Written by Hope Catapult Adventures
Long ago there was a beautiful land called Chirilokam (The happy land of laughter) on the banks of a river Thenmozhi (sweet voice). True to the name the land had people who lived happily and in true harmony with nature. The abundant river flow with its sweet sparkling sound provided a lively background to the gaiety of the people who lived there. The land was blessed with youthful energy owing to the large number of children who studied and played at a small school by the river banks. The wisdom of the land encouraged a rich culture to help each other, to always spread happiness and to worship nature.
Down below the land of Chirilokam was the Pathala kingdom of the demon king Pathala Bhairavan where he lived in his huge palace made of gold called Swarna Malika (Gold palace) with an army of servants at his command. He was very rich and powerful, but cruel in his heart. He loved to see his people live in misery and unhappiness and derived his strength from that. People in his land feared him and lived their lives suffering at his mercy.
When Pathala Bhairavan used to relax at his palace he always used to hear the happy sound of laughter and playing from the children of Chirilokam above. This made him very envious and angry and he dreamt of the land of Chirilokam to become like his Pathala. He consulted his minister Vetalam on this problem and sought his advice. Vetalam said “O Lord! The land above is blessed with the wisdom of elders and they impart something known as education in schools to the children who read something called books which makes them wise. They learn from elders, how important is it to be happy, to keep others happy, to protect nature and to spread the light around. As long as these children live in this manner we will never be able to rule over”
Pathala Bhairavan roared with anger and said “If it has to start with children, then it will“
A cunning man, he devised a plan to change this. He set out crawling to the land of Chrilokam armed with abundant sweets and delicacies which were secretly cast with a wicked magic spell. He saw the children playing by the banks of Thenmozhi and went crawling on his all legs & hands pleading the children to try out his sweets and that it will make him well again and he would be able to walk properly. Out of pity, one by one the children agreed to try the sweets due to the goodness in their hearts.
The magic spell on the sweets made the children more addicted to the sweets that they kept wanting more. Pathala Bhairavan grinned a wicked smile of victory.
He roared and said “I will give you more, but I need something from you in return. Every time you agree to my wish you will each get a sweet “
Pathala Bhairavan’s quoted his wishlist
“You should stop smiling & talking to each other and you should be alone.
You should stop helping each other and should just worry about getting your own sweet and one should eat his/her sweet alone.
You should stop reading books and throw them all out.
You should not go to school anymore and spend time working for me.”
Children grew very desperate and were ready to do anything for the sweets. One by one, all of them agreed to his wishes.
The children of Chirilokam became very gloomy, angry and stopped listening to their elders. The school became empty and the books were left covered with dust. No one was spotted playing at the school nor by the banks of the rivers. No one read the books too. Chirilokam started slipping to a land of despair and slowly the dark clutches of Pathalam started to loom over.
The elders sensed this and tried to speak to the children and make them change, but the children were not willing to listen. They were all in despair. Fearing the worse the elders approached the old wise man of the village named Gurudevan for help.
Gurudevaan said “I understand the problem here and we need to approach this with care and love. These are passing phases in our lives where we will win over the demons by showing the light of wisdom to our children. “
There was a beautiful young lady in the village who was the only daughter of the village headman. Her name was Jyotirgamaya and she radiated happiness and light wherever she went. She was much loved by the elders and the children of the village. Everyone strongly believed that her smile was magical and could win over hearts.
Gurudevan approached Jyotirgamaya and said he needed her help to tide over this difficult period for Chirlokam. She was very eager to help since it pained her heart to see the gloom and despair around. She listened very carefully to what the old man had to say.
Gurudevan said “My dear child. The magic in this land lies in the happiness of the people who live here. There is a magical weapon against the dark forces which has always saved us. This weapon is the act of love and the wisdom that we have gathered over generations. It is this wisdom that all of us seek from the well-written books that we encourage everyone to read. “
Jyotirgamaya was curious and excited “Oh, Guru! Please tell me what this weapon is and who has it. We should save our children and our land”.
Gurudevan smiled and said “It is you. The weapon is our Punchirri (smile). The wise, learned, loving and happy ones amongst us spread these smiles and help to build a community of harmony.“
Jyotirgamaya bowed before the wisdom of the guru and promised “I will do whatever it takes to bring our children back to their happy selves”
She set out to meet the children. She faced a lot of resistance and lack of interest initially from the children due to the evil spell they were under. But she didn’t stop. She worked out the magic of Punchirri smiling at them one at a time. The change was slow, but one by one they started smiling back, exchanging smiles with each other. The power of that smile was so enormous that it spread all around and soon all the children were close to being happy. This Punchirri magic brought such a glow around Jyotirgamaya that she got a lot of power from this and started feeling empowered to emerge as a natural leader among the young.
Pathala Bhairavan felt his powers waning off and losing control over Chirilokam. He set out to take on Jyotirgamaya directly and to finish off for once and all. He crawled out of his palace once again and tried to offer sweets to Jyotirgamaya by bowing in front of her, and stretching both his hands forward, he caught her feet and tried to pull her down to Pathala. Jyotirgamaya by now became a very confident lady and pulled out her feet and crushed both the hands of Bhairavan under her feet.
Bhairavan suddenly rose up and howled in pain and anger. He hissed fire and heat from inside and was very infuriated and humiliated that his trick didn’t work.
Jyotirgamaya calmly put one of her feet on the head of Bhairavan and sank him down further under the ground. She was so powered by the punchirri, positivity and the love of the children around that her power sent Bhairavan down multiple levels of worlds into the deep dark interiors and nobody ever heard of him again.
The whole of Chirilokam got together and celebrated the Magic of Punchirri. It was surely a sign of happy times being back again.
Down under, the people of Pathalam slowly received the happy light of the Punchirri magic glow back in their lives.
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