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Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Stranger In His Hometown

“Naalu thara nooru nayarum, chungathachhanum, mangalam irunoorum, chembu panikkarum, thottakkara nalpathhi onpathum, nambrath nayarum, kolappulli swarupathil ninnum, cherukara nayarum, vadakara nayarum, koottala nayarum, kaippancherry nayarum, panku rayeerathhu nayarum thacholi koimayum, samudayathu ninnum, pandarathuninnum, manjatti kurikkalum, kalari panikkarum mattum ethheele, ethheele, ethheele
Pooram kodi kayaratte”
(“നാല്  തറ  നൂറു  നായരും , ചുങ്കത് അച്ഛനും , മംഗളം ഇരുനൂറും, ചെമ്പ് പണിക്കരും, തോട്ടക്കര നാല്‍പ്പത്തി ഒന്‍പതും, നമ്പ്രത്തു നായരും, കൊളപ്പുള്ളി സ്വരൂപത്തില്‍ നിന്നും, ചെറു കര    നായരും,  വടകര നായരും , കൂട്ടാല നായരും, കൈപ്പന്ചെര്രി നായരും, പങ്കു രായ്രത്തു നായരും, തച്ചോളി കോയ്മയും, സമുദായത്തു നിന്നും പണ്ടാരത്തു  നിന്നും, മഞ്ചട്ടി കുരിക്കളും, കളരി പണിക്കരും എത്തീലെ, എത്തീലെ, എത്തീലെ?
 പൂരം കൊടി കയറട്ടെ. )

No. I have no objection. Let the flag be hoisted. After all I am a chamravattom-kozhippuram nair strayed into the thattakam of Chenakkathhur bhagavathi. A parvenu strayed into the company of patricians, so to say. I am here not even by invitation, like the Vadakara nair (who ever he is) or the person from thachholi koima.
One of the current ‘Chembu’ Panikker was a fellow officer in SBI who left and joined IAS in the J&K cadre. His brother C.K.Jayram Panikker was also an IAS officer in the Kerala cadre who died while in office. The eldest one of the family retired as a professor from Calicut medical College.

A cock is sacrificed when the flag is hoisted on the midnight when Makeeryam star is in Kumbham. Pooram is on the sixth day from then. The head of the cock is for the Chembu Pannikker. So I am told.

The Bhagavathi seems to be pleased with the Panikkers, considering how they have fared in recent times. The Chembu Pannikkers are coming back to the ‘thattakam’ through a recent matrimonial alliance.

I have no idea who are the 49 from Thottakkara. Presumably they must be Nairs. Panagatt?, Kelath?, It is quite sad that we do not maintain any temple records like they do in the Church. Nambrath nayars are still there. Two of them, Madhavan and Ravi were in the same school with me. Remnants of Kolappulli swarupam is of course there scattered all over the district. Who does not know ‘Taravadi’ Unni? Kaippencherry Nair is also a familiar name. Their house was one of the many houses my family stayed on rent. Kaippancherry Unni Nair, who was the chauffer of Dr. Ramanunni Nair was a cult figure. Many a story relating to prohibition days in Ottapalam is built around him.

There is no record of how the remaining parts of the carcass of the slain cock were distributed after the head is appropriated by the Chembu Panikker.

That was then.

Then it was the Kattana Nairs.

Last year when I went for the pooram, it was a committee headed by retired postman Sankaran.

There is a need for amending the ‘Vilichhu chodippu’.
It should be “ CPM Pinarayi groupil ninnum, Achuthanandan groupil ninnum, Congress Antony groupil ninnum, Karunakaran groupil ninnum, Chandi groupil ninnum, muslim leagueil ninnum, PDP il ninnum, NSSil ninnum, SNDPyil ninnum, Poraattathhill ninnum prathinidhikal ethheele…

Let the loot begin

Also, the flag hoisting should be on the midnight of the day when the red star(Mars?) is ascendant. Then people will be justified in crying..,


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Continuing Farce

When my schooling started in 1953,we used to celebrate Vana Mahotsav for a whole week. It was started by Sri. K.M.Munshi in 1950. The Netas and all and sundry were then lamenting about the vanishing forests and how it is going to affect rainfall. Global warming, ozone layer, melting ice caps etc had not yet become cult phrases. The monsoon decided the agricultural production as it still does but in those days agriculture accounted for over 70% of the GDP.

So we planted an exotic plant called gliricidia or'sheemakonna' for a whole week. It was known as 'sheemakkonna vaaram'.Besides, on roadsides pits were dug and various plants protected by bamboo meshes were planted with lot of fanfare. The bamboo meshes did not last more than a week before finding its way to someones kitchen as fuel. The roaming goats took care of the plants. Gliricidia which is an invasive shrub survived in some places, shunned even by the goats. The charade lasted a whole week and was repeated year after year. I do not think any substantial tree ever survived.The bamboo mesh in time gave place to wire meshes and even concrete meshes. The contractors prospered but not the plants and the forest cover continued to shrink.

While this was going on, the PWD was busy cutting down all the Mango trees lining the Ottapalam- Cheplaccherry road in front of the NSS High School. The trees were originally planted at the behest of Tipu Sultan. They used to give us children an abundant supply of raw mangoes and many a running battle with "Kurukkan" Bava who used to bid for the crop. We did the running and he the chasing and shouting. The big banyan tree in front of the hospital in which many a 'yakshi' resided in our imagination was also not spared and with it went a large part of our fantasies and dreams. A lesson on hypocrisy from Class I onwards.

Then came social forestry. In one of their innumerable foreign jaunts, some minister came across 'acacia'and decided that it is the ideal plant for greening the state. So 'acacia' was planted everywhere at state cost and the demon plant survived. It provided sticks for the flags and banners for innumerable rallys, marches and jathas of all parties and still survived. All the while it sucked precious ground water and thrived. Reports are coming in from Africa about vast tracts of land where all water sources have dried up because of planting of acacia. Unfortunately,the wood is not good enough to burn the minister who introduced it here or sturdy enough to hang him! It still survives, because it is useless.

After many Sugathakumariees and their "poetry on tap", now it is the turn of "AN UMBRELLA FOR EARTH". Or is it 'Haritha Keralam". If it is an umbrella, then I hope it will be something like the one "Ibrahim and Carrim Son's ltd, Calicut" used to manufacture and not the "poppy" variety. Those sturdy things, with the curved handle used to double as a walking stick and a stick to scare away the stray dogs. It had a brand name 611 or 613 or 501 or something like that. I do hope the trees now being planted are sturdy enough and have a longer life.

The day my mother was cremated at Ivor Madhom, over 150 other cremations took place. A small forest must have been burned on that day. This is happening all over the state, everyday. The Christians and the Muslims are going on scarring the face of Mother Earth and taking up space in prime areas. There should be better ways of getting rid of the rotting corpse which even your loving wife would fear to see.(Shankaracharya).Parsis had a better way,until the vultures started dropping pieces all over Mumbai. And then DDT killed off all of them. Can't we have a few crematoriums?

Meanwhile the farce will go on and on. Sugathakumariees will lament about the loss of the current generation and future generation. There will be panel discussions in TV and in Vanitha etc in which actors in their teens will reminisce about their childhood.Meanwhile, smart guys like Al Gore will become billionaires by narrating inconvenient truths.

When it becomes too inconvenient, Earth will heave a sigh, or shrug her shoulder and with it will disappear a whole vile race, much like the dinosaurs. Let the farce progress to the tragedy in the meantime.