Friday, August 3, 2018

Life of a non electrified Otha madam -Chelakkara Gramam

Life  of a non electrified  Otha madam  -Chelakkara Gramam 


(THis tme  my recollections of my village   has become too long.Excuse me for that.)

   Chelakkara  is a a village  of  Brahmins called “Otha madam”(meaning  each house   surrounded  by a compound  -in present parlance   village of  villas)  .THis village    was    electrified only in the year   1951 and I happened  to   stay   there between 1947-1951 . I am trying   to describe that  village     at that time.
 Chelakkara  during those times  had  about 120  Brahmin houses and no one except Brahmins lived   there. This gramam(agraharam?)   was connected  to the Angadi road(Market road ) by a mud road.Angadi  road  was in the Trichur-Pazhayannur   stone –jelly paved road.  On the  mouth of the mud road  leading to Gramam   there were  three Brahmin shops  .One the Ayurvedic dispensery of Vaidyan Krishnan,  the  Pithalai  - copper vessels shop  of  Pulakot Madam Chinnambi mama   and the  short hand  Typewriting Institute  of Institute  Ramachandran. There was also a Thanner pandhal   owned by a Brahmin in the Angadi. Within about 50 feet from there  was  the  government high   school of the village called  the “Sree moolam Thirunal  High School”  because the cochin king with Moolam birth star gave his palace   for running the government school..If you proceed another  100 feet the Padinjare  Madam of the Chelakkara Gramam will start.Adjoining  this street  , there  is a big pond known as”Bhootham KOttu  Kulam( people  believed that  it was dug by  devils within a day) .The road by the side of   the Bhootam kottu kulam lead to  the  “Lakshmi Narasimha Murthy”   temple which is in the centre of the village, South of the temple   was THekke Madam and after the temple was the KIzhakke madam .There used to be a street to North of the temple also. There used   to be  two  provision stores belonging to Brahimns   and one Ration store  again owned by a Brahmin in side the village.One  Brahmin  provision store was  owned  by an  Iyengar  called  Venkaraman .The other provision store  and   the  ration  store were owned by a Mama   called  Kada Rasu.. There were two more families having shop in Angadi –CK Lakshmana Iyer  owning a  book cum stationary shop and  Chuppan Rasu   owning a cloth shop..One most interesting aspect of  the Chelakkara  of those was a Brahmin  built a cinema theatre   called “Sankara theatre “in  our village and was  successfully running it. Another interesting fact is that  there was big hall  called SAmooha Madam   even during thise days.

   Except for these  people running some business  , a few school teachers   also used to live in Chelakkara .There were also two Vadhyar families and one Embranthiri family   doing pooja   at the temple. There were also few  professional cooks  living in the village.  Large number of  retired people   belonging to the village used  to come and settle down in the village Some of them used to be called by   the post they worked.For example there was  a house of Station master  , Revenue inspector, Modikkaran , Vertinary  doctor  and  Sub registrar .All others  used to live there expecting money from  from their land given to the tenants   and children sent to Mumbai , Madras , Calcutta etc.Ofcourse a few well employed people were  also there.My father’s Athan  was working at that timeas the Principal of University collegein Trivandrum, his son was a  professor in a  college  in trichur.There used to be two high ranking officias  belonging  to the village in New Delhi.One gentleman was  a secretary of a king  in Patiala, Punjab.
    Several  private  buses  which used to go from Trichur to Pazhayannur   and TRichur to Thiruvilvamalai used to   pass though  Angadi .Since there  was no electricity either  in the Angadi road or the village, if people arrive   after 6.30 PM , they used to buy a Choottu, light it  and wave it to keep burning  to come to the Gramam.,Since there   were lot of snakes  moving about on the road  , they also would have  to clap  their hands
  99 %  of the houses  of the Gramam  did not have room for bathing and  most of the people depended  on Bhootham Kottu kulm or a stream nearby called  THodu to take bath(The temple tank  was not suitable for bathing)  .Women used to  get up very early and finish their bathing in the tank before   sun rises fully.All males   including children  would get up take  Umikari(burnt paddy sheath)  for  cleaning of teeth and  Vibhuthi (sacred ash)   and go to the village tank.Most  of them would swim in the tank  before completing the bath, and after bath go to the temple. After coming back before 8 Am every body will have their lunch and   students will go to school at 9.30 AM. The children during school lunch hour   would come back for snacks. Elder people  will take  some snacks    at  4 PM   , when school children would return . All people  would chant  names of God and visit the temple  and finish off dinner   and  go to bed around 7 PM. Maintaining lamps were  costly  and that is the reason for early sleep.
During those days, there  used to be acute   water problem in the Gramam during summer    
yards   to our day  to day use.
   In the Narasimha murthy temple   there used to be five annual feasts. While men, girls and boys used to partake in the feat , the ladies could not.They used to instruct the children to bring  the valia pappadam( a rare  thing in homes) so that they can have it.  There is small Ganapathy temple on the tight side of the  Narasimha Murthy sanctum.He was  considered as extremely powerful by the villagers,Whenever there was a problem in the house or  weddings were  celebrated , that family used to break 108  coconuts in the Ganapathy temple and distribute one each to the family.The Brahmins believed   that once an elephant entered  the temple   and died and so no elephant was allowed  to enter  the temple.There was one small chariot in the temple which was taken round the temple  on THiruvadirai festival day.The Dwadasi  after Navarathri used to be celebrated  in a grand way.Several BHakans, Hari Kathais   and Nada Swara  Kacheris used to be often arranged  by families  living in out side towns.
   Big celeberations  in every house  was the celeberation of the village   . The decoration, looking after guests  , all sundry jobs  were  always takencare of by  the youngsters of the village  .There were two types of small celebrations.In case of big small celebrations   , all  people of the village would be invited.In small    small celebrations only one person per house   was invited.
     The major method of spending  time for men as well as elderly boys was  playing cards .In the evening the lads  of the village  used to spend time  in the temple gates having fun by seeing Brahmin girls coming to the temple.
     I can keep on writing    but   even what  I have written today  is too long .Also  I should not write   about individual families  without their permission.

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