~ Reflections of my inner self ~

Archive for April, 2007

Tirunellai – My village in Palakkad, Kerala (1944 – 1954) Part 1

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Our village, Tirunellai (Palakkad), has a long train like structure with a row of independent houses from east to west. There were approximately over 100 houses split in two sections, eastern and western parts. My house was located somewhere in between! We had the benefit of the good and the bad of both groups! While each house maintained a high degree of individuality, equally high was the contribution to common causes or village welfare activities, a close parallel to the modified Kibbutz of Israel! Almost everyone owned land/property around and in close proximity to the village (generally passed on from father to sons) where crops of rice are grown in seasons, with some area for vegetables and other pulses/grains, banana etc. Besides, each family had one or more gardens in the house to meet the needs of many food items. With a river running parallel to the village, food and good water was never a problem!

The entire family lived as a joint family in each house, sometimes the number going from 6 to 9! In our own, apart from my father and mother, our family consisted of four boys and one girl. My father, being a medical doctor by profession in state service, was transferred quite frequently to different district hospitals in the state. We therefore lived in the village with mother running the show, and father managed in his place of work with cooks and servants. We visited him during our annual school holidays.

The design of our house (like most of the houses there) consisted of a foyer room to meet and dispatch people. It also served for studies and homework. This led to a walk-in, which led into a large room which was partially converted to go down to store annual or bi-annual receipts of grains, pulses and seeds from the farm which led to a large room called Koodam with a portion for a prayer room. This was a very important room in each house, ventilated and well lighted. This room served various purposes like a place for conducting functions, festivals, group chanting, serving food for say 50-100 people if need be and was also our place of sleep at night! The next room adjoining was our large kitchen, with a row of mud ovens, place for storage of food, cooking items, plates and vessels, vegetable cutting area etc. There was no fridge, mixer, grinder or microwave in those days. Food was cooked fresh every day, as per needs, and leftovers were given to servants the same day. There was a wash room next to the kitchen, where manual grindings were done for the food items to be prepared! There was a staircase near the large hall which led to the first floor, mostly two large rooms, for storage of linen, clothing, important items and things related to the home etc. No visitors here! Some houses have a dug well and water system installed here.

Following the wash area was a garden where we grew bananas, coconut palms, yams and vegetables of the season. This led to a shed for our milk animals (we had three cows and a few calves), a large dug well, space to de-husk grains and dry them, storage rooms etc. Following this was our garden for large trees, more coconuts, tamarind, jack, mango etc. Bathrooms and toilets for the house were in the rear section here!

We took turns supporting and assisting our mother in various house jobs like washing clothes, ironing, and water delivery, shopping at weekend markets, house errands etc. Besides these we had special allotted jobs to do on a regular basis! Children from joint family living understand the meaning of give and take, care and concern, faiths and fellow feeling, work and dignity, respecting values and traditions etc which goes a long way and help them to take right decisions in their lives.

Living in a Hindu culture we have many festivals and celebrations round the year. All children and elders participate in such festivities which augur well for the society. Our village temple was a Swami Ayyappan temple (a daily visit is a must for most). Its festivals were village events with all sections contributing in some way or other with smiling faces. These can never be forgotten by me.

Written by Raghuraman

April 28th, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Posted in yesteryears

My first post

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Hello, welcome to my blog. Who am I? A birds eye view of my past and present.

Written by Raghuraman

April 18th, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Posted in General