Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Morning in Adithyapuram

I am going to Adithyapuram this week. Not that I am going after a very long time but this time there is a very high level of nostalgia in me as I recollect the past. I spent the last night recollecting the scenes on the street as I would have seen sitting on the steps of my house. So I thought of recording my feelings and scenes that ran in my mind.

Adithyapuram lying to the east of the twin villages - Adithyapuram and Pallipuram is the first to welcome on any particular day, Adithya, a synonym for Sun . Long before the sun's rays show up, the day begins at Adithyapuram with the ringing of bells at the Gopalakrishna temple.

Soon, air reverberates with M.S.Subbalakhmi's rendition of Sri Venkatesha Suprabhatham. It is still dark on the main street but there is already activity on the street. Maamis are already cleaning and putting kolams infront of the houses. A few newspaper vendors have started their morning routine. Some devout people make their way to the temple to have a darshan of the Lord before the start of their day. A few mamas and maamis go for a morning walk - a recent "healthy" trend. An auto rickshaw or a two rush past with people who have come from Madras or Bangalore by Trivandrum or Mangalore mail and Island Express. Soon music turns to "Bhavayami Raghuraamam". Perhaps I am more nostalgic to Bhavaayami than Suprabhtham... may be because I have never woken up so early to listen to Suprabhatham. Bhaavayaami is followed by RangapuraVihara., by which time sun is up above the village tank (koLam) and in the midst of the coconut trees.

There are voices of children around the corner. A group of orphans from an orphanage near the Kanikkamatha school are going to Church. The early morning air is fresh and by now it is the people who have finished their baths and making to the temple who are to be seen on the streets. Couple of students and men who commute to Coimbatore by the 7:20 train are seen rushing and hurriedly paying respects to the Lord. After an hour of silence the temple now plays naadaswaram announcing that it is time for morning Deeparaadhana. Some mama walks past me, smiling and nodding his head sideways in a typical Palakkad style. This peculiar sort of expression is perhaps never seen in any other community. A few maamis, maamas go past me on their way to the temple. One of them stop by and ask "Eppo vandhaai? Enge irukkai?" "Delhilayaa?". I think "Oh! God! when will this Delhi tag go" But deep inside I enjoy that association with dear Delhi. Loud ringing of bells announce opening of the sreekovil doors for Deeparaadhana. Not all people go to the temple for Deeparadhana, some of them wait along the "thinnais" chatting. They all rush to the centre of the street to see the Aarati. What a site!! some 2 dozen people all assembling spontaneously to see the aarati. While some of the wait to see till the end, some are satisfied with the panchaarati and return without waiting for the "kalpooram". As I see the first signs of people coming out of the temple, I rush inside the house, not wanting to hear that "Eppo vandhai........... " again.

A few men and women are seen going to the village koLam for morning bath. It seems in the days of yore, everyone in the village used to take bath in the koLam and it was a great embarrassment to bath at home. Nowadays it is usually people from places a bit far who come to take bath, though their numbers too have drastically come to almost nil. A few minutes later the children who had been to church an hour ago are seen returning. A couple of vegetable vendors on hand carts stop at houses of their odd few customers, since most people prefer to go and purchase vegetables from the market at Melamuri.

It is a school time now. Autos whroom past carrying half a dozen children to Kanikkamatha Convent & to "Church school" and picking up a few more on the way. A few people drop their children in their scooters or motorbikes. Soon the main street is again full of activity. Office goers join the students. The agraharaam that reverberated with an enchanting "Bhavayaami Raghuramam" not a few hours back now vibrates in the noise of automobiles.


An autorickshaw nearly misses a bike around the corner. A couple of angry glances are exchanged and both go of in their respective directions.

There is a momentary break in the activities by about quarter past nine. Not yet!!! I hear some kids' voices round the corner. A group of kids aged around 6-10 appear, clad in cream tops and green bottoms - Pallipuram School students. At some point of time everyone from the agrahaaram used to go to this school for primary schooling before they shift to Nurani High School. A lucky and talented few make to Govt. Victoria College. Perhaps, this school in its golden years would have taught the basics to at least half a dozen IAS officers, another dozen Army Generals, a couple of CEOs, CAs.

The kids I was mentioning are early comers. They are not in a hurry. Few are seen describing the movie they saw last night. One of them is describing (and of course exaggerating) some electronic gadget his uncle had brought from gElf. Since they are in no hurry, they time out to explore. Some peep inside houses, some go around motorcycles or cars parked, or at least take time out to read writings on the walls. More children go past. The later they come the faster they move. Some are seen dragging their younger siblings, lest they are late to school. By fifty minutes past nine, the group size and frequency reduces, late comers are seen running to school.


One seven year old fall.. he looks around ... picks his things and runs... Perhaps the last child!!

By half an hour past ten, the street is devoid of any activity. The sun is shining brightly, nevertheless I can sense a moist in the air. There is no wind and everything seem frozen. Some years past, there used to be a printing press around the corner and when everthing becomes silent, the peculiar sound of the printing press would be ringing in the air. Now I can hear the sounds of busses and vehicles from Melamuri. The Azhvaar from Pallipuram temple is seen going, perhaps, meet Ramanatha Vaadhyar of our temple. He does that TradeMark Palakkadan nod and I return a similar nod. Ambi comes out of his house and as he goes to next village, stops by and asks "Eppo vandhai? oru aazhchai iruppai, illaya?".

"Illai, naaLakki raatri pooNam"

An old man, whom I have seen for ages, is seen taking about four cows to the koLam. The cows used to the route don't seem to need his directions, though.

I wait for the postman and then go for a brunch.

I will publish rest in sections as Noon, evening etc...

I never intended to break my blog into Morning, Afternoon and Evening, but as I started writing down memories started flowing and I could not stop them. Though this brought in a kind of satisfaction and joy, it also creates a sense of despair that I may never be able to go back to that wonderful life. As more young people come out of Palakkad agraharaams in search of basic opportunities, let alone "better" ones, things look gloomier than ever.