Friday, January 24, 2014

Women Who Influenced/Moulded Me - II

First let me thank my friends who liked the first part of this post .  I didn't have a plan to write about her, my maternal grand mother,  in the second part.  But when I spoke to my aunt, she gave me more information which will project her intelligent nature still more. 

I know you will agree that childhood memories influence our life without even knowing that it did so! We had built an independent house, some 18 years back in the suburbs of Chennai.  When his maama visited the house, he said that the hall looked just like his father's (my husband's father's) house in Coimbatore!

Normally, in our houses in Udupi, Tulasi plant is kept in the front side of the house.  Whenever any member of the house went out of the house, we did pradakshina to the Tulasi and then left the house.  It was a habit.  The front yard was huge and the Tulasi maadam where the Tulasi  was planted was also quite big.  And it was just like the one in our house! This was my design! Influence/memories! The only thing is, it was in the backyard, which is the norm in Tamilnadu... (again for the new readers, I am married to a Tamilian and follow 90% Tamil rituals!).

Our Tulasi katte (in Kannada!) was just like this in Udupi.  But it was in black colour!  My aunt (chikkamma) used to draw Shiva Parvathi and Radha Krishna drawings on festival days here, in colour powders, which were very very beautiful. Many small mud diyas were lighted during Deepawali days around the tulasi katte. Tuasi pooja also was done here during Deepawali.

She used to sing some bhajans and we used to repeat them after her, while clapping our hand rhythmically.  No jalra here like my paternal grandmother's house! We used do pradakshinas in the evening singing (I remember 'Shuddha brahma paratpara ram) after her.  She was leading us and we were going behind her like ducklings behind a duck.  I can imagine the scene even now, even though I must have been very small then!

No, I haven't taught my children these songs.  Whenever my mother visited or we visited her, she used to tell mythological stories to them.  I had taught some small shlokas and they learnt some from their school.  But I had got them Amar Chitra Katha books and read them to them even before they started going to school.  I read them in English and translated to Tamil, which we spoke/speak at home. Now, let me go to the story of my grand mother!

My grand mother was very fond of movies, esp. Hindi movies.  I wondered how she came to learn Hindi.  She had come home as a child bride as was the practice in those days...I am talking about the start of the 20th century or a bit earlier!She was just 10 years old when she got married.  She had 7 children later on. She must have studied upto I or II std.  Nobody knows.  But she came into a house where she noticed books everywhere.  As I told you before, my grand father had a printing press for printing mainly religious books in Kannada and Sanskrit or maybe in Hindi too.  I have seen a couple of books in Hindi...Ramayana, I think...they were bound books.  Rest were in Kannada and Sanskrit.  I think she was fascinated by all these books and her husband reading all the time.  My aunt told that she, my grand mother,  learnt Kannada from her school going sons and daughters.  Then started reading newspapers first and then magazines.  After the son and two of her daughters learnt Hindi, she got interested in novels.  They read her Hindi  translations of Bengali writers, Sharatchandra and Bankim Chandra Chattopaadhyaya.  And other authors too. They translated every sentence into Kannada.  Then when Kannada translations came, she read them too, it seems. And when the movies were made on the same stories in Hindi, the children took her to those movies....movies must have been new then!  I have written about the other books which were at home in my post about 'books'.  You can know how my mama subscribed to Perry Mason books and Life magazines from his pocket money etc.  He was getting them by post.  I have seen 1952 'Life' magazine with the Queen Elizabeth coronation pictures!  Remember, English was not very familiar then! I think maama was fascinated by the language!

This reading habit was inherited by my mother and her two sisters and two brothers.  We had come to Madras when I was in 5th std. I discontinued in Udupi and joined here 5th again.    It took a few months for me to learn Tamil, thanks to one of my aunt who was a teacher here.  I have already written about this.  My mother also learnt Tamil along with us and started reading heavy Tamil novels like 'Sivagaamiyin Sabatham', 'Ponniyin Selvan', 'Yavana Raani' etc.  She did it within a year of our shifting from a small town to a big city.  She didn't have exposure to outside world at all until then.   Tamil language was alien to us, until then.  All of us were good in Tamil later!

I always tell others who have children at home that the parents should read books and this will influence the children to read them too.  Now, TV influence is obstructing this habit.  Still people in some homes, still read books!  Reading books in gadgets will not influence the children.  They should feel it, the smell, the texture of the books, etc.  Then they will start loving to hold books!

I was planning to write a post about 'Jallianwala bagh' for our Republic Day.  We had visited this place during our North India tour.  But the pictures I had taken then are in the old hard drive which is under repair now.  So, the 'Republic Day' post is postponed! Anyway,



Edited to add on 25.1.14: My grandmother's post will go one to many parts, I think.  But no, I have to curb myself from writing more on this subject...others are waiting!

I was wondering how my mother started reading Sivagaamiyin sabatham etc. which were bound books.  I too must have started reading them from my 7th or 8th std.  She was getting those books from her aunt's house (my grandmother's younger sister) which was behind Pondy bazaar in Chennai.  I remember that was like the old type of house with open yard at the back, a cow shed in a corner, with 3-4 cows which were always there (I am talking about mid to late 60's).  We, children, used to go to that house during holidays...they had settled down in Chennai for many years then.  I must enquire who was the bookworm in their house! They were collecting pages from Ananda Vikatan and Kalki which had dhaarawahiks/thodar kathais/series of famous writers of those days (Devan, Kalki etc.).  Every week's episode had pictures of famous artists depicting a scene from the story which gave life to the characters.  Even I had collected pages of stories and bound them later on.  Reading these stories taken from weeklies were interesting than reading books with just letters, because of the sketches of the artists, Gopulu, Maniam etc. who were famous artists in those days.  Whenever we think of Sivagami of Sivagaamiyin Selvan, the face drawn by the artist (Gopulu, I think) will come in front of our eyes even now! Vandiyath thevan and Kundavai from Ponniyin Selvan are still there in my memory, because of the artists.  I don't know who was a book worm in their house.  But they had rows of books in a room in upstairs, mostly Tamil books!  This post has triggered me to enquire more about my grandmother's side of the family!  My mother used to tell us these stories, which she read, later, when we had not yet started reading, with all voice modulations, dramatizing, I didn't get this nature of hers.  I am a very bad story teller!

Thank you for reading this non-stop history of my family!



Anonymous said...

Lovely story SandhyaMa. Your grandma was a bright lady!

Reading is awesome, and the sooner children pick this habit the better.

I happened to choose books as I had no friends to play with and was bored! Then there was no looking back :)

Happy Republic Day! Hugs!

Sandhya said...

CRAFTY SHINES: You are first again, Crafty and I am happy to see your comment now!

Yes, reading is awesome. If the parents has the habit of reading, the children will pick up!

Happy Republic Day! HUGGS!

SG said...

Thanks for sharing your pleasant childhood memories. Your grandma is great.

Destination Infinity said...

I find learning new languages very difficult and challenging. Everyone in your family (including you) seem to pick up new languages so easily! Kudos :)

I wish I had read more novels or books when I was younger. I was glued to the text books - I regret it now. There is ample time to make amends anyway :)

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

SG: Thank you, SG!

DESTINATION INFINITY: Book fare is still there, in Chennai, D.I! Tamil books are also good and interesting to read. My children never tried to do it! They read and read only English books. Though I always talk about Tamil stories and books and read interesting articles from Tamil books. I was able to enjoy both English and Tamil books equally. They don't seem to agree! Now, it is too late. What will happen to my books?!

Gouri Guha said...

Reading habit is one of the best habits. At least a mother should get her children into this habit. You really had a lovely grandma who makes you feel proud for her. Good sharing.

BK Chowla, said...

You know,what hurts me the most?We no longer have joint families where we get opportunities to,learn from our elders.
Where do we see grandmother sitting amongst her grandchildren?Where are those sanskars?

And yes,Tulsi in that particular direction has to do with Vaastu.

Onkar said...

Very interesting. Reading books is a habit we must try to inculcate in our children.

Onkar said...

Very interesting. Reading books is a habit we must try to inculcate in our children.

ashok said...

very interesting to read Sandhya...and pls go ahead and finish it when you are in the flow...other posts can wait!

and little out of context, you might like this history site

Sandhya said...

GOURI GUHA: Thank you, Gouri! Life never gets bored if you have got the reading habit! You can read anything and everything whenever you want!

BK CHOWLA: Front yard or back yard? I feel most part of our country have similar customs and rituals with slight variations.

Nowadays, with the TV influence, even grand parents prefer to watch TV serials! Yesterday I went to a relative's place and saw the elders addicted to TV serials...all saas bahu loud serials!

ONKAR: Yes, Onkar!

ASHOK: Thank you, Ashok!

Will check the link you have mentioned here!

Jeevan said...

I also read on tab sometime, but reading from book feels quite… great to hear all your ability to learn a language in few months. My interest on reading began only in late 2003 and I subscribed to Daily Thanthi and the Hindu which grows to the week magazine and later blogs, which enhanced my habit of reading books more.
Keep writing :)

Rama Ananth said...

Although, I used to read a lot when I was young, somewhere along the way, I had lost interest in reading novels or even short stories, I don't know why?
If I try to read some classic, I get so bored within few pages, the same books that used to fascinate me, leaves feeling completely bored, now a days.
However, my children manage to read such fat books, seeing the titles itself, puts me off, and my husband too finds time to read books.
So I don't think it matters whether parents read books or not, for children may turn out to be quite different from their parents.
My mom was also crazy about reading Perry Mason. James Hadley Chase, Georgette Heyer, and she also enjoyed reading Tamil novels and magazines. She also learnt to read and speak English and Hindi, just by listening and talking with people around.
However, even after living in Bangalore for the last 27 years, my Kannada is very poor, I can understand , but can speak only broken Kannada. I suppose, the need to learn is no longer felt so much these days, although there was a time I could pick up any language easily. In fact my Hindi became perfect, by watching Doordarshan.
I think people change over a period of time.
DO you know where I can read Appu Swamy and Sita Patti series now?
It used to be my favorite thodar kadhai in the days it used to be published in some Tamil magazine. You know I learnt to sketch from one of these artists who used to sketch for Ananda Vikadan, and other such magazines, they used to have a postal course.
Oh! so many things of the olden days, were brought out by you in this blog.
Thanks for sharing your patti's story

Sandhya said...

JEEVAN: Thank you, Jeevan!

Thina thanthi was always an interesting magazine. Even if a 50 year old lady committed suicide, the headline would be 'Azhagi tharkolai'...But it was interesting!

Keep reading in any form, Jeevan! You will never get bored!

RAMA ANANTH: I used to make the children sleep in the afternoon and read. Sit awake at night and read! But now the habit is diminishing day by day! I just push myself to read novels nowadays. Otherwise just newspapers and magazines are enough! And computer is there! Son is luring me to read by presenting books for my birthdays but I am losing interest in them. Computer also might be a reason!

Your mom was reading Perry Mason? Great! My mother didn't read English but her elder sister did!

Appusamy and Seetha paatti stories came in Kumudam You might get them in some exhibition of from books shops like Higgin bothams. The stories were very very interesting!

'Maya', 'Je' 'shankar'...I remember these artists running schools, via postal too.

Happy to know that you enjoyed these two posts on my grandmother.

Rama Ananth said...

Yes Sandhya, you are right it was Maya's art course only. I really loved his art very much. Those days the stories were so good and interesting, not like the Ekta Kapoor kind of serials, that has really corrupted all Hindi as well other language serials.
The way we used to wait for the magazines to come every week. In fact, I learnt to read tamil because of the stories that used to come in those magazines.
Everything has changed so much, even the English magazines like Femina no longer interest me.

Anu said...

Interesting read Sandhya! My paati also got married at a very early age, and she managed the household chores amazingly well, plus learnt new hobbies during free time like singing, writing etc! And reading a book is definitely inculcated by parents during our very young age itself. Both my mom and dad are avid readers which made me become one!

Avada Kedavra said...

I never met my maternal grandmother, but from what I have heard, she was interested in science, books, movies, art and craft etc. She used to multitask a lot.
Nice reading about your grandmothers.

Sandhya said...

RAMA ANANTH: He was drawing for Manian's stories! They were so good that sometimes we wondered whether Maya's art enhanced the story or the story enhanced the beauty of the art. Manian's stories were famous in those days. Every episode started with two lines of a good movie song!

So much discussions were going on at home about the stories then and we also were waiting for the weekly magazine to come! We were fighting for reading it first, actually! Then will threaten to expose the story's turning point! The whole family was involved!

ANU: It is nice to remember them...our parents and grandparents and their habits. You too write about your grand parents, Anu! It should be interesting! Our children and grand children also will read them later. This facility of blogging facilitates our generations to know about us!

AVADA KEDAVARA: Once we start writing about them, we start enquiring about them with others and know more about them. We won't do this otherwise. Why don't you try, AK?

Anonymous said...

Certainly a great personality who can inspire anyone who crosses path with your grandmother !!
People of that generation had the will power to learn new things, never said "I don't know" !

Learning tamil within a year of shifting to Chennai - really WOW !!
I've read Sivakamiyin sabatham...its truly enticing to read it !!
If you have more to tell about your grandmother, pls do...they are people who can inspire us even today !!

Renu said...

I also took this habit of reading from my that time her room was full of spiritual books and mythological too..I started reading Kalyan that time only..

Saritha said...

Loved reading the post sandhya.

I completely agree with you with regard to books. I off late got into the habit of reading. The moment i finish a book i am desperate to find another one...

Would love to read more about your granny sandhya.

Sandhya said...

UMS REFLECTIONS: Thank you, Uma!

My grandmother was a short lady and not very plump. So she was very agile and I had never seen her falling sick! She wanted to know about everything happened not only at home but outside her home too! Always happy, as far as I remember. I have got only pleasant memories of her.

My mother learning Tamil within a year was great, I think. And she started reading Literature Tamil in the old stories, not coloquial Tamil. But her accent, even after being here for more than 50 years had Kannada tinge! Iy was 'sheegram' instead of 'seekkiram'! She is no more now.

Huh, let me stop now! Thanks for the nice comment, Uma!

RENU: I remember my mother reading many mythological books! My grand mother mostly read novels of famous writers of that time...I have already mentioned about Sharatchandra etc. I think movies were new and so both my mother and grand mother were movie buffs, than me! Everybody in our family had reading habit, I think! Maybe because our grandfather was printing books and his sons were book worms! So, books were always there at home in the vicinity. I remember my mamas conversing fluently in Sanskrit with the purohits at Thirupati during my sister's wedding!

VARUNAVI: I loved reading books so much that I never liked the ending of interesting stories, maybe because I didn't like them to end!

Please read as much as possible, when you can! You will remember these days later, happily! Thank you, for the nice comment, Saritha. I will write about my grandmother's other daughter after sometime! She was a great lady!

Wini said...

I didn't know these stories maami. It is nice to read a nostalgic post like this. I got a glimpse of your childhood, through this post.

"We used do pradakshinas in the evening singing (I remember 'Shuddha brahma paratpara ram) after her. She was leading us and we were going behind her like ducklings behind a duck."

How cute! And it is no wonder that you are such an avid reader yourself, maami. The Annas must have inherited this habit from their grandparents as much as they have from you and maama.

I remember when I was a little girl, your house seemed like a large library to me! Haha! :) I used to read all the old Reader's Digest books and was hooked on to them. Those two-three years of RD subscriptions that you gifted me were among the best gifts I have ever received. :)

Sandhya said...

WINI: I am very happy to read your comments, Ashwini!

As you girls know our house was full of books in those days, though we don't read that much now...TV's influence maybe!

All of us used to love reading 'Readers' Digest' in those days...the quality of the book has gone down now! I still have the old collection, as you know!

Always keep reading books, Ashwini, computer is secondary!!!

zephyr said...

It was like reading 'Palangal', by Sivasankari! Loved the kodi aduppu and kumuti photos. There was this habit of changing clothes after coming from school in my MOTHER's house, leave alone grandmother's! Evening prayers, when all of us would sit and chant shlokas like Vishnu Sahasranamam, shiva stutis etc. was also compulsory. And books! A post is in the making about that one :)

Sorry for the delayed comment on such an interesting post.

Sandhya said...

ZEPHYR: I am very happy to see your comment here, Zephyr!

It is nice to remember those days even though we don't follow them anymore!

Waiting to read your story about 'books'!

Sai Charan said...

Enjoyed this second part just like the first one :) You had amazing people around you while you were growing up - so many book lovers and such great grandparents you had who were keen on learning!! :)

I personally love books a lot and absolutely agree with you that reading an ebook is not worth it, a book must be enjoyed in the hard copy - the scent of paper and texture brings out the real flavour out of reading :)

Picturing your grandmother in my mind, I get reminded of the women from old classical movies who wore heavy sarees, followed all the family traditions - who never complained - though they had to raise such big families, attending to all their children's needs every day and running the family - it was their only world and they were content with that :)

Thank you for sharing your cildhood memories, I wish to read more posts as this one, please keep sharing about your childhood whenever you get a chance :)

Take care,
Big Hugs,
Sai :)

Sandhya said...

SAI CHARAN: I seem to do it often, Sai, sharing childhood memories! I am writing about very old times which is interesting now.

My grandmother was a happy lady though now we know/understand, how much work she had at home but she took time to read, which is to be appreciated.

Thanks for the nice comment, Sai.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Agra ( 3 ) ants ( 1 ) Arya Samaj wedding ( 1 ) Aurangabad ( 1 ) awards ( 3 ) Badami cave temples ( 4 ) balika vadhu ( 4 ) Bhimsen Joshi ( 1 ) birds and butterflies ( 27 ) Book Review ( 2 ) Books ( 5 ) Chennairain ( 1 ) children ( 2 ) Churches ( 1 ) Chutney ( 1 ) Cinderella Man ( 1 ) cinema ( 15 ) common wealth games ( 1 ) concerts ( 7 ) Corporation Schools ( 1 ) cricket ( 3 ) Dharamshala ( 3 ) dogs ( 5 ) Doordarshan ( 9 ) down memory lane ( 5 ) Education ( 15 ) English Movie Review ( 16 ) Environment ( 52 ) Europe tour ( 1 ) Festivals ( 20 ) Firaaq (2008) ( 1 ) Fitness ( 1 ) Forts ( 3 ) Foto Friday ( 18 ) Gafla ( 1 ) General ( 42 ) Health ( 7 ) Hindi film songs ( 3 ) Hindi Movie Review ( 25 ) Humour ( 6 ) Jagjit Singh ( 4 ) Kalakshetra ( 1 ) Kamal Haasan ( 2 ) kanjira ( 1 ) Karsh Kale ( 1 ) kaun banega superstar ( 3 ) kbc ( 2 ) Kew Gardens ( 2 ) Kittens ( 10 ) Kurnool ( 4 ) kya aap paanchvi paas se tez hain? ( 1 ) language ( 1 ) London ( 5 ) Mahabaleshwar tour ( 5 ) movie review ( 8 ) Mumbai Meri Jaan ( 1 ) music ( 58 ) my garden ( 17 ) Nature ( 19 ) New year ( 3 ) Notre Dame ( 1 ) onion ( 1 ) patriotism ( 19 ) pattadha kallu ( 1 ) People whom I admire ( 62 ) Personal experience ( 2 ) pets ( 19 ) politics ( 20 ) Portugese anchor ( 1 ) Pt.Chaurasia ( 1 ) radio ( 4 ) rantings ( 3 ) reality shows ( 2 ) recognition ( 2 ) religion ( 3 ) s ( 1 ) Sangeeth Saritha ( 5 ) saregama 1998 mega final ( 3 ) saregama 1999 finals ( 1 ) saregamapa 2010 ( 1 ) showcaves ( 1 ) Sonu Nigam ( 5 ) sound of music ( 3 ) sparrows ( 4 ) Sports ( 7 ) Srilanka tour ( 4 ) sunrise ( 6 ) superstitions ( 2 ) Tagged ( 11 ) Tamil movie Review ( 8 ) Temples ( 22 ) Tendulkar ( 3 ) The King's Speech ( 1 ) The Taj ( 1 ) thief ( 1 ) Tirupati ( 3 ) tour ( 59 ) tours ( 1 ) Travel ( 26 ) TV serial review ( 8 ) Ulagath Tamizh Semmozhi Maanaadu ( 1 ) unbelievable news ( 2 ) US tour ( 5 ) Ustaad Zakir Hussain ( 1 ) Vaalpaarai ( 3 ) vedanthangal ( 3 ) voh kaagaz ki kashti ( 75 ) wordless wednesday ( 38 ) yoga ( 2 )