When I was working at Ashok Leyland Ennore, we, the staff of Parts Office, used to go on pilgrimage tours every year. In 1976, we,about 25 staff and another 35 family members ( mostly women and children,), went in a chartered bus to Guruvayur, Coimbatore, Palani and Madurai. As per plan, we were to reach Madurai on the last leg of our journey, on a particular day at about 8 pm. On our request, the Parts Manager of our dealer TVS at Madurai, had kindly agreed to make arrangements for our stay on that night and for taking us to the temples the next day.
After good darshans at Guruvayur, Coimbatore and Palani as per plan, we left for Madurai, but unfortunately, the bus broke down immediately after we left Palani. We informed TVS Madurai that we were likely to be delayed , but we did not expect that it would be over 5 hours delay. When the bus was repaired, it was 10 pm and as it was already very late, we finished our dinner on the way and reached Madurai by about 1 am.
When we reached the place where our stay had been arranged, we were stunned to see 4/5 officials of TVS and the catering staff, waiting for us with dinner !. As soon as they saw our bus, they spread the Vazhai ilai for all of us and as we got down from the bus, they guided us to the dining hall straight. On seeing that the officials had been waiting for us without sleep, none of us had the guts to tell them that we had finished the dinner. We all silently sat and had the second dinner of the night. Most of us ate with tears in our eyes.
TVS had arranged comfortable beds for all of us to sleep and we had a short nap for about 4 hours. When we got up at 530am, steaming coffee/ tea/ milk was waiting for us. When we got ready for the temple visit by 7 am.,delicious breakfast of idly, Vada, Pongal etc was served. Though none of us felt hungry ,again, we all ate silently in order not to offend them. Next on the list was Poo. Girija and the other ladies ( about 25 ) were thrilled to get 100 muzhams of Malligai Poo ( You know Madurai is known for Malli ).
We were then taken to all the temples where we got VIP treatment, thanks to TVS. When we returned to our place of stay at about 1 pm., it was once again the time for a grand lunch.
After lunch, when we got into our bus to leave for Chennai at about 2 pm., we saw three big baskets in the bus. Two baskets had packed food for our dinner on the way and the third basket had 100 muzhams of Malligai Poo !!.
We all , esp the ladies, could not control the tears on seeing ( perhaps for the first time ) such great Virundhombal. After thanking the TVS officials profusely, we left Madurai with an unforgettable experience of hospitality, the memeories of which will be cherished by all of us throughout our life.
Three cheers to TVS