Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music

Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#1  Postby arasi » 06 Jul 2011 02:44

I am filled with awe and excitement, sharing what follows with my fellow rasikAs here at Rasikas.org. Let me fill you in on what this is all about.
A dozen years ago, Dwaraki Krishnaswamy, a musician, teacher and composer in Bengaluru gave me a wonderful gift. She happens to be the grand daughter of Mandayam Srinivasa Iyengar, a freedom fighter and friend of Bharathi. When she told me that her mother Yadugiri Ammal had written a book about her childhood memories of the poet called bhArathi ninaivugaL, my first question was: where can I find this book? She said it had been out of print for many years but she kindly offered me the only old copy she had for me to read. I was so moved by the book that I asked her permission to photocopy it. Thanks to her, I could share the copy with relatives and friends. She said at that time that they were trying to get the book reprinted and I was happy. I don't think it happened :(
Soon after I translated Sanjay Subrahmanyan's interview from KAlachchuvaDu here at Rasikas.org and it was well received, I felt that I should translate a precious book like this so that others will get a chance to read it. A pity, I could not locate my copy anywhere :( I felt sad.
Recently, while looking for old memorabilia, I came upon this little treasure and am I thankful!
Bharathi is mighty. A child is precious--a sensitive child, more so. The families in the community were one during the freedom movement. Great adults figured in the lives of children. Their lives were simple but their thoughts and imagination were fueled by the fervor of the adults around them.
Many books have been written about Bharathi but this one is unique. A fine-tuned mind of a child who was filled with curiosity and verve had the good fortune to interact with Bharathi!
Yadugiri Ammal wrote this book in 1938-39. It was not until 1954 that it got published by Amuda Nialyam. She knew the book was coming out but did not live to see the book.
Amuda Nilayam is very much there in Chennai's publishing world. How I wish to see this book in reprint!

I will type her introduction to the book as an epilogue since I prefer the child telling her story first!

As I did with the interview (and our young Srinivasaraghavan did with his grand story of Shreya and Hari, the CM idols), I will bring this translation in installments).
Last edited by arasi on 06 Jul 2011 10:31, edited 3 times in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#2  Postby arasi » 06 Jul 2011 04:31

ONE

The ElElO Song

Bharathiyar loved the music of snake charmers and washermen--songs which were sung by women pounding rice. He liked listening to fishermen and workers in the field more than he did to musicians in concerts.
Bharathi, Chellamma and six of us (children of both families) were walking on the beach of Puduchery. The fishermen had come ashore, their boats filled with fish. They were singing happily. Bharathi interrupted our jovial conversation with several shabhAsh-s in response to their singing.
I asked: This is funny! There is neither rAgam nor any sense to their singing. What makes you appreciate them so much?

Chellamma: You know him! He gets all excited when that man who carries the MAriamman image and beats that uDukkai (mini hand drum) comes to our street. He starts dancing! He loses his senses. This evening, hearing the sound and beat of the waves and their nonsensical music thrills him!
Bharathi went to the fishermen with a paper and pencil and asked an old man to sing the song line by line. He corrected some of his words and came back to us.

Bharathi: You make fun of me as usual--but listen to this. That old man taught me the fundamentals about this Universe.

Chellamma: Indeed! You are the student of every paRaiyan and fisherman. Yet, you refuse to be a Sishya of the guru at the maTam!

Bharathi: I do not want to believe in superstitious, far-from-the-truth dogmas. The fishermen do their work and we are not any different in the way we are made.
Me: Let not our fun-filled outing end in an argument! Oy BharatiyAre! Why don't you explain the meaning and the beauty of the fishermen's song?

With that piece of paper in hand, Bharathi started singing the song. His singing went on for more than half an hour and we were all lost in it. I can still hear that tune now...
My brother Sami said, "You haven't given us the meaning of the song yet. It's eight o' clock already!"
None of us were aware of the time.

Bharathi: Sami, before God, before the creation of this universe, what do you think existed?

Sami: We ask a question and you ask us for an answer?

Bharathi: I'm a crazy man who is both a guru and a student. If I am to tell you everything, how may I learn the things that you know?

Me: nAlAyira divya prabandham says there was water before everything came into existence.Our perumAL was afloat on a banyan leaf.

Bharathi: Yadugiri! You say your perumAL and ours are different? When are you going to give up these silly notions?

Me: I'm still young. I do not have that much knowledge. It's late. Give us the meaning of the song.
I tugged at his shirt.

Bharathi: At the very beginning, God took on the form of a fish.Then a turtle which lived both in water and on land.
He then changed into a boar which stayed more on land and less in water. As Narasimham, He was half man, half beast. How much relevance there is in this to our lives is what this ElElO song beautifully describes. Yes, bhAgavatam, purANam, pATTuk kachEri, but how oblivious you seem to be to the joy there is in this song!

Chellamma: Tell us more.

Bharathi: Aha! You seem to like this song now!

Chellamma: How could I make all this out in their garbled words!

Bharathi: By paying attention! To continue the story, Mahavishnu was born as a dwarf and then took the form of a human, the father of all men, an inspiring model--Rama, representing justice and righteousness. Then on to Krishna,
illustrating action which was carried out in dharma. He did so in this avatAr and also through Arjuna. As BuddhA, he taught renunciation and ahimsA. Now, as Kalki, he is going to unify all religions. We may not live to see it, but our descendants will. This is the meaning of the song.

Chellamma: Why isn't there the name of SivA in all this?

Me: VishNu is the one who took on the ten incarnations. He is the beginning.

Bharathi: SivA? VishNu? They are the same. Chellamma, you say SivA and Yadugiri says VishNu, I say they are all oneI
It's getting late. Let's go home.

How many years is it since this happened? Yet, I see it as if it is happening now, like a day dream...

* * * * *
Last edited by arasi on 07 Jul 2011 21:54, edited 4 times in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#3  Postby arasi » 06 Jul 2011 10:29

TWO

ViTTu ViDudalaiyAgi...
(To Feel Freedom...)

One Friday evening, Swaminatha Dikshitar's daughter Meena and I went to Bharathiyar's house in Easwaran Dharmaraj Koil Street. Chellamma was not her usual self. It was the end of the month. Meena left at six. Bharati was out. Chellamma and I were alone in the house.
A silence prevailed. After a few minutes, I started the conversation.

Me: Chellamma, what's bothering you? Are you not well?

Chellamma: Nothing ails me, Yadugiri. It's just as if a worm is eating through my heart. I need to share this with someone but you are a mere child. I don't want to burden you with all this.

Me: I don't mind at all. I will ask Bharathiyar--"is it mere lip service that you pay for the freedom of women? Can't you show it in your actions at home?"

Chellamma: My dear child! It's the month end and we still owe money to the milkman from last month. He demanded it yesterday and I could not appease him. Bharathiar was supposed to send his article to Swadesamithran today. I got his coffee and betel leaves after he bathed and kept the ink bottle, pen and paper ready on the desk for his writing. I picked the rice and then went to change into my maDi sari. I knew he wasn't in a mood to write. When I went back to fetch the rice, I found that he had scattered a portion of it to the sparrows. He was singing to them. I was in tears. He says, "Come Chellamma! Look how happy these sparrows are! Why can't you and I be just as happy? You nag me and I get impatient with you. Don't they teach us unity? What fools we are!"
I couldn't bear this. "why do you provoke me like this?", I burst out. I wanted to finish my cooking before the children returned from ANNi Amma's (Ponnu Murugesan Pillai's wife) house. You have scattered away part of the rice to the sparrows. How long is it going to be before we see some money? You haven't even started your writing yet. The milkman puts me to shame. The maid hasn't turned up the past two days. Shouldn't you be thinking about these? Instead, you ask me to be as happy as the sparrows! God is unkind. He punishes me by giving me children to take care of..." Then I went away to make the meal. When I came out of the kitchen, he was singing 'viTTu viDudalaiyAgi' to baby Shakunthala and she was jumping with joy. He was in a blissful state. The sparrows were pecking away. When they were all so happy, i did not want to spoil it and so I kept quiet. The dancing and singing came to an end around noon. Baby Shakunthala said, "Appa, come, let's eat. I'm hungry." Bharathiyar sat down for the meal in silence.
Then he said, "Chellamma, are you still angry with me? Look, I'm sending the sparrows song to the newspaper. You will have the money on the Ist of the month. Don't fear!"
Yadugiri, he's a good man, an innocent soul. When he gets the money, he will give it to me. But they won't pay him if he does not send his articles to them and it frets me."
I did not respond to it straight away. Then I said this to make her feel better: "What if it's a poem, so long as he has sent it away today?"
Chellamma said, "No wonder that you're his favored child! You come to his defense very easily!"
"You make me feel much better, anyway!", added the good woman.
Bharathi came home and asked, "Yadugiri, have you read my new song?"
"No, but Chellamma told me abut it. May I have a look?"
Bharathi fetched me the paper.

Chellamma: Every little word that comes out of your mouth is picked up by Yadugiri. She's a little child, but when I told her what happend this morning, she asks, "What difference does it make, a poem or an article, so long as it has been sent away today?"

Bharathi: She's absolutely right. You may not relish it now Chellamma, but wait and see. Yadugiri, I don't know if I will live to see it--you surely will. You are going to see that they will sing praises of me and revere me for these little verses. This land of tamizh hasn't opened its eyes yet. If it has, it is still in its infancy."
Saying this, Bharathi gave me the piece of paper. The last line of this song which I knew by heart, I remember to be 'vAnoLiyennum maduvin Suvai' which in the printed version reads as ' vAnoLiyin maduvin SuvaiyuNDu'. Did Bharathi change it? I don't know...
* * * * *
Last edited by arasi on 07 Jul 2011 21:56, edited 2 times in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#4  Postby rajeshnat » 06 Jul 2011 12:56

Arasi
This is just wonderful , keep it going . When you post one after another with right spacing , we just get to know a lot about Mahakavi. Keep all your posts together in one document , we can even publish yours as a small book bit later.
Sorry for this little intrusion , mainly wanted to say what I underlined.
rajeshnat
 
Posts: 5468
Joined: 03 Feb 2010 08:04
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#5  Postby arasi » 06 Jul 2011 18:49

Rajesh,
Thanks for the encouragement, cheer leader!
I'm not making any copy of this--just want to continue typing with the book in front of me so that I don't get distracted. I hope one of you transfers these posts into a file so that we don't lose what is written. I'm sorry to repeat this--I'm no good at these things.
Another rasikA wrote to me with concern and wondered if I should use the word 'paRaiyan' from the original text. Iwant to keep everything as they were uttered nearly a century ago by those who lived then. We do not change that word in GKB's song, do we? Some do, I notice. I don't choose to airbrush the words...
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#6  Postby CRama » 06 Jul 2011 19:15

Arasi, Your translation is most touching. I regret that I have not read much about Bharathiyar other than seeing in Tamil movies and hearing the stories about him and of course, enjoying his songs. Pl keep this coming and as Rajesh has said, it deserves to be published. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your excellent work.
CRama
 
Posts: 827
Joined: 18 Nov 2009 16:58
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#7  Postby rshankar » 06 Jul 2011 20:05

Arasi - Thank you so much...this is wonderful service for people like me - you make this hero (and heroic figure) come alive for me.
rshankar
 
Posts: 10626
Joined: 02 Feb 2010 22:26
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#8  Postby mahavishnu » 06 Jul 2011 22:07

Arasi: Thank you for your wonderful translation.
I can imagine that this is very big time commitment.
mahavishnu
 
Posts: 2770
Joined: 02 Feb 2010 21:56
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#9  Postby smala » 07 Jul 2011 08:05

A refreshing read on the sweet personal moments of a great patriot and poet. Thank you for undertaking this venture w/ the translation and making it accessible.

A glimpse into childhood years of the times of parents who grew up then, as well... looking forward to instalments.
smala
 
Posts: 3217
Joined: 03 Feb 2010 00:55
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#10  Postby cienu » 07 Jul 2011 11:12

Absolutely wonderful read. A close insight into the mind of the genius. We can only look forward to the next translated episode from Arasi with childlike eagerness & enthusiasm :)
cienu
 
Posts: 1766
Joined: 04 Feb 2010 11:40
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#11  Postby sridevi » 07 Jul 2011 13:42

Marvelous indeed. I am waiting for the next post.

I volunteer to compile all the posts to a word document, format it and send it to interested folks. I would like to read the entire book end to end again and again and am sure some of you would like to do the same.

Sridevi
sridevi
 
Posts: 120
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 20:22
Location: Bangalore India
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#12  Postby PUNARVASU » 07 Jul 2011 13:47

Arasi, what enthusiasm! Beautiful translation! YOU are an inspiration to all of us! :clap:
PUNARVASU
 
Posts: 2334
Joined: 06 Feb 2010 05:42
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#13  Postby arasi » 07 Jul 2011 18:51

Rajesh, CRama, Ravi, Mahavishnu, smala, Cienu, Sridevi and Punarvasu--and those who are with me in spirit and to those who sent E-mails, thanks! And thanks to Rasikas.org, my cosy nook. Thanks to technology.
Bharathi inspires--as always. Here, Yadugiri makes it even more pleasurable for me to work on this translation . Even better--I'm able to share this delightful work with you all. I only wish I had more time each day for this, and the busy rasikAs, more time to read!
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#14  Postby rshankar » 07 Jul 2011 19:44

Arasi - we're hanging on to your every word like generations before did with Kalki's serialized plots!
rshankar
 
Posts: 10626
Joined: 02 Feb 2010 22:26
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#15  Postby cmlover » 07 Jul 2011 20:08

Arasi
Only just saw this thread. I know the novelist in you quite well. But this is your journalist avatar. Lively translation. Keep it coming at your leisure. Some of the events narrated (scattering rice for the sparrows) were also captured in the movies which it was claimed was an authentic biography of Bharathy. At any rate your authentic translation is a valuable addition and worth publishing for wider circulation. I am glad at the offer of sridevi who will put it together as a word/pdf document. Of course you retain the copyrights! Outside of the translation tell us more about this 'child' who had the previlege of hobnobbing with the Great Soul!
cmlover
Moderator
 
Posts: 11483
Joined: 02 Feb 2010 22:36
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#16  Postby arasi » 07 Jul 2011 21:08

THREE


BhArata dESam enRu peyar SolluvAr
(This land called BhAratam)

On Sunday mornings, the 'svadESis' in Puduchery went for a dip in the ocean--leaving home for the beach at seven and returning by ten. My father, Bharathiyar, Iyer (Va Ve Su), Tirumalachari and Nagaswami (he worked at The India Weekly which was run by my father. He lived with the Iyer family at that time and moved to AravindAshram later).
Four or five of us (children) were part of this Sunday ritual. Then there were the plain clothesmen from the police, keeping a distance of a furlong from us, but shadowing us.
One Sunday, we were traversing Gowrla St where we saw a snake charmer in front of a house who was given a kAlaNA coin by the servant of the white man who lived there, asking him to move on.
"kAlaNA is enough for me to buy milk for the snake. DoraiyE! (addressing the owner of the house), offer me a handful of rice, so that I can eat too!"
Then he saw us approaching and played his maguDi again. The snake started dancing. As we passed him, he called to us: generous ones! I'm shivering with cold. I haven't eaten in two days. May God bless you!
We knew from our mother that the sea is a king (samudra rAjan).You don't go empty-handed when you go to see him.
She usually gave us a quarter aNA piece and a little packet of turmeric powder before we left for the beach. The snake charmer saw the kAlaNA in my hand and pleaded: Amma, give me that money and I can buy some iDlis and not go hungry!
I held on to my kAlaNA and walked on saying that it was meant for the samudra rAjan. Bharathi who was walking ahead of me stopped in his track. He pulled his anga vastram (top cloth)from his shoulder, wrapped it round his waist, drew his new vEShTi away and gave it to the snake charmer who blessed him and praised his generosity with all his heart. The man was also cross with me for my miserliness, I could tell.
We walked on to the beach. I threw the kAlaNA into the sea and smeared myself with turmeric. The elders held on to our hands once we stepped into the sea. Bharathi was holding my hand this time.

Bharathi: Yadugiri, why did you throw the coin into the sea?

Me: Samudram is a king. You have to throw a coin or a lemon in it before you step into the water.Otherwise, he gets angry.

Bharathi: Who told you this?

Me: My mother who knows everything. My brother gave away his kAlaNA to the snake charmer. You better hold on to him in case the sea gets angry with him!

Bharathi: Iyer is holding his hand. As for you, are you going to listen to what I'm going to say?

Me: Tell me.

Bharathi: Had you given the kAlaNA to the poor man, he could have fed his children with it. What's the use for this coin which is going to be buried in the sand? Had you offered some food to the sea, the fish would have eaten it. What can they do with the money?

Me: You are right, but my mother told me to do this. Doesn't she know?

Bharathi: These are meaningless gestures. In old times they threw money into ponds and tanks so that the karaiyALars who cleaned them got the money. Your throwing the coin into the sea is of no avail. The sea cleans itself with its waves. It does not need your help.

Me: BharathiyArE! In that case, find that kAlaNA. We can give it to the man on our way back.

Bharathi: Never mind. Don't do this again, though.

Me: By the way, what have 'you' done, giving your brand new vEshTi away to the man? What's Chellmma going to say? You could have given him the worn upper cloth instead!

Bharathi: Others give me things. He has no such luck. I didn't mind giving it to him, why does it bother you?

I could not answer him.
We went further into the ocean, up to our chests, holding on securely to the hands of the elders.
When we were home, the children went to the back courtyard (muTRam)to bathe in warmed up water which awaited us. Bharathi, AiyyA (my father) and others drew water from the big toTTi (rectangular tub where drawn water gets stored) in the front courtyard and bathed.
They were putting on dry clothes when we were back.
Bharathi: AnnA! Yadugiri was upset that I gave away the vEshTi to the pAmbATTi. (turning to me) Yadugiri, I gave away one and got two back from your AiyyA! Now, tell me who is the generous one among us?

Me: Fine! Bharathiyare!I loved the tune which the pAmbATTi played. If only you can sing in that rAgam!

Bharathi: I will teach you one tomorrow. Once again, tell me. Who's the most generous among us all?

Me: Aren't you all one? So, both of you are generous! I'm sorry I threw away the coin. I will not do it again.

Bharathi was very happy to hear this. He started relating what transpired that morning to others--in English.

He came the next evening and we assembled upstairs and heard him sing vandE mAtaram first. Then,
bhArata dESam enRu peyar SolluvAr--miDip,
payam kolluvAr tuyar pagai velluvAr
bhAratap pOr venRa kaNNanaruLAl--tuyar
bhAramaRuvar Selva bhAramuRuvAr.

He sang fourteen stanzas of this song.
I'm known for asking questions all the time. Iyer and Bharathi answered me with patience every time. I asked a few questions now: This is fine, but when will all this happen? Do we really need machines for making needles and nails? I think arms are important (Ayudam) and you make only a fleeting reference to them in this song!

Bharathi: The child raises tough questions. Let me think. How can we sew without a needle? Clothing is as essential as food for the people. You need nails to make boxes, hang pictures...

I notice that in the printed versions of Bharathi's verses, four of the following lines have been omitted:

bhAratap pOr venRa kaNNAnaruLAl--tuyar
bhAramaRuvAr, Selva bhAramuRuvAr

and later on in the poem,

bhArata rANiyin, kaNNanaruLAl--tuyar
bhAramaRuvAr, Selva bhAramuRuvAr

* * * * *
Last edited by arasi on 07 Jul 2011 23:47, edited 5 times in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#17  Postby arasi » 07 Jul 2011 21:31

CML,
Thanks!
Yadugiri Ammal passed away just before the book was published in 1954. I will ask her daughter more about her when I see her again. All that I had gathered from her was that she was a great person, special in many ways...

I had my stint as a journalist too. All so long ago, like that coin buried in the sand!
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#18  Postby cmlover » 07 Jul 2011 21:32

Very touching as to how Bharathy wanted to help the poor even in his penury. I wish that scene was included in the movie. He was more Rational than those DKs who call themselves rational these days using it as a ploy to put down Hindus and Brahmins!
Thanks arasi ...you are on a roll..
cmlover
Moderator
 
Posts: 11483
Joined: 02 Feb 2010 22:36
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#19  Postby smala » 07 Jul 2011 21:38

I find it all SO moving - Bharathiyar is present before me when he speaks, I am blown off by the transcendence of his thoughts, replies, I see him clearly, as much as I see Yadugiri, a sensitive intelligent observant child, curious and ahead of her time, asking the right questions...
smala
 
Posts: 3217
Joined: 03 Feb 2010 00:55
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#20  Postby srkris » 07 Jul 2011 23:13

Very interesting Arasi, and many thanks. Pls continue. The original Tamil would be a fine read too I suppose.
srkris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3241
Joined: 02 Feb 2010 03:34
Location: London, UK
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#21  Postby arasi » 08 Jul 2011 02:34

Very much so! Hope Amuda Nilayam considers reprinting it. Nearly half a century has gone by.
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#22  Postby cmlover » 08 Jul 2011 02:46

How many pages? It can be scanned and made into a PDF document..
cmlover
Moderator
 
Posts: 11483
Joined: 02 Feb 2010 22:36
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#23  Postby arasi » 08 Jul 2011 05:29

A hundred and fifty two.
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#24  Postby thanjavooran » 08 Jul 2011 06:13

Arasi avl,
Excellent! wonderful ! Looking forward for more such episodes from You.
with wishes,
Thanjavooran 08 07 2011
thanjavooran
 
Posts: 1118
Joined: 03 Feb 2010 04:44
Reputation: 0

Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#25  Postby arasi » 08 Jul 2011 08:29

FOUR


Manadil uRudi vENDum
(Fortitude, O Mind!)


After Christmas, in the tamizh month of Thai (January-February), KoDiyAlam Rangaswamy Iyengar and C.Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) came to Puduvai--both were close friends of my father. After spending some hours with Bharathi, Iyengar could guess that the poet was living in a state of penury.Tamizh annai's grace and Iyengar's enchantment with Bharathi's poetry brought a bounty. Iyengar gave the poet a few hundred rupees to help out.
They were critical times. Bombs went off in Delhi. It was a trying time for the svadESis. When the gift came, Chellamma got some jewelry made. With the rest of the money, she bought provisions for a whole year--paddy, lentils, tamarind, chillies and so on. There were no mechanical grain-processing mills in Puduchery. Womenfolk came to our houses to pound the paddy and winnow it to get the rice ready for cooking. For very twelve sErs of rice they pounded, they were paid a quarter paDi of rice and a paDi of broken rice (noi).
On the day a woman came to pound the paddy, Bharathi was writing a story--Golden Tailed Fox or A Fox which Lost its Tail about Annie Beasant, I'm not sure (the editor's note says that the title was The Fox with A Golden Tail).
Bharathi could not continue writing and Chellamma sensed it.
Chellamma: I will ask the woman to come tomorrow to pound the rice.
Bharathi: Let her do her work.
Chellamma: The sound of the pounding might distract you.
Bharathi: That sound prompts me to ask parASakti for a boon. Don't stop her.
Chellamma: First of all, ask parASakti to feed us well.
Bharathi: You like to see me enslaved? I have already given you the money I had. Do not burden me anymore.
Chellamma: Am I forcing you to do anything? You wanted to publish a book and I am saying, do it when we have the funds.
Bharathi: Chellamma, if you trouble me anymore, I will go away.
Chellamma: If you walk away, I will take a walk in another direction. Let someone else bring up the children.
Bharathi: You mean to say I'm not capable of bringing them up?
Chellamma: I'm not capable of asking parASakthi of any boons, as you do. I can only ask you for boons. Is that wrong?
Bharathi: Don't I know my responsibilities? And, why drag the innocent children into all this?
Chellamma: Am I blaming the children? If you say that you want to walk away, I'm saying that I can do that too.
Bharathi: Don't agitate me. Go attend to your work.
Chellamma went away to mind her work.
Bharathi was writing but his mind was not in it. His attention now turned to the paddy-pounding woman's song. She finished each line of her song with a 'hum!' in rhythm. Bharathi's mind lingered over it and he picked up his pen and wrote a song:
manadil uRudi vEND 'um'. He also finished writing the story and went out to dispatch them both.
In the evening, Bharathi said to me: I found a new mantra today.
Me: Teach me that mantra.
Chellamma: He asks parASakthi for her boons and we all have to ask him for boons!
Bharathi started singing the song. At first, the woman was stunned. Then she questioned him: SAmi, are you teasing me? We sing while we pound to distract ourselves from the hard work. Are you poking fun at me and my work?
Bharathi: AiyyO ammE! Don't get angry. Your song is different and novel from the ones I've heard. I have a magic song born out of your singing. Should you be angry?
The woman wasn't convinced. She said, "If the children do this, you are supposed to tell them off! Who is to reprimand you if it's you who makes fun of me?"
Chellamma: aDiyE! Iyer did not tease you at all. He made up a song like yours because he liked it and wanted to remember you and your tune! Don't fight like a mad woman. Go home happy with your rice.
The woman widened her eyes and asked: Does Iyer make up stories and songs (kadai kaTTuvArA?)? How surprising! He even sings like me! How soon he got the drift!
She left in wonderment.

To be continued...
Last edited by arasi on 10 Jul 2011 23:54, edited 2 times in total.
arasi
 
Posts: 12175
Joined: 22 Jun 2006 09:30
Reputation: 0

Next

Return to General Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: GNB_LGJ_PR, kvn_bhakta

Reputation System ©'