Introduction: Kakka Raman, the great soul
- K.V Ananthanarayanan
This is the first part of a series of articles based on real life occurrences of certain Pattars that we believe, would be immensely inspirational to everyone, especially the younger generation.
In our lives, you often come across people who leave a deep impression on your persona, influencing your thought processes, your actions and knowledge for years to come. I had the good fortune of knowing some such people during my lifetime, and I am writing this series of real life anecdotes of one such person, Rama Iyer, who left a lasting impression on me when I was just a child growing up in a typical agraharam setting, a life not many people in the younger generation have experienced. Rama Iyer had another name to him. He was called “Kakka Raman” because he had squint eyes and even those eyes were practically blind with short sight.
The first thing I heard as an incident in his life was really poignant and profoundly touching. He was a boy from an utterly poor family, and his mother passed away when he was seven years old. On the day of his mother’s death, he had no idea as to what was happening in the house. Many people had assembled; the mother was sleeping, maybe sick. Suddenly, someone brought some ghee and poured it in a broken coconut shell. For Raman, ghee was a very scarce delicacy. So, with his half blind eyes, he looked around to see whether anyone was paying attention to the ghee kept in chirattai* in the corner. When he was fairly sure that nobody was watching him, he stealthily took the ghee container and swallowed the whole ghee. You know, this ghee had been brought for the funeral rites of Raman’s mother.
As I have it said before, this is a real story, and if Raman were alive today, he would be about 100 years old. He passed away 14 years ago. I know Raman because he was my mother’s own maternal uncle and my own dear mamaappa. He used to go as a loukeeka* for sraadhdham chaappadu and he would get clothes like mundu, uthareeyam etc. He had married my mother’s elder sister and he loved me like his own son. In my childhood days of utter poverty, the clothes brought by him served as my mundus. When he used to get mallumundu*or gaada*, it would be used to stitch our underwear, periyamma’s and amma’s ravukkais* and my sister’s pavaadais. He never wanted anything for himself. He happily gave everything he used to get, by way of dhaanam or dhakhshina to others. I learned greatness of giving from that great soul.
chirattai: Coconut Shell
loukeeka:a Brahmin who partiakes in ceremonies and many vedic functions but is not a qualified vaadhyar….vaadhyaar is qualified in vedas and is well versed in conduting the ceremonies and commands lot of respect as the family guru, guide and maybe philosopher
mallumundu or gaada: very cheap rawc otton cloth manufacturedin mills….mallumundu is bleached and gaada is unbleached
ravukkais: the prototype of the blouses worn by ladies… the ladies four or five decades ago wore it, usually it would be stitched by the ladies themselves with a needle and thread.