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
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.