MY STORIES Continue----- My first Photograph taken.
After Malayalam New year celebrations, there was another surprise waiting for me.As I had stated I have three direct uncles, maternal uncles all are younger to my mother.Two of my uncles are studying, one, completed his secondary school class 12, studying Typewriting, and short handwriting. As college, education was not accessible to everyone, most of the Kerala lads learned to become stenographers. Moreover, secured good jobs in government and other corporate. During that time, it was wise to learn stenography and migrate to north India for jobs. There are quite a few to name who became famous in India during British regime and post ndependence. One of the famous was Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal secretary and stenographer Mr. Mathai and another famous man was Mr. V.P Menon, who drafted a famous document for merger of Local Kingdoms of India, which was numbered about 600. Many corporate heads and chief executives still now having stenographers from Kerala. My eldest uncle also studied same course and secured a job in Gray Mackenzie and company in Bahrain, with the help of his elder sister and brother-in-law. I call him Gopi Uncle and younger one Krishna and youngest Nanu. My grandma had taken special care in bringing up her sons, as they have to take care of the family.
It is learned that Gopi uncle also is coming on vacation. This news brought additional joy for our family and especially for grandma. she made special arrangements to receive him as he being the first male child of her and family. More over it is commendable about him that he supported his mother during her struggle days for existence and bringing up her family with respect. Grandma often spoke of Gopi uncle that he was a very sweet boy with pleasing manners and undemanding, unassuming nature. He often helped her in distributing milk to nearby houses before leaving for his school. After securing a job he supported his family by sending money every month. I have not seen my uncle yet as he was not at home when I was born. Therefore, I was curious about him.
One fine morning household was very busy early in the morning. Grandma was very active, giving instructions to her daughters and servants. Special dishes were under preparation. Grandma remembers his likes and dislikes. At last putting an end to our waiting and anxiety a taxi arrived at the gate. A plumb good-looking man with white complexion stepped out of the car. Oh, it was my uncle. He was very handsome and was smiling at us. My grandma ran crying up to him and hugged him passionately. I never had seen my grandma so emotional and crying. It was tears of happiness. All sisters. Brothers, nieces, and nephew have formed a circle around him. He was very happy. I looked at him with shyness and reservation. He touched my cheek and asked something I could not reply. After breakfast and usual family joy, he opened his big trunk box and distributed presents to all his sisters and brothers-in-laws. Children got toys and sweets I got a lead pencil with an eraser at the end, I liked it as it got a beautiful colour and i was holding a pencil for the first time. In those days children of my age are not allowed to write on papers, we had to use a slate made of thin Cuddappa(Graphite) rock fixed in a wooden frame. So Pencil was a treasure for me to possess. Next important aspect about my vacation as I remember was an offering for my Grandpa on his death anniversary. It is customary and tradition to pay homage and special offerings to ancestors and ancestors. According to Hindu scriptures, the departed souls live in a place called “Pithru Lokam” they will be there about 4 years before they take another body by birth. Therefore, Hindu believes that death is nothing but a beginning of an end. Journey continues through several births and and deaths through innumerable bodies. Before being born as as a human being a man has to travel through eight hundred and forty thousand various bodies, and to receive salvation one has to go though several millions of births and deaths as a human being. In this or her life as a human, his own Karma makes him to take birth in the lower species of animals and creatures again. Therefore, that is the reason why sages insist that man should work hard for his salvation when he is born as a human being. God has given super intelligence only to human in order to achieve this ultimate goal.
One day evening Chami (servant boy) called me to go along with him to market as he is going to buy some poultry and a goat for grandpa’s death anniversary function. I readily accompanied him stealthily as my father would never approve me going along with him. That to fetch a goat and poultry. However, I managed to skulk and went along with him.Cattle market was very busy. Shuts and whiplashes could be heard from long distance.I could not imagine what was happening there. When reached there I found that it is not an inviting place to be seen. Floor was full of cow dung and cattle urine was stinking.I thought I made a mistake by coming here. However, I managed to stay along and decided to watch. Chami talked to a broker and made arrangements for the goat and
Chickens. After paying money, we took possession of chickens and a goat. It was a cute looking goat with black and white skin. He looked at me and showed his teeth as if smiling. I gave him some jackfruit tree leaves. He consumed it happily all the way, through. I fed him with banana skin and mango leaves. Chickens were tied togetherwith a rope, was chanting louder bla bla bla in their language.
Next day I got up hearing a deep painful cry of my goat and deep penetrating cry of chickens. I ran out to see what was happening. To my surprise it is all over for goat and chickens. His head was lying apart and chickens were fluttering their wings with a painful cry and shaking legs.. Chami and his assistant was busy skinning goat and processing chickens. I never knew the fate of my short time friends. Although., I was planning all night to feed him next morning with more tasteful leaves and banana skins,
Did not materialize. I was very angry at chami and did not talk to him for few days.In the morning , afternoon and night there were special offerings for grandpas soul With special prayers. After the offerings members of family joined together and enjoyed the dinner with chicken and mutton. I still can hear the painful cry of my goat and chickens.
Another important occasion during my holidays was a family group photo taken by a photographer. My grandma insisted we should have a family photo taken as almost all her children and grand children are present at that time. My uncle arranged a photographer from a town studio. One afternoon by about 3 o clock photographer arrived. We all got ready in our Sunday best. Except one, all of my aunties and uncles were present. Photographer was insisting to hurry as he would not be able to take picture if sun goes down, a row of benches and chairs were arranged. We children had to sit on the front row and elders sat on chairs, with grandma at the middle. Youngster and uncles Were standing on the benches in between standing were sisters with their small babies in hand. I sat with my sister and next to Suni chichi. She was wearing a very beautiful dress and her perfume was very sweet. My sister was sitting near me, changed her mind and rushed to my mother as she wanted to be with her. So she had to carry her. I observed the camera with wonder. It was a huge one with a squire plate at the back. Photographer was very active as if he was operating a very complicated machine. I thought I would like to be a photographer when I grow up.. Finally the snap was taken, and my sister was crying at the time so I looked back to see what was happening. When the photo was received I found my head turned to right side. It was a wonderful experience. I think, that photo might me lying in one of my uncles family albums. I often craved to see my childhood picture but it is not available any where. I think I wrote enough for the reader this time. Please drop me a line if I am inflicting and thrusting with my Blog. Until then.