School, Triplicane, Prahladh says that his inspiration is the eminent artist Keshav, whom he hopes to meet some time. Prahladh also is learning scriptures. A student of the late Nannilam Rajagopalan Ghanapadigal, his learning continues under his son Sri Krishna Ghanapadigal.