Thursday, December 25, 2008

Valiya Vadassery Tharavad - A Rememberance

It is with deep grief and great respect for our Tharavad that I decided to write this piece. I recently went home with Achan, Amma and Vani and spent some time there. It was a great feeling and I wish to share some of my memories there that some of you will also identify with.

The house has withstood more than 400 years of tough Palakkad weather and might live another 400 more. We all know that I am being wishful and the reality is that it will fall anytime. Many parts of the great house has been falling from a long time.Our external walls have collapsed many times almost on passers by many times. I remember once the kitchen room fell on Amma's head and once the wall of the well caved in while she was drawing water from the well. I have had tiles fall on my head and seen many a displaced tile, stone, pillar, pattika, wall etc.

I remembered some occasions and experiences connected with our life at our Valiya Vadassery Tharavad and felt like writing and sharing them. Our school days at the Tharavad without electricity, without running water,without proper toilettes, without proper medical facilities, without much money, without any krishi, without any revenue, without any scope for improvement it in a long time, the times when we had visitors from our family residing in different parts of the country and the world who would come and live with us for a weekend rarely or for a few hours or minutes because we dint have facilities to help them stay longer like the above mentioned and yet we lived there for so many years with just the name of the Great Vadassery Tharavad and our Guru Karanavars and Muthi Muthashanmar and Ayyappan protecting and nurturing us till date. I have very fond memories of those days and will always cherish them. I am fiercely proud of our heritage and feel extremely fortunate to have experienced it in good measure. I can also imagine the greatness and glory of our Tharavad in the past which our karanavars lived and left for us to carry forward and handover to future generations.

I remember the many Vishukanis that Saraswathy Muthi showed us by keeping awake and doing the Kani kootal. I remember the innumerable nights when Muthy opened the door for me with a smile when i used to come back late from secondshows or even otherwise.I remember her taking care of me when I was unwell and ensuring i et well.She is the most unbiased person in the whole of universe as far as I have experienced. I remember many stories told by Muthy regarding our family, its members and our desham.

Let me start with my young days at home. Ammamma helping Amma manage the two us us -Manojetta and I. The ageing Ammamma with many kadams and failing health but unfailing affection towards Amma and us even in her last days to ensure we grew up and had a life of our own. I remember the days when she used to use 'kozhal' for lighting pacha verake at the kitchen and manage with some maids in extreme conditions. I remember from hearsay from my mother and her siblings on the great grand woman that she was at one point of time with Muthacha as the Circle Inspector of police and other able and great brothers at tharavad with wealth that anyone would envy and all kinds of facilities unheard of for even wealthy people couldnt afford. I remember the picture of the Ford that was hers and which my mother and her siblings used to travel in. I remember Kalam and the various stories asscociated with it. I remember the kalam itself and the kolam near it . I remember some of the workers at kalam and some of the names when mentioned. I remember the days of greatness from what i have heard and experienced about our Tharavad.

I remember Sundaramamas walking trips and then cycling trips each week to Tharavad from Koduvayur and back,I remember Udaya mama visiting periodically and always sitting thinking at the Dharmathara or Thalam near Ammamma.

I remember the days when Kuttymama used to come and stay for a week during kali and made us all practice the steps at Nadumuttam and Dharmathara. I remember the days of Kuttymama being Kaliachan and then Papamama being handed over the same Sthaanam by Kutymama.I remember the days when we used to go for Kali kumbidal at Bhagavathy temple, nariyum puliyum kollal, Karivela, kali abyasam edakkali at Pathiyaatil veede, Praying at our Mache and Ayyapande thara before Kali.. giving guru dakshina to Ammaama and then later to Papamama when he became kaliachan and then proceeding for Arangu kali each day of the kali.

I remember Ammas struggle in managing us with the limited facilities available at home after returning from Kolkatta. I remember all my mothers efforts in very fine detail to grow us up into what we are today amidst all the crisis, pain, inefficiencies in the shade of our great tharavad. I will not venture into detail as I am sure my prose will not do justice to the magnitude of her efforts. She is a great women. A true Vadasseryite and I am proud to be her son and be called so because of her. She has been with me every moment of my life and will continue to be the most integral part of my life ever. I pray to all the gods and our Tharavaatu Deivangal to give her good health, long life, peace and happiness always.She is truly a great mother and I am proud to have her as mine.

I remember Acha staying with us there while coming on Holidays from Kolkatta. I remember Achan initiating and putting the first power connection at Tharavad in 1990 so that all of use could have electricity to study. All of us studied and passed out from there and went on to pursue our future better . Achan's effort to make a difference in our lives with such acts are many. I remember Achan initiating and ensuring that we have a telephone at home so that everyone is connected to Tharavad. I remember Achan coming home each year after travellling miles, with sweets, savouries, clothes and goodies for all. I remember Achan's fond care while he used to come and remotely via letters. I remember the great times that we spent listening to his advice on how to live life and make good of it. I remember Achan sitting at Dharmathara and discussing various matters with all of us at home.

I remember Papamama getting us all admission at Chinmaya Vidyalaya and requesting for donation waivers with the management committees since we couldnt afford it. Papamama was keen to make us all study at CVP to provide for a good future for us. He then helped pay our fees many times and then created a healthy competition to motivate us to perform well at studies and rewarded us with cash and many eatables each weekend as that was the most valued and scarce resource then. I remember Papamama teaching us the Kali steps and paralelly teaching us to ride a bike. I remember Papamama coaching us on the ways of the world and how to deal with matters in life. I remember him taking us around on the bullet and then the Kawasaki. I remember the numerous weekends when he brought us brookebond tea, chicken , chips and many eatables. I remember his engagement and then wedding to Ammayi at Kudallur. I remember Tuutus childhood days and their family visits and then later their visits with Teena when we used to run around carrying the beautiful girl baby around. I remember Ammayi adapting to our culture and the ineffiencies at home and supporting Papamama in everything.I remember the days when Kuttymama used to come and stay for a week during kali and made us all practice the steps at Nadumuttam and Dharmathara. I remember the days of Kuttymama being Kaliachan and then Papamama being handed over the same Sthaanam by Kutymama. I remember Papamama treating us as young men and then men and women when we grew up without the prejudices of an elder Uncle. I learnt character from him. I learnt principle, value of relationships, corporate culture, sales and mediation techniques, budget management, priroties and a whole lot of things from him over the years.

I remember Janardhana Mamas visit once in 2 months in his car just to collect the coconuts that belong to his one tree in the Vadakkorathe mittam, I remember Saromama's kalyanam at Kunissery, and reception at Tharavad.I remember Sreemama at home in Padinjaarara upstairs. I remember Cheriamma coming home with newly born Anitha/Sunitha and Pappu/Prasan in tow.I remember the girls starting to talk, they starting to walk, going to school, and turning out to be very naughty and lovable girls and now into great women. Little did anyone know that they will live there till 2008!

I remember Valiacha's table at Padinjaarara upstairs corner which later became Srikanth's studydesk.I remember Valiyachas Krishi management, koythu season, nel vevikkal, onakkal and vilkal, podikkal etc.I remember his many sabari mala seasons and his komaram thullal and sharanam vili during the season and at Vilakke times. I remember the difficulties that all our mothers at the Tharavad faced in helping is grow. I remember Valiammas doshas at her kitchen on many days and nights. I remember the great Vishu times when we used to get Kaineetams, new dresses and huge amount of crackers to burst. I remember her supporting Amma many times .

I remember the sacks of crackers we used to buy for vishu and the big heaps of tamarind at home with all of us helping to clean it up and eating kilos of tamarind in the process with Muthy giving us a earfull. I remember the secret room at Vadakyaara upstairs which was also called Nidhiyara,the kalyana ara, the 3rd floor Mache thatte, the room that Cheriama used - kezhakkaara, the room that we used - Thekkaara
I remember The many engagements, kalyanams, vela time, kali time, mandala maasam sharanam vili with valiacha and the numerous Ayyappan poojas at Mache and Ayyappans Mulla thara.

I remember enjoying atleast 10 Onams there with all of us putting pookalam led by Shobha chechi and Andha Sundh in tow, making Madhor and the daily thrice poojas and melnottam by Saraswathy Muthy for everything, sitting in our Thalam with Ammamma and Saraswathy Muthy Omana valiamma and Cheriamma and Amma on the Charupadi in the Ahaaya teaching us values in life.Valiyamma, Valiyacha, Amma, Cheriyamma, Sreemama and all of us children along with Ammamma, Muthy in the Dharmathara in the evenings seeing Anitha and Sunitha learning to walk for the first time and then seeing them grow up.

I remember Praveen and Prasan running around playing, Srikanth and I building temples at kezhakkoram and doing what all many young boys do - doing many fun things, Manojetta studying at Andraalathara - ensuring i get back home on time from mannam and study well, ensuring i go in the right direction in life, ensuring i dont pick up the wrong values etc, Shobachechi putting pookalam and Anitha Sunitha learning to walk and go to school. I remember we running to catch NTP to Pallavoor, we playing football and shuttle at mannam and the numerous 2nd show films at lakshmi talkies.I remember doing pressups and pushups at the Thalam upstairs everyday and having a great neendhi kulikkal at pudhukulam every day, twice, come summer, winter , rain or anyweather.

I remember the kadhakalis and the mudras which Amma used to translate for me, the ayyappan paatus, the poraattum kalis, the paana chaatam, the vettakaruman paate, the niramaalas, the sabhamadam , pudhukulam neenthal, the chiluke and the desham activities . I remember all of us growing up there breathing the air around, eating the food made in that kitchen on veraku aduppe, and learning kali steps at nadumuttam and tharmathara, enjoying the rains inside the house at the nadumuttam, the cool feeling of thalam inside during summer, the mysterious rooms upstairs and the wonderful smell of old wood.

I remember the day when Ammamma and Muthi breathed their last at Tharavad and left us all.

I remember the all the experiences the great Tharavad house has given us. Our Gurukkanmaar, Kaaranavars, Machiley Deivangal and Ayyappan at Mullathara blessed us all and ensured that all the members living there and connected with the great Tharavad lived safely and left the home for greener pastures with enough strength and capability to move on in life. Many of us who have lived in that house and grown up there know every stone and every grain of sand there and it pains to see it just fall apart piece by piece , slowly and steadily. I am sure everyone attached to that house feel the same.We need to do something quickly together to ensure we dont lose it totally to time. Our Tharavad is too precious to lose. It is invaluable and irreplaceable. We need to get together quickly and strongly to keep the Tharavad intact in whatever shape, form or size. We owe it to our generation and the future ones. Long Live our Great Vadassery Tharavad. Long Live all who helps keep its glory alive. Long live Vadassery Family

Author - Pallassana Vadassery Vinod Kumar
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