pachai maamalai pol mene

Sunday, May 23, 2010

kakka ramam and upanyasam

About  40  to 45  years ago it was an annual festive event for lovers of puranas and such divine lores, that some great Scholar from tamilnadu  like Sengalipuram  Anantharama Dikshithar, Manjakkudi Rajagopala Iyer, Santhanagopalachariar, Sivanantha Vijayalakshmi, …the list will be long,  would be invited to Palakkad to give discourses  on some purana, Itihasam  or Bagavath gita  and other Vedantic subjects.  Usually the venue would be the front of Thiruvangattappan sannadhi at Vadakkanthara, or somewhere near Nurani. ( Nowadays the Brahmana Sabha arranges similar discourses but there is special chairs arranged for persons who pay money and cold frowns reserved for people who just linger around to hear the discourse. )
                  Old and middle aged mamas and mamis would walk long distances to assemble  at the  venue of discourse.  I was very young, the age range between 9years to 13 years and   Sri Raman would take me also along with him to hear the discourses.  One reason may be that he is visually impaired and there should be someone to keep his company and the timings  usually were from 8-30 in night to the midnight.  Somehow, I was a dreamy fellow and I loved to attend such discourses.  But  Rama Iyer, as a matter of special  consideration for my late night vigil  and long walks, would purchase for me some" naaranga mittayi" for one and half annas, and hand it over to me with an advice  that I should just keep  the mittay  in my mouth without biting it so that it will dissolve  slowly in the mouth and keep me awake during the discourse.  Anyway, as far as I am concerned  the sweet was gobbled  up immediately on receipt.  However  basically  I never felt sleepy and listened and learned the nuances of Ramayanam and Bhagavatham at that age because I attended such discourses.   I used to attend the discoursed  with keen attention but the hero will doze off within minutes of start of the discourse and usually I would have to wake him up at the close.
                    The  roads we had to negotiate were  very unfriendly  and  negotiating  the return path to Sekharipuram, our native village, was a really arduous task.  There were no street lights and the way was  infested with stray dogs, donkeys,  old horses which had lost their utility as cart pullers and added  to  this various reptiles. 
                    It was true that a lot of mamas and mamis will be walking back to the  various villages, but  our hero was obviously slow and I was compelled to fall in steps with him. 
There was a place called Kuppavandipura where the  carts carrying the entire dirt  of  Palakkad were parked  and this place was also the rendezvous of donkeys and street dogs.  The place would instill mortal terror in me, a boy of ten years, but the hero was nonchalant, always.  From  this point we had to  take a diversion to our village   through a lonely mud track.  Usually  no one else would  be near us as others would have walked home faster.   There was one tree called etti maram  en route  and a Cobra was supposed to be occupying the bottom of the tree.  Once a boy from the village was bitten by the reptile  during day time recently and he had also passed away.  So it was always a nightmare to pass through that terrain even in full day light, then what  to say about being there at midnight!.
             On one such occasion  I was on the brinks of tears of  fright, when fortunately  an old  paatti  was also returning  after upanyasam  along with her two  daughters.  The  threesome had fallen behind their group because  it seems one of them had the urge to urinate and so wanted all people to pass on. After achieving  their purpose the paatti and the two girls were coming along behind us and the patti was in  her vocal best  swearing  at the two daughters by two  unparliamentary words   (1)&#####& and (2) #&&&&&&#,  and the old woman was repeating  these two words like some manthra.  So to console me and allay me fears, Our hero told me " enthukku bhayappedanam  konthey namma koodey   1)&#####&  um  (2) #&&&&&&#,  irukkaley, pinney   antha jagajilly pattiyum,  paampu ivalayellam  kandal  nalu nalakku sekharipuram  pakkamey varaathu" ( my child, why should you be afraid,  (1) and (2)  are keeping company with us along with that witch of a paatti, so  if the serpant  sees  these three  it will not come anywhere near Sekharipuram for at least four days
The  naranga mittay, kathakaalakshepam  and the  paatti and daughters  are all part of my memories of Sri Raman.

Naranga mittay   a sweet solid piece of sugarcandy mixed with lemon flavor—it was so cheap those days that you would   get  about twenty of them   for 10 paise  that is one and half anna.

Kakka Raman and Vishnu Pattar  Break the law.
Kaakka Rama Iyer had a very close friend by name Ananthakrishna Iyer.. Some say that Ananthakrishna Iyer had been in Ceylon for sometime and there was another school of thought that he was a peon in a British company which did business in slaughtering animals and exporting the flesh.  Whatever it may be the man had become very pious  when he landed up in our agraharam, but he had no place to live.  So Kakka Rama Iyer gracefully volunteered to offer  the Iyer number two the privilege of occupying  the open thinnai of  Kakkai's  house as a dwelling place. Ananthankrishna Iyer sported a very huge oordhwapundram (naammam) and  the performing of  his make up operation  was a sight to see.  The village urchins would crowd around him while he deftly pasted namakkatti on his palm and drew and big  U on his wide forehead, followed by  a long red line  in the internal bisecting area  using  thirummannu..  And once the makeup was finished, he looked just like Mahavishnu and hence the village people always called him Vishnu Pattar when he was not present within earshot.
Kakkai and Vishnu were a professional pair.  They always went together for partaking in  Sraadhams or  getting Dakshina or dhaanam on good or bad occasions. 
One day they went for Sraadham in Pallipuram village. It was almost five miles from our village. You must remember it was almost 45  years ago and there were not  many buses and the Laurel and Hardy could not afford to pay the busfare also.  They had to cross an open railway line near  palakkad town railway  station and they successfully negotiated  Lakshman Rekha  in the morning during their onward Journey. But while returning  after sraadhdham, they again crossed the railway line and was accosted by  a railway policeman.  The innocent Brahmins did not know that crossing the railway track and making the railway premises as a thoroughfare was a punishable offence.   Had they told the policeman that they did not know the law and apologized, he would have left them go.  However in their innocent haughtiness,  they told him to  mind his business and that they were not afraid of any police, especially railway police.  The enraged policeman booked a case against them for trespassing and gave  a summons  directing them  to attend the sub-magistrates court one week later and let them go. The poor Brahmins could have given some wrong names and address  and got away with it but they were too innocent.
   On the day of the great trial the duo,  clad in soman and uthareeyam, Mr Vishnu sporting naamam and Mr Raman filling his forehead with three broad white lines of Viboothy,  presented themselves in the Court very early in the morning.  The magistrate arrived in due course and seeing  two Brahmins standing  in the courtyard  (the magistrate was also an Iyer), said that there was no sraadham or tarpanam  being conducted in the court.  The Brahmins said they had been booked by railway police and there was a case against them.
  Finally the case was called, and R and V presented themselves in the dock.   The magistrate asked them whether they had committed any offence for which they stated in unison that they had done nothing but had only crossed the railway line. Even at this stage they were not aware that this was an offence.  The magistrate could have let them free had they sought  pardon of the court. But they would not do it because  they could not dream of any crime being committed by them.  Ultimately the Magistrate reluctantly fined them eight  anna each.  
And once the fine was ordered, the two poor Brahmins could leave the court only after paying the fine and eight anna each was far beyond their capacity to pay.  They were pleading with everybody requesting that they be allowed to go.  Nothing worked.
 Finally the magistrate came to know  of it and he did a very wonderful thing.  He took a one  rupee coin from his own pocket and asked  the court clerk to  issue the receipt for the fine to  Mr Kakkai and Mr Vishnu.    May be Vishnu rode the Kaakkai vahanam on that day.

।श्रीकृष्णो रक्षतु।
|śrīkṛṣṇo rakṣatu|
Have a nice and happy day
with profound respect and warm regards
K V Ananthanarayanan


No comments:

Post a Comment