Dear Comrades, Friends and Well-Wishers,
I have completed 82 years on 24th July 2020. Many of you had suggested earlier that I may write my experiences in life, but I was reluctant, since there is not much to write which will be of any consequence. Later, I had a re-thinking on the subject. There will be something in every body’s life, which may be of importance to some others.
Hence I have decided to write about my experiences. My memory has always been weak and I do not know whether I will be able to do justice to me and my well-wishers.
I have been fortunate to be amongst you, participated in your happiness and sorrow. My story may not be much different from yours. But anyway, I will present my life-story to the best of my memory and ability.
I hope you will appreciate, support me and also correct me on facts when I am on the wrong.
HAPPY AND SATISFIED -1
I was born on Sunday, 24th July 1938, as the youngest child of my parents Shri V.A.Kesavan Namboodiri and Smt. V.A.Sreedevi Anterjanam. They had five children elder to me viz. Kesavan Namboodiri (Jr.), Parvathy Anterjanam, Sankaran Namboodiri, Sreedevi Anterjanam and Parameswaran Namboodiri. And I, Narayanan Namboodiri, was the sixth and last. According to Malayalam calendar my birth was on Makeerya Nakshatram in Karkkidaka month. The initials V.A. derives from the name of the house (Valiyapalathra) and the family (Attattuvalli).
My house, Valiyapalathra Illam, is situated in Perincherry Desom, Pazhassi Amsom (Village), in the former Tellicherry Taluk, Malabar District (now in Kannur District of Kerala) of Madras Presidency. It was far away from any town and in an interior area. The house was on the side of a large paddy field, in the middle of which there is a path for the people to travel. The compound was about four acres, full of coconut, mango and other trees and some portion looked like a forest. The family burial ground was on one side of the compound. The way to the house was from the paddy field. After crossing a small wooden bridge across a narrow stream, which will have running water only during the rainy season, and climbing up the ladder to the compound, one can walk through the broad path for about fifty metres to reach the house. There was a broad court yard before stepping up to the lengthy the verandah.
The illam ( as the house is called) is a two storied building constructed in the typical old style ettukettu ( with 2 court yards), but which was reduced to nalukettu( one court yard) after partition of the family. Widow of my father’s younger brother with her son, stayed in the house in the nearby compound, constructed with the stones and wood of the demolished portion of the original house.
The house was constructed according to strict vasthu plan. There were five six rooms in the ground floor including the kitchen. There was a big granary in one room made of wood covering from the floor up to the roof, to store the paddy being brought by the farmers, who cultivated our paddy fields. The first floor was almost like the ground floor. The second floor was a big hall with no separate rooms and with thatched roof. It was mainly used to keep timber, coconuts, coconut leaves, other stores etc. There were wooden ladders to go to first and second floors. After a few years, the roof and the veranda were covered by tiles, since the cost of maintaining and yearly thatching was very costly.
There was a small stone structure in one side of the compound which was dedicated to a great, great, grandfather and his wife, who were considered as Brahmarakhas. Every month puja will be conducted for them with offerings.
The story goes like this. May be about 150 years back. My great, great grandfather stayed with his family, but had also married a Rani of the royal family of Pazhassi, as was the custom then. The Kshatriya Rajas married from Nair families and Brahmins married Kshatriya girls. After some time, my ancestor stopped going to the palace. The Rani sent messengers with palanquin to bring him to the palace, but he refused. That angered the Rani who sent soldiers to capture and bring her husband to the palace. My family had its own security forces of Kurichya tribe (a warrior tribe of the forests) with bows, arrows, swords etc. There was heavy fight and both my great grandfather and his wife were killed. The soldiers burnt the house and destroyed everything.
Their children constructed another house on the opposite side of the paddy field and started staying there. They constructed this small stone structure in memory of their parents and continued puja etc. It continues even now.
The present house, constructed of local red stone, will be about 130 years old now. It is an old type house, planned for strength and defence. There were many big bows, sharpened arrows, war-axes etc. at home, a memory of the past.
According to documents, the family owned large acres of paddy fields and many compounds full of coconuts and other trees. But by the time I remember, almost all these have been sold or mortgaged and we were poor, of course poor landlords. Brahmins were not expected to do manual work in paddy fields. We were somehow managing on day to day basis.
My father will be away for six months as first priest in a temple in Trichur District and will be at home for the next six months. In his absence, mother looked after the family affairs. She was very capable and affectionate to the children, thus making up for the absence of father. After some years father stopped going to Trichur and settled at home. There was only a few years difference between me and my direct elder brother, Parameswaran and we were mostly together.
According to local historians, Perincherry is one of the 64 villages instituted by Sage Parasurama. Our home is about one mile from the Sree Lakshmana Swamy Temple, our family deity. We used to go daily to the large temple tank to take bath and will return after offering prayers at the temple. The Attattuvally family was partitioned and two branches had settled near the temple. Azhakath Illam, where my mother was born as well as two-three other illams were near the temple. There were relations at Neerveli about three miles from Perincherry on the Tellicherry route, at Mattanur as also at Kara-Peravoor on the Cannanore route. All these families were closely related and depended upon each other. Children of these families were also close and played together. Marriages, festivals etc. were occasions to come together and enjoy each other’s company. (to be continued).