Sunday, August 13, 2017

People who have influenced my life-AP Naganatha Iyer (My Periya Mama) of Vridhachalam

People   who have influenced my life-AP Naganatha Iyer (My Periya Mama)    of Vridhachalam 


  Sri A.P.Naganatha iyer  who was popularly  known as  Chellappan was my   eldest uncle and he had a hotel in Vridhachalam. During his childhood , driven due to  poverty in his house, I understand he spent   a few years as a cook  to a tamilian family  in Burma. Later  after working in many places , he started  loking after our hotel in Secunderabad. It was at  that time  that he got married to  the daughter  of a  well known scholar Sri Rama Sastrigal  of Palakkad , IN the years 1942-44  when I was  two years old  , he was the manger  of the hotel run by my father  in Secunderabad and  they were  living along with us  in our home .I was  a little baby   at that time. Since they were just married   and did not have   any children they used   to love me as if I was their eldest son. I was Mami’s pet.  She was a sofy spoken angel . Possibly since there   was no study table  in my home,I used to  make my Mami bend, keep my slate  on her back and write. She was   an extremely soft and nice lady but Mama   , though very good was  short  tempered.Even after  more than 70 years, I remember  how I used to get scared   of  him during those days. Later  My Mama and Mami left  Secunderabad   to establish a hotel along with their younger   brother APS  Iyer    in a near by village .During the Razakkar  movement  of the pre independence days  , my Mama left Hyderabad    and established a hotel in Salem of Tamil Nadu .After  a few years he shifted to Vridhachalam , where he had a hotel very near to the Junction   and not very far off from Manimuthar river.
When I got admission to  B.Sc(Hons)  in Annamalai university , I  did not get admission  in the hostel during the first year. Mama came with me and requested one of his distant relation in Chidambaram  to accomadate  me in their home,I was 17 at that time. Due to my father I had learnt to recite  Vishnu and Lalitha Sahasranamams as well   as Sri Krishna Karnamrutham, which I used to read daily. But Mama was   a Devi Bhaktha  and used to daily read  Devi Mahatmyam. I used to very often go to Vridhachalam and stay with him , mami and Children(Who were all much younger to me)   almost every week end. Due to Mama I got attracted to Devi Mahatmyam  and started  doing Parayana  of the great book along with him. Mama was a very strict but very loving father and he used to get angry   with children and  some times Mami also .But once the anger leaves him , he  became a  loving father and mother. Once during   our annual vacation, my Periyappa   an Aleppy passed away and Mama had to rush to help his sister .it was at that time he requested me to rush to Vridhachalam and look after   his hotel   during his absence .I really enjoyed doing it.
   Mama was a very  devout man and he used to have his own Bullock cart. Almost every week, he used to take all of us to Vridheswara temple as well as a Murugan temple  in a nearby village .It was  the first and only time that  I travelled in A bullock cart.  Mama loved me very much and knew under what circumstance I was studying  . During my second year , Mama suddenly made appearance   in our hostel and gave me my first wrist watch .He said , it was a  great gift for me  and  it was with me  for another 8 years when I purchased a favre  Luba wrist watch(I was employed by then)

   If I am  very  much attached to Sanskrit prayers  it was due to my mama.After 1960, I rarely had occasions to meet him.   The last time I met him was when he was sick  and had started having problem with dementia.He could not  recognize me .I wept uncontrollably .  I am sure he  along with my Mami must be  in heaven , and sitting at the feet of Goddess  and  he must be reciting  Devi Mahathmyam.

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