Photography is not allowed in the premises and yet I had to tell the world, how it feels to watch her face from that side window. Fortunately I found this image in the Belur Math documentary here. (Will I be banished from Tripoto to add this link here?)
That day, the experience was different. We sat right in front of her while the crowd was behind us chanting Saraswati Puja mantras.
The Universe conspires
When you wish with all your heart, the universe conspires to make it true. When I woke up at 3 AM in the morning, it was just that wish we had to see her. Six hours later, dealing with six modes of communication - leaving home at 4.15 AM, walk, bus, auto, ferry, rickshaw, train - We both were home. Only we knew how it felt.
Ma Sarada's home
We went there a dozen times before and yet it is never enough. We sit quietly on that very same veranda of her little home where she lived with her mother Shyamsundari Devi and Raduma, where Jagadhatri Puja was held, where her disciples frequented.
As we sat there, doing our Japa, we restored our energies to live these moments when we are far away from this home.
Knowing Mother once lived there, may be over a century ago - we were sitting on that very ground, watching her kitchen where she cooked - can actually bring goosebumps. Even today it is same mud stove that is used to prepare puffed rice. How did we know? That requires mention of our January visit.
When we visited Jairambaati in January, we woke up at 3.30 AM to be part of Mangal Arati - waking up Mother from her sleep. The stillness of the wee hours of the morning, the quiet breathing in the hall where the lights are switched off immediately after Arati for aspirants to meditate, pray and do Japa.
After Japa, we then went to her kitchen, as we saw a small light there and were curious to know what or who is there at 4 AM in the morning. As we approached, we almost held our breath when we found someone inside the kitchen in front of that mud stove - a senior lady in a white Sari preparing puffed rice - The only thought that crossed our mind was the most obvious thought in that state of mind - Mother!
Some one like her, prepared puffed rice there for two full hours. starting that early in the morning. We observed her through the kitchen window - She took a handful of rice, dropped them in the large container placed on the mud stove, the rhythmic cracks and a swift jerk to pull the puffed rice to a side and let it heap there. She continued with her work, fully engrossed, unaware of people who peeped - people like us, who come all the way here to build just that - a little bit of focus on our spiritual health.