Oliyur, a small hamlet in the southern part of India, was in a festive mood. All set to welcome its son of the soil, Arul.
Malini, one of the press reporters covering this event was busy collecting the details about Arul, and in the process she was able to understand the magnitude of his contribution to the whole of humanity.
Three days back he was awarded the country’s highest civilian award by the President and a day after that he was conferred the title “Suriya Oli“ ( meaning ….Brightness of the Sun) by the state Chief Minister, which the media prefixed to his name and started referring to him as Suriya oli Arul.
Malini was reading the extract of Arul’s last Interview…..
Question: How did it all start?
Arul: I never had electricity at home during my school days. For my college education I was forced to move out, and thereafter my lifestyle changed – job, marriage, children….. Pressures of life drastically reduced my visits to the village. During my grandmother’s last days I visited to be beside her. This achievement was because of her last wish.
Question: What was it?
Arul: I was talking to her about my profession – the research work I do on Solar Energy and its potential to meet the electricity demand of the entire humanity with just a part of its daily radiation. She was happy to learn about it and requested me to ensure that all the villages in the world get electrified at an affordable cost so that their near and dear ones stay close to their parents and grandparents. That was her last wish, and I sensed she strongly believed I would do this. Then I had to leave her due to my work demand, and a week later she expired. I lost my mother at a very young age, and she was everything to me. Though she was very happy with my growth and achievements, she always preferred to stay at our naturally lit small ancestral house in the village.
Question : Then what happened?
Arul: Then I got back to work more determined and focused, after four years I led my team to invent a technology of low-cost solar cells with inbuilt storage capacity which can produce power efficiently even at low radiation levels and scalable according to the requirement. The cost of power is so low which enabled the government to provide 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all the villages at a cost of 10 Paise per unit.
There was a sudden raise in decibels, the crowd was excited, which made Malini turn; she noticed a fleet of silent electric cars approaching the crowded lane of the only school in Oliyur village. “Suriya Oli” Arul got out of the car, he was garlanded by his old class teacher, he touched his teacher’s feet and sought his blessings and as he walked to the dais, village women welcomed him with a chorus of pleasing sound produced with quick movements of the tongue and/or moving the palm in front of the mouth. Though it sounded unusual to Malini, she could see a great sense of pride and gratitude among the villagers around.
Later villagers told her that Arul’s grandmother told people around her just an hour before her death that she could foresee this village being fully lit. There is no cause for worry about electricity, and the entire village is welcoming his grandson who made it possible and village women expressing their joy through Koravai.
Koravai: A method of expressing joy and happiness by making a pleasing sound, mostly by women. It is still in vogue in many parts of South India and Srilanka. It is a ritual in all auspicious occasions and receptions accorded to very distinguished people. The sounding of Koravai is believed to bring joy and frighten away the evil spirit.