Gopallagrammathu makkal and a walk down the memory lane!

Its been a week since I blogged. What with a long weekend followed by a busy week in office, I am unable to even log into the site. Anyway, last week was spent in MGM Dizzee world and in the beaches and restaurants of Singara Chennai. Nothing much to write about that.

Sibi knows my mobile number and dials it by himself and calls me. How cool is that?.

I am reading 'Gopallagramatthu makkal' by Ki. Rajanarayanan. The date on the book tells me I bought it in 1996. Now, what interested me in this book is the chapter when Ki.Ra explains the day in the life of 'oor panai eri' sammuga nadar. Now, my grand father, father's father, used to tell us a hundred times that we are 'panai eri's. i.e my ancestors have lived off the palm tree in the karisal regions around Tuticorin, till one of them, I think it was Ponnaiah Nadar, decided to come to a small village called Sivakasi and settle there instead. He and his son (who is also a Ponnaiah)lived in Sivakasi with a small shop for their sustenance. I don't remember whether he had more than one son or any other details. By the next generation, which is the generation of Kaliappa nadar(around 1940s-1950s) the family climbs the social ladder with a small 'palasarakku' shop. He and his wife, Avudai ammal, begets five children, two male and three female. One of them is my grand father, P.P.K.Thangamani Nadar. He moves to Madurai sometime in the '60s to start his own shop and the elder brother, P.P.K.Rathnam Nadar stays back in Sivakasi and starts a small fireworks factory. We are still referred in Madurai as the 'PPKT family'. So much for a little family history. Now back to Ki.Ra. So it naturally interested me to see how my ancestors lived. And Ki.Ra explains very clearly what sammuga nadar does in a day. He drinks, brings the 'pathani' and eats 'oru padi' rice with 'netthili karuvattu kozhambhu' and goes around the village selling the 'pathani'. I contrast that with a day in my life today!.

I still remember the trip I took to Eral with my family during one of my school holidays. There is a tomb temple on the banks of Tamiraparani for 'Chairmakani nadar', I dont know the history of it but I also remember going to the 'Arunchunai kaatha Aiyanar' temple nearby. The road was reddish in color (chemman). And there was a lotus pond and it was a grove. But you come outside that area, you enter the 'karisal kaadu', where water is scarce and not many crops grow. It is the same from there till the Madurai district. Sivakasi is another wasteland (till Ayya nadar and Shanmuga nadar brought the fireworks industry) with no cultivable land and no rain.

I cannot even comprehend the leap of faith that my great, great grandfather took when he took the decision to move to Sivakasi. What a difference it made in my life!.


Kuttyjapan Webmaster said...


Did you belong to sivakasi ?

Karu Ramesh Kumar @ Athiappan said...

Lovely Annachi.

It's always interesting to trace our ancestry & roots.

Trying to look up for you on FB but not avail.

Karu Ramesh Kumar from Malaysia

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