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MY VERY OWN KAKU

Posted on November 20, 2011 at 12:45 AM

                                             MY VERY OWN KAKU

                                                              BY

                                              RAMESH.V.NAIVARUNI

I landed at Palakkad Railway Station on oct 12th 1984, the climate than was quite hot for a Bangaloren like me who are used to more pleasant climate, sweating all through my way, but that did not dispel my enthusiasm as I was visiting my Uncle places which is around 22kms from the Station. Usually we used to take   Autorikshaw ride upto Palghat town, and then take a bus ride up to Kollongode., since my elder brother Veera was accompanying me this time he took the train route up to otthara which is quite close to Kollongode,  from there we took a Auto Rickshaw ride to my village which called Eastern Village, Kizhekegramam called in Tamil.

The best part of the journey was the train ride from Palakkad Junction previously called Ollavakode, I could see on my way miles and miles of coconut plantation and between I could see paddy, banana and other plantation which was a treat to my eyes. The wind blowing from time to time used to set the paddy plantation swing into symmetrical dance form unknown to any one of us. This rare tapestry culminating out of nature’s own manifestation showing a humble human being like us, to understand that the nature has varied forms of dance and music which we are yet to understand and relate too.

On reaching my maternal uncles home my brother left me there,  the same night he was back to take the train back to Bangalore.  I was to stay put with my Uncle for next 8 months, besides my uncle , my Aunt, My Grandmother and  my Uncle's Aunts Son Attan who would have then been in his late seventies were there in the house.

The house was called Iyengars house and just could not understand why such a name was given as all of us were Iyers, not just in my house, but all the villager were Iyers too, so why Iygengars house prefix came to my maternal family is quite unknown to me till date.

The house begins with 9 inclining steps which I used to feel is not user friendly,  most of the houses were identical, I used to compare it with city houses which are more user friendly. As one goes into the house, we have a large sit out which was called Thinnai (Sit out) with just one easy chair on it , probably meant for head of the family and all others were to sit on the ground. I used to wonder what kind of relationship these people share,  when people are not treated as equals as was the case in big cities. As a quorum in Big Cities, where father and son used to speak like friends and share information’s. From the sit out we have an entry through a passage which used to be the rectangular straight passage through which one could reach up to the back yard, As we start from Thinnai on the either side of the house we have Large rooms which is called KOODAM, THE LITERAL TRANSALTION MEANS NEST, but I don’t know why a living room is called by such a name?. The right side koodam was adorned with Large size photograph of many gods, and it is perhaps a print from Raja Ravi Verma’s collections, which is still hanging there for close to 80 years. Neither my Uncle or anybody else, ever  bothered to change the frames, which is almost getting eaten up by termites etc., except for praying these gods to bless them, the family has kept these gods too in a pathetic state.

The right side Koodam (Living room) too was equally large had a sofa set on the right side. on the right side of the  wall there was a large book shelf, with amazing variety of books which none of the family members used to even glance except my Uncles Paternal Uncle Mr. Venkitramani , we used to called him chittaappa, who was perhaps the only one to go to college and I was told he studied up to BA but did not complete, which by itself is too high as none of the other family members has ever stepped into the protals of college gate, including my uncle who did not pass Secondary schools,  for them why will Shakespeare or Keats appeal? As such that was also a neglected portion, its fate was the same as that of the Gods.

As we go inside, we have huge kitchen which had Adupu(Conventional Stove) a rectangular 6 feet long with four feeders through which wooden logs used to be inserted and lit, I had a vivid memory I used to wonders about the wall right above the stove, which was black and I was told it could be washed at the end of the days cooking, and one could see one own reflection on it( To be very frank half of this was narrated to me by my mother’s) when I tried seeing my face there I could not----Then I thought it is more of an exaggeration than reality ,which is perhaps the hall mark of people taking about their own past. \

As we come out of the kitchen we have something called Thavaram which acts as a interface between Kitchen and Dining room which in the colloquial terms called Kolathavaram. Here I used to see all the male members of the family having food and in today’s parlance it is dining room for men only, the women would have it in kitchen itself. What a gender bias!

Adjacent to kitchen is a semi wash room and thereafter we used to have 10steps declining stairway which leads to squared open space which had Tholasi madam(A Godly herbal plant worshipped by Hindus especially the women) the legend has it that the women who worship this plant will usher in long life for her husband and children, besides well being of the house. As we proceed to the back yard we have two room structures which is called Rendan Kattu,( which means second house, when literally translated) the orthodox Brahmins would make their women stay in that place during the menstrual cycle, but by this time it has turned out to be just another rooms where the waste and wood for cooking was stored. The next is the cow shed and after that we have one bathroom which was quite huge. Here the bath room was sparing used, as men and women used to take bath on the village pond.

The backyard of the house used to have plenty of vegetation once, I remember a Mango tree, plenty of coconut tree besides other plants, within its confines we have a huge well and I was told that had more than 150 years of existence,  have been quenching the thirst of many generations of two families. one my maternal uncle's family other is their cousins, It had a railway track on the top of the wall fitted with a pully through which they used to draw water. At the end of this back yard is the toilet with no pipes or waterline attached to it. People who want to ease out should carry water on a bucket and all the human waste are driven to the nearby plantation which used to act as a best fertilizer.

I had forgotten to mention about the room right above the drawing room and Thinni, which is  quite a huge size had large windows through which I could see Seetharkund hills, during wintery days as the sun rises up ,we could have an panoramic view of the hills, and at times, I had personally sighted waterfall engulfing through two tiny routes, jumping and dancing which gives out vivid colors’ at different times of the day.

One day as I could not catch sleep, I got up went to the first floor room and opened the window it was almost the twilight hours I lit a cigarette and stood there at 6 o clock, I witnessed something amazing as sun started spreading its radiance on the hills, there by lighting it with red and yellow lights on a controlled speed as sun spread throughout the hills, it was spectacular sight that I could ever see.

I have also witnessed during monsoon season, the Sun light passing through the watery prism creating rainbow images on the hills. For me the Kollongode hills atop this Eastern village are quite formidable both in size and structure.

As I was jobless during that period except for reading news paper and going out for a smoke or sometimes with a Tailor Saleem who  had by that time was my  only friend, while I did not have anything in common with him, but he was of my age and this  aspect ,removes the all the barriers of class and creed. His shop became my den especially during afternoons and evenings. The rest of the time which  was in  plenty and difficult to pass.

One gloomy afternoon I happened to think about my childhood years in this house in 1967, that was the time when riches were aplenty, my grandfather had cloth shop, Ration shop and they were also distributor for Hindustan livers soaps. I was told they had farms too, I did have my own memory on this as such I was trying to refresh my memory when I was idle.

Here I would like to quote from my Autobiographical venture the” Retrospection”.

“THOUGHTS REFLECT, MIND SPEAKS , MEMORIES COMES BACK AFTER AGES AS WE TRAVERSE THROUGH THIS VAGAUE PARADOX CALLED LIFE”

This was true to that situation I was in, I could hear lots of noises within the house and suddenly I could see faces that were lost to the dustbins of history, I could see a towering personality dominating the house hold, Here I am referring to my Grandfather Mr.Guruvayurappan, shouting and yelling at people around him and asking them to do thing as per his direction, all members of the family was seemingly also ran, yet there was a lot of love and respect the people around him had for him. Here I would not like to confuse the reader in telling he was a hero of sort, in any family there will be someone whom others will regard as a role model or just by fear, or by sort of abstractions., to an extend some people known to him and looking for favors’ would have adored him and his qualities. I don’t call him the protagonist to this story, but there is a lot of reference of his rather brash approach to life

. I should not be misunderstood to be be-littling my grandparent but all that I would like to clarify he was just the opposite of what I would have seen in cities and in all probabilities I was too young to gauage a person of his stature. Incidentally I was too close to him as per the verson of others in the family.  I was too young to relate to him but I still remember a Mundu & Kurta and a clean shaven head and his looks might have created a scare on others but to me he very loving Grandpa.

When I said my grandpa is not the protagonist in this story as the story  continue's,  you will be amazed to find my favorite playmate Kaku the little elephant on the lead role, I used to spend a lot of time feeding it, give him a bath and I used to wonder why his skin becomes so tight after taking bath, he would listen to all my dictates, when I tie him to the pillars of my home he would not move an inch. will sleep on when I make him sleep. I used to tie a thread around his necks and take him around the village as others used to see and comment about me and my baby elephant.  But myKaku was not bothered about what others would say so was the case with me as well.

I used to frequent a house who used to sell sweetmeats in the village, it was called the Vadhyar’s house, he used to dish out delicious ladoos, jelabis and salted stuff like muruku etc., I was the regular visitor to his house, many a time I used to eat and leave the place without giving him a dime,  he used to not insist on money with me. It was later I realized he used to take it from my uncle. I used to feed my baby elephant with his share of the sweets, but somehow he used to not like it at all. When I force feed him, he used to throw it out , most of the times the sweet used to fall on the village roads and gets mixed up on the fine sands.

THIS STORY WILL BE CONTINUED , FEEB BACK WILL HELP ME WRITE BETTER.

Ramesh.V.Naivaruni

Bangalore

 

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10 Comments

Reply somasundaramiyer
6:38 AM on December 6, 2011 
Ramesh,
I am a native of Madurai, during my unicef days in early eightes I was posted at Chennai incharge of Kerala and Tamil nadu. Incidentally I had visited your Village alonside other Villages like Perumal Kovil grammam, Thara, Nemmara,Chittur and other areas of Kollengode during the same period that you have mentioned in your blog , that is why your blog really appealed to me and sincerely your blog made me feel that I am at Kollengode especially your description of the village, the hills were nice.

Further as part of my assisnment I lived in Bangalore from 1987 to 1994, it was then I had an opportunity to see some of your article's in Deccan Herald, secondly, I also had an opportunity to meet you, during one of your trips to New Delhi where one of my friend Mr.N.Parameshwaran who was Ex-Director Blow Plast,( you will known him better as owner of Master Marketing Services) Bangalore introduced you to me during a Dinner Meeting that your Company(Khosla Group) had for Dealers in Clariages NDS .
I dont think you will remember me as there were so many people on the occassions and you being the host was quite busy would be difficult to remember every person who attended the meet.
I would like to tell you I had asked Param whether this is the same Naivaruni who writes in D.H and he confirmed it.
Hope things are clear from my end
Yours Sincerely

Y.Somasundaram Iyer.

I bumped upon this website from the FB links that is given to it.
Reply Balan.N.K.
8:46 AM on December 5, 2011 
Dear Ramesh Naivaruni,
I am very much eager to know about you, : Who are you and whose son You are. Last before Poornabhishekam when I attended I could not meet Mr. Rasu,because that time he lost his wife,Please convey my enquiries to him.I met Mr. KalyanamMaster and came to know the bad news about Mr. Kittu and Master Ganesan. Please let me know about you, As now I have planned to attend the Maha Kumbabghishekam anbd can meet you all personally, If Lord anesa and MeenakshiSundareswarar peremits.
Regards,
Balan N.K.
Reply Ramesh.V.Naivaruni
6:34 AM on December 5, 2011 
Dear Mr. Somasundar,
I thank you for your interest in my blog and for the encouraging comments that you have posted about it.
Further due to the year end work schedules, I am not able to concentrate on the blog and shall put my concluding chapter by next week. Positively.
Meanwhile you have also said you have seen my articles in News Paper were you in Bangalore ? As most of my articles had appeared in Deccan-Herald & Eco times . How are you connected with East Village ? Let us have your introduction please.
Regards
Ramesh.V.Naivaruni.
Reply Y somasundaram Iyer
4:38 AM on December 3, 2011 
Ramesh,
I am eagerly waiting to read your blog which is left incomplete. The sequencing of the blog is excellent and your argument on lord Shiva as a creator and not a destroyer is interesting but debatable. I did go through the wiki to get more details about the mundane community and I too feel that there has been some disconnect somewhere during the Vedic period and that would have been the reason for keeping them off , thru the videos analogy. Yes your point is very valid and thought provoking.
Eagerly awaiting for your next chapter
Yours Sincerely
Somasundaram Iyer
New Delhi
Reply Y.Somasundaram iyer
3:26 AM on November 28, 2011 
This is in response to my comment on the blog and subsequent comment by Abhimanyu and I feel he is quite emotional about the subject of reference. I would like to know more about this person who is seemingly jobless to brood over something that is written on a village web page.
I wonder if Arm Chair critic's has always been like this? is this a case in isolation ? Let us know more about you Mr.Abhimanyu , what are your personal acheivement in literature, do you have any published works, are you even remotely connected with any publishing house. etc.,
On a serious note I can help you find suitable job as night editor with some news paper as I have good contacts with this industry if you are not already employed.

I dont think you should be bothered about UNICEF or my stint with it , or what I did with my staff etc, ., which according to me is none of your bloody business.

Finally I would request the website owner to make note of my change in the email Id which is [email protected], the Id given in my last post was my old Id which please note.
Y.Somasundaram Iyer
New Delhi
Reply Ramesh.V.Naivaruni
2:25 AM on November 28, 2011 
Dear Mr.Jayaram/Sriram
As the owner of this blog, I have taken the liberty of deleting the comments of Abhimanyu not because he has said something wrong about me but he has also commented on the credibility of people like Somasundaram who has held high position at Unicef and others.

It looks that this jobless person is embarking upon his mission of spoiling the very purpose for which this website is created and hence I would request his emial Id be put on spam list so that he doesnt enter into our domain again.

Regards
Ramesh.V.Naivaruni
Reply Ramesh.V.Naivaruni
1:51 AM on November 26, 2011 
Let me thank Abhimanyu for his valuable comments and I would request the Web-Site Editor to remove my Story from the blog with immediate effect. While criticism is the a best tool to assess one's own capability and the comment is taken in right earnest.
I hereby authorise the esteemed Editor to withdraw my Blog from the Site as the same is below the elimentary levels of English langauage as per the critic. Let us not benchmark lows standards.
I also invite our esteemed Critic Mr.Abhimanyu to contribute to the blog and raise the standards of the Web- Site and oblige.
With Warmest Regards
Ramesh.V.Naivaruni
Reply Y.Somasundaram Iyer
12:33 AM on November 26, 2011 
I was surprised to see a comment left by Abhimanyu about the blog from Ramesh.V.Naivaruni, the comment is totally biased, one should desist from making such unwanted remarks about people who are contributing to the blog. Instead of air your criticism, I would suggest the critic in question @Abhimanyu to contribute and better it from 3rd Standard to the next level.
I remember of a incident when Vikram seth the leading novelist was told that all his works are about Idiom and Asterix, look,now he has laughed his way in to the readers heart.
While not comparing Mr.Ramesh to Vikram seth, I find some lots of similarities between these two becoz I have read some of Ramesh's Articles in FB and New Paper his extemporic view on the subject is quite noticiable, blunt statement and use of figures of speech comes quite natural.
At the same time there have been some gramatical error here and there, which simply could be corrected by the editor as some writer have a habit of not editing their works before sending it for publishings.
Let me suggest owner of the webpage to delete the comment by Abhimanyu which is in bad taste.

Y.Somasundaram Iyer
EX Vice President - Operations
UNICEF
NEW DELHI



Y. Somasundaram Iyer
Reply sreeram
10:01 PM on November 20, 2011 
Dear Mr.Ramesh,

Keep it up and keep sharing your memories in the column (blog) which will at least give all of us a chance to know about your childhood memories and it will give more interest to others to follow to post in this blog..

Eagerly waiting for your next blog with some more experiences and memories.

Kind Regards
sreeram
Reply Jayaram
6:19 AM on November 20, 2011 
Dear Mr. Ramesh,

Like a routine habit, I opened the site today morning too to check if any comments or new members joined our village website but I couldn't find any. In the evening when I had to post some additional pics of the recently concluded Vaikkathastami festival, I had a glance on the left corner of the screen, where I could see a New Blog entry from side. As I was waiting patiently for some blogs to appear from readers/members this came as a surprise.

Immediately I took my time to read through the nostalgic memory posted by you and I had no better word to express than saying an "exmplary work". I had to keep an e-dictionary opened in another window to grasp the exact meaning for some of the words outlined in your blog, as these words appear as new to me. Keep it up and keep sharing your memories in the blog which will at least give me a chance, if not for others to come in term with some new unheard vocabulary to better my language.

Best Regards
Jayaram