Swami had come down to for the Dassera festival celebrations
It was October and Swami had come down to for the Dassera festival celebrations. He was staying at Chembur in a devotee's house. The festival was a few days away. My daughter's final year MBBS exams were to start within a fortnight. She preferred to go and stay in the hostel to do her last minute preparations for the exam. Before leaving, she cautioned all of us at home to take necessary precautions as there was an epidemic of typhoid breaking out at the time. With just five days left for her exams, on Thursday, at six in the morning, she came home with a high fever escorted by two of her friends. We were shocked to see her so seriously sick. Her friends said that she had been running fever for over four days and inspite of taking medicines, the fever would not subside. Fearful and anxious, my daughter wanted to come home and consult the family physician. Immediately we called our family doctor who was also her professor in the first year. After thorough checking, he suggested a blood test since he suspected she had the typhoid. Alas! All at home were in deep distress. My husband called Swami on phone and briefed him about our daughter Latha's sudden illness and sought his blessings. Swami told him to take her for the blood test and instructed him to send me to Tolaram towers to participate in the Lalitha sahasranama archana in the evening. I went there deeply perturbed and after prostrating before Swami, I started chanting. Though I was performing the kumkum archanai and chanting the sacred verses of Devi, my mind was elsewhere, in agony, all the while thinking about my daughter's illness and concerned since her final exams were to start from the following Monday. When the pooja got over I prayed to Swami to cure Latha's illness and bless her so that she could take the exams and graduate successfully. He pacified me saying that she would definitely appear for the exams and emerge as a good doctor. Temporarily consoled by the words of encouragement, I returned home, only to learn to my horror that the blood report confirmed typhoid. I broke down. I called Swami and cried to him to save her. Once again he reassured me saying that he would certainly take care of her and her exams. Both our family physician and the another senior specialist came home to examine her. Latha told them that in anticipation of typhoid, she had already started taking the necessary medicines for the past one week. She, being a medical student, started discussing her fever and the medication with them. The doctors told her that her body unfortunately was immune to the drugs she was on and they started discussing in depth, the prospect of trying new drug its curing capability and side effects. They instructed her to start taking the new medicine. Further, they advised her to take a drop from the forthcoming exams which were scheduled to begin within three days and appear after six months. They said it would be almost impossible for her to sit for three hours continuously at the exams on account of high fever, weakness and physical strain. Latha was in tears. She had scored very well in the previous years and had prepared very well for the upcoming exams. She cried to Swami on phone. She asked why Devi was punishing her for no reason. Swami again asserted that she should go to the exam hall with full faith in him and with mental courage. He assured her that Devi would definitely bless her. While this family crisis was unfolding, my husband was busy making all necessary arrangements and in making a rostrum for Devi in the temple hall of Ahobila Mutt for the last couple of days of Dassera celebrations which was to be held under Swami's auspices. It was the first time the function was being held in the temple hall. Lots of arrangements were to be made in the hall and my husband had been very busy. He used to stay back in the temple premises only. Due to my daughter's illness, he would come home and visit her two or three times a day. He advised her to have faith in Swami, take the medicines properly, partake of the sacred sandal paste given by Swami and leave the rest to God. By now, Latha was running persistently high fever of 104 degrees for over five days and it would not budge despite the medicines and cold wraps on the forehead and hands. Our family doctor was called again on Saturday night. After thoroughly checking her, he advised me to continue cold wraps on the legs and hands continuously till the fever subsides. At home, all of us were very upset and terribly worried. My relatives who visited, felt pity over the prevailing circumstances. My husband was now so tied up with the arrangements that he did not get the time to come home and only enquired about her health on phone. We were getting to be terribly upset with him over what seemed to be a callous attitude towards the family and his ailing daughter. On Sunday morning, he came home and seeing my daughter's rapidly worsening condition, he rushed to Swami. He fervently prayed to Swami to come to our house and alleviate the situation. Swami immediately materialized a Devi dollar and while he was handing it over to my husband, a devotee, who had.just returned from Chothanikkara Devi temple, entered to pay his respects to Swami and gave him the kumkum and other prasadams. Swami asked my husband to tie the dollar in a red thread and put it around my daughter's neck. He decided to come home with my husband. He told my daughter that she would positively appear for the exams and said that Devi would take care of every thing. I however, was getting to be increasingly apprehensive. I wondered how such a thing would be possible, how my daughter who was running a high fever of 104 degrees for the past five days would be able to appear for exams on the very next day. Swami instructed my husband to take me and her by car to the exam center at Ruia college, Matunga and after leaving us there, he asked my husband to come straight to the temple. Further he advised me to stay in the college premises and after the exams, he asked us to come directly to the temple hall in a taxi where the Navami pooja was to start at 5.30 the next evening. He instructed that neither myself nor Latha should speak to anyone after the exams were over and come straight to the temple. As per Swami's order, Latha wore the thread with the pendant and his sandal paste on her forehead. She summoned up courage and asked her cousin (who was also studying medicine and had come to meet her) to read some topics in medicine for her. The day of reckoning arrived. It was Monday morning. Latha, after praying to God and encouraged by Swami's words, tried to sit on a stool and started writing Om Sri Shakthi Bagavathi Narayanee Namoh Namaha. While writing, she suddenly fell down, incredibly weak due to the prolonged fever. Our servant lady who was nearby, screamed and called me. We both lifted her and put her back in bed. My sisters and neighbours came soon after to enquire about her health and tried to pacify us. They found fault with my husband and Swami. They also wondered how Latha can even dream of writing the exam which was to begin within six hours that day. Latha slept for an hour or so and after taking the necessary medicines along with some hot porridge, she took some sandal paste given by Swami. The exam was to start at two that afternoon. Around one, just before leaving, she spoke to Swami on phone and sought his blessings. Normally, in the month of October, it is hot as summer in Bombay. We reached Ruia college and found out that her seat number was in a room on the second floor. My husband and I helped her climb the stairs. All students and her friends were shocked to see her wearing woolen garments in the summer heat and not being able to even stay steady. I am sure they all wondered why she was trying to appear for the exams in such a dismal physical condition. It seemed to be a recipe for disaster!