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

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

#201  Postby Pratyaksham Bala » 21 Aug 2011 20:15

cmlover wrote:What is the first line of the song 'pizhaitta tennan thOppu'?

http://www.lakshmansruthi.com/tamilbooks/bharathiar/bharathi-III17.asp
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#202  Postby arasi » 21 Aug 2011 20:24

Thanks PB for bringing the poem pronto!

CML,
This poem also contains the memorable line: tanimai kaNDaduNDu, adil sAramirukkudamma!

nETRirundOm anda vITTInilE--inda
nEramirundAl en paDuvOm?

The poem puyal kATRu (16) mentions that they had moved house just that day!

dikkugaL eTTum SidaRi to which Bharathi did the abhinaya: poem 15.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#203  Postby cmlover » 21 Aug 2011 20:45

Thanks PB
சிறிய திட்டையிலே,உளதோர்-தென்னஞ் சிறுதோப்பு
வறியவ னுடைமை-அதனை-வாயு பொடிக்க வில்லை
very beautiful poetically.
Arasi
These happened in 1916 at Pondy. Bharathy died in 1919 at chennai. So when did he move to TN?
When did Iyer move to TN and start his gurukulam at Seranmahadevi?
Perhaps we should lookat the chronology of all events later after you finish!
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#204  Postby arasi » 21 Aug 2011 21:47

CML,
Bharathi died in September 1921.
After the war ended in November 1918, but for Arabindo, the svadESis came back to TN. Bharathi was released from the prison in December of that year. He went directly to Kadayam from there. He went to Chennai briefly to give lectures on vEdAntA. That was when he met Gandhiji . Though he had sung about the Mahatma in 1908, he met him only in 1919.
He was back in Chennai in November 1920 to work as a sub-editor at SvadESa Mitran. In less than a year, in September 1921, we lost him.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#205  Postby Pratyaksham Bala » 22 Aug 2011 07:56

Bharati:-
Bharathi left Pondicherry on 20th November 1918. He was arrested at Cuddalore (British India territory) and was imprisoned. He was released on 14th December 1918 when he signed a suitable undertaking.

VVS Iyer:-
After World War, when the British government declared general amnesty in 1920, VVS Iyer left Pondicherry. He went to Madras and soon became the Editor of 'Desabakthan'. An article published on 6.5.1921 in Desabakthan was highly critical of the British Government's attitude towards the non-cooperation movement. For this, VVS Iyer was jailed for nine months. After release, Iyer moved to Seranmadevi where he started a Gurukulam in 1920.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#206  Postby Pratyaksham Bala » 22 Aug 2011 09:31

செல்:- பணம் வேண்டாமா அம்மாமி? எங்கள் ஊர்ப் பக்கத்தில் வரதட்சிணைப் பேய் தலைவிரித்தாடுகிறது. நல்ல வரன் எங்கிருந்து கொண்டு வருவது?
... ... ...
செல்லம்மா சொல்லவும் முடியாமல் விழுங்கவும் முடியாமல் எதையோ மனத்தில் வைத்துக் கொண்டு கஷ்டப்படுவதாக எனக்குத் தோன்றியது. செல்லம்மா-பாரதியாரின் மாறுதலுக்குக் காரணம் என்னவென்று எனக்குத் தெரியவில்லை.


Bharati wanted to get his daughter married to another Iyer freedom fighter (Class A terrorist according to the British), who was known very well to the family. He was a close associate of Bharati at Pondicherry. Chellamma did not accept this proposal of Bharati, and probably that was the reason for the strained relationship at that time.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#207  Postby arasi » 22 Aug 2011 16:48

Thanks, PB!
Fascinating. It's not as if Bharathi did not do his part in finding a groom. It was only natural that he wanted a spirited young man as a husband for his dear daughter and not a kaTTup peTTi. If not Chellamma, her family would have been dead against this match! The reason is obvious.

Whose book is the quote from?
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#208  Postby Pratyaksham Bala » 22 Aug 2011 17:19

Chellamma was against the match proposed by Bharati. May be, her family too. She left Pondicherry with her daughters, and the marriage was arranged without Bharati's knowledge. Bharati was terribly upset. He gave away everything and left Pondicherry.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#209  Postby arasi » 22 Aug 2011 17:24

TWENTY


nIrOTTam
(The Flow)


Dr. Ambeau had said that my health would improve if I walked for an hour every day. I followed his instructions. My mother looked after the baby, and I went to the beach for a walk every morning. This went on for a month. My father and sister kept me company.

One day at the crack of dawn, as we were walking, we heard someone sing in a morning rAgA. It melted my heart. When I listened intently, it sounded like a tiruvAimozhi verse. On my listening for a minute more, it sounded clear as a bell and sounded like a familiar voice--that of Bharathi. I asked my father what he thought.
My father said, ''Let's find him."

We walked in the direction from which the voice came. We saw Bharathi, seated on a kaTTumaram (boat). He was wearing a black top and a vEshTi. He was facing the sun with joined hands. It wasn't light yet. The song sounded majestic. The beautiful rAgam and the meaning of the words gave me goose bumps. It seemed like a divine vision. I was filled with joy.

Sri Sri: Bharathi, what are you doing here?

Bharathi: Is that Anna? Why are you and the children here so early in the morning?

Sri Sri: The doctor said that it was good for Yadugiri's health to walk for an hour every morning. Yadugiri thought she heard your voice and when we came closer, we realized that it was you, after all!

Bharathi: I came here last night. I was flying in the world of my imagination. I woke up and realized that I was on the beach. Such a pleasant hour, this. I was lost in the inspiring verses of the tiruvAimozhi, and you called!

Sri Sri (in a rather irritated voice): Some world of imagination! Do you realize how worried they'd be at home! Is it fair? What are you doing here at this hour?

Bharathi: (with his head bent): It was unbearably hot last night. The beach and the world of imagination were beckoning. Did Chellamma come to your house and ask about me? Am I a child?

My father got Bharathi down from the boat, and like a dear brother would, put his arms around him in a hug. He told me and my sister to keep walking and said that he would soon join us. He started talking to Bharathi in English. Bharathi did not answer but tears fell freely from his eyes. I can never forget that scene. We walked to Bharathi's house now. Chellamma was standing at the door. Thangamma and Sakunthala were asleep. Chellamma did not ask Bharathi where he had been. Seeing my father, with her head down, she went into the house. I woke the children up and then we went home.

My sister Ranganayaki questioned my father: Why did Bharathi cry like that? The tears wouldn't stop!

Sri Sri: Perhaps some sand got into his eyes.

Yadugiri: Bharathi wasn't home all night and yet Chellamma didn't say a word! Why?

Sri Sri: No, I don't think it's something new. Who knows where all he roams at night? The beach, the groves, by the pond...

Yadugiri: AiyyA! He doesn't look the same. I've been observing him ever since I came to Puduvai. Things seem so different when I go to see them now.

Sri Sri: Please don't ask Bharathi or Chellamma about it. It may upset them.

Iyer came home that evening and I told him about the incident at the beach.

Iyer: Did Bharathi recognize your father as soon as he called him?

Yadugiri: Yes, he did and he was surprised to see us so early in the morning. I don't know what's ailing him. AiyyA didn't say much. It's all puzzling to me. Chellamma looks grief-stricken. At least, you can tell me what this is all about.

Iyer: Yadugiri, when something new captures his imagination, Bharathi doesn't stop to think if it's right for him or not. I have appealed to him many times. He just keeps going. I don't know where it's all going to lead him.Trouble at home, too. A woman in our country can somehow manage to cope with problems when it's about children and others at home, but not with a husband. I don't think there is an easy solution for the problems. If a husband behaves justly and adheres to his duties, there won't be any trouble at all. If he doesn't, there will be no cheer--just tears and upheavals. Their home becomes a prison. The woman cannot give up her children--nor can she leave her husband. Troubles multiply and the husband, forgetting the problems at hand and forgetting even his own stature and his greatness, finds solace in hallucinating substances--just for those fleeting moments of pleasure--and starts living in an ivory tower. As the effect of the stimulant wears away, he is spent as a rag and his health deteriorates. If you stop a stupid man from going to the liquor shop, he would get annoyed with you and say, 'who are you to stop me? I'm drinking, spending my own money'. Yet, It's possible to restrain that fool for a while. It's impossible to do that with an enlightened man who is weak and is weak-willed. The one who tries to stop him ends up being the fool. We are all helpless. All that we can do is rue over it.

Yadugiri: The udaya (dawn) rAgam which he sang was divine.

Iyer: Bharathi's voice sounds like bell metal. Early morning, the birds singing, the sound of the waves and his majestic singing! I can imagine how it would have felt.
His association with a few sAmiArs and paNDArams is leading him to all this. A man who has control over his mind is a strong man. The one who follows the manakkurangu (a mind like that of a monkey) goes any which way, doing things as that quirky mind of his dictates. It isn't a good thing for him, and surely, not for his family!

Iyer sighed. His heart was heavy. What he said agitated me. I felt very sad.


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

#210  Postby rshankar » 23 Aug 2011 00:30

Yadugiri has presented the man, wrinkles and all! I am very glad that however obliquely and fleetingly, she has described the mahAkavi's flirtation with hallucinogens.

kaTTamaram = catamaran (one of the few English words that have a tamizh origin)
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#211  Postby arasi » 23 Aug 2011 01:15

Ravi,
As far as I know, it is kaTTumaram (bound wood). How the poor man's boat (similar to a raft) has morphed into a speedy catamaran today!Years ago, the Malibu used to be a cool car--malivu illai!).
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#212  Postby rshankar » 23 Aug 2011 02:40

Arasi - you are right - it is kaTTumaram.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#213  Postby smala » 23 Aug 2011 06:46

rshankar wrote:Yadugiri has presented the man, wrinkles and all! I am very glad that however obliquely and fleetingly, she has described the mahAkavi's flirtation with hallucinogens.


Chellamal appears to be no saint, either. Iyer's account is of a withdrawn, reclusive Bharathi and makes it sound like its the husband's fault but C had some contribution to this state. Her refusal to accept Bharathi's choice of a son-in-law.

I am more convinced especially after reading what P.Bala says : that C left Puducheri with her daughters and even arranged Thangamma's marriage without Bharathi having a part in it. That must have been devastating to an idealistic sensitive man, one who loved his daughters immensely.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#214  Postby rshankar » 23 Aug 2011 07:03

If I understand it, the hallucinogens preceded Smt. Chellama's departure from Pondicherry.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#215  Postby smala » 23 Aug 2011 07:19

rshankar wrote:If I understand it, the hallucinogens preceded Smt. Chellama's departure from Pondicherry.



Yes, that is apparent. I meant Chellammal's contribution to Bharathi's state prior to her departure - around the time of her refusal to accept Bharathi's choice of son-in-law [P. Bala supplies this valuable light]. He must have put in a lot of thought being a thinking man on his growing daughters, and his ideals for a future son-in-law. That refusal from Chellama must have hurt him deeply, his idealistic passions spurned by a too pragmatic Chellamal. I'd even say - that's where it all began, the downhill trend. In a sense it was a rejection of who he was, more than what he stood for - from a life-partner. The hallucinogens didn't happen out of a mere desire for experimentation or a "mind-monkey" weakness.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#216  Postby arasi » 23 Aug 2011 07:22

Chellamma was torn between her family and Bharathi--with his extreme ideas, in the way he lived. The safe haven of a piRandagam, where they played everything safe in life. Then Bharathi, living dangerously, playing with fate(all this a century ago!). The pressure from Kadayam would have been too much for her. Here was a 'rebel with a cause' at home, a daughter who needed to be married, no money and as Ravi says, in addition--Bharathi's addiction. That would have been the last straw. As we progress with the story, you see more of her being torn between the two worlds--still finding it difficult to inable to write him off. Iyer was right.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#217  Postby smala » 23 Aug 2011 07:24

The "addiction" - or respite - Bharathi gravitated to - I have already stated the impetus. It's not as if he was one with a fatal flaw. Rather, one who buckled under when the "rejection" [as stated in post 215 ] became unbearable. Like Lear, he didn't quite go mad but went under a "mad" influence...[re. hallucinogens, I think rshankar has it right with "flirtation" rather than "addiction", since he didn't become a junkie and did use his mind and even became a sub-editor towards his last days.]

Iyer's one-sided stance does not exonerate Chellammal with her middle-class comfortable upbringing and world-view influencing her treatment of a spouse, an idealistic Bharathi. She did not rise up to the occasion, to cherish his dreams. Had she been truly devoted to her husband, she might have felt his anguish and heeded his way of thinking and resisted her own birth-family pressures.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#218  Postby arasi » 23 Aug 2011 07:53

TWENTY ONE



SAgA varam
(Immortality)



In PingaLa varusham, many things happened in succession--all heart-wrenching.

I got a letter from home announcing the arrival of my baby brother. My father needed help and he had asked me to come to Puduvai. I stopped with my uncle in Banaglore on my way. Unfortunately, my child got sick and died there.
I went to Puduvai, my heart heavy with my loss. Another sad news awaited me there. My friend Meena had lost her baby too and was terribly sick. She was longing to see me. Chellamma took me to her house. Meena looked pathetic. When she saw me, like a possessed woman, she cried out: Yadugiri! Bring back my child!
After calming down a bit, she poured out her aching heart to me, about the loss of her child and of her ill health. I contained myself and consoled her. "Meena, don't you remember what Bharathi has said? Fear is like poison, to be brave is amruta. Don't lose heart, Meena!", I begged of her. She could not be pacified. She started screaming, "Baby, my baby!" Then she fainted. They said she fainted often. It was painful to see her like that.
I was reluctant to leave her side. I had turned my heart into stone when I was with her, but when I left her, all my grief which I had kept in check, flooded out of me. Leaving Meena behind in the shadow of death broke my heart. Chellamma and I cried copiously.
When he saw me, Bharathi had tears in his eyes too. He had started a fifteen day vow of silence that day. After some time, he signaled to us to come upstairs. He wrote on a piece of paper: It's our misfortune to see you without your child!
I looked up at him. He was a mere skeleton. His eyes were red and he looked very weak and drained. I couldn't bear to see him like that.

As if he had read my thoughts, Bharathi wrote down: I'm practicing a new kind of yoga. That's why I've lost weight.

He had just finished writing the tugiluriyum sargam of PanJAli Sabadam (the part where Draupadi is disrobed by the kauravAs). He sang the verses to me (he did not give up singing when he observed silence).

Then, Chellamma said with a heavy heart: Yaduguri, we have seen enough of the quirks of fate. If the gods deal out misfortunes to us, should we on our part add to the misery by our own actions?
Bharathi sang, 'eLLattanaip pozhudum payaninRi irAden nAvinilE' (without my being idle even for a moment, Sakti, let my tongue pour out poetry incessantly), and now to see him gesturing like a mute person breaks my heart! I don't wish this terrible thing even to my enemies.The Way, he calls it--and the tragedy of it! I can't bear to see him like this!

Bharathi wrote again: In my search for the magic word, I stay silent and Chellamma teases me for that!

I sat there for a while, saying nothing. Chellamma made me eat with her (had Bharathi eaten before, or was he fasting?--Arasi).

We went back upstairs and I asked: Will Meena survive, Chellamma?

Chellamma: I'm afraid not. Not for long.

Yadugiri: BharathiyAr told me once that he was going to find a way to immortality. AiyyA stopped him before he could tell me more about it. When my child died in Bangalore, I was thinking about what he had said. Death is such a horrible thing. If only he could save Meena from death!

Bharathi started writing something down. Reading it, Chellamma got up, caught hold of my hand and took me downstairs. "Yadugiri, it's not wise to speak of it to him now. It's getting late. You better go home!"

As I left them, I thought, Bharathi sang of freedom for women with all his heart but he made Chellamma do things his way. Rarely had she acted on her own accord. However much she had begged of him, he observed his vow of silence for days.
He once was silent for forty days in a row. That was when he started writing bhArathi aRubattARu.
When you read it now, you realize that it is a work born out of great penance.

*

After a few days, SivakAmi ammal and Subramania SivA came to Puduvai, bearing BhArata mAtA's flag. Since they went straight to Bharathi's house, he had to break his silence. They went with him to rishi Aravindar's house, to Iyer's and to other places and came to our house. We did not meet them because they were hurrying back. My father said that they stopped by and had spent a few minutes with him by the door.


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

#219  Postby PUNARVASU » 23 Aug 2011 07:59

arasi, all the episodes bring tears to my eyes!
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#220  Postby rajeshnat » 23 Aug 2011 07:59

arasi wrote:
The safe haven of a piRandagam, where they played everything safe in life.
....
The pressure from Kadayam would have been too much for her.

Arasi
What is piRandagam and kadayam, I did not get both.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#221  Postby smala » 23 Aug 2011 08:08

piRandagam - house/home of birth (piRanda - Agam). A corrupted "aam" from Agam is commonly used for veedu.

Kadayam - location of Chellamal's home of birth/her upbringing.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#222  Postby arasi » 23 Aug 2011 08:11

KaDayam is a village near Tirunelveli where both Chellamma's and some of Bharathi's family lived.
Not far from my ancestral village vIravanallUr (and to HarikESanallUr). A folk song I remember goes like this:
villu villUrAm, vIrava nallUrAm
kallu kallUrAm, kaDaya nallUrAm
vil aDichchAn kOiIlilE viLakku ETRa nEramille (villu villUrAm).
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#223  Postby smala » 23 Aug 2011 08:21

PUNARVASU wrote:arasi, all the episodes bring tears to my eyes!


yes. Punarvasu, just tears. Nothing will bring Bharathi or Yadugiri back.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#224  Postby arasi » 23 Aug 2011 08:34

Punarvasu,
Here's something to put a smile on your face. A bit of humor ;)
Rather a mini chapter.
We are nearly at the end. The book ends with chapter Twenty six.
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Re: Oy BhAratiyArE!--A Child's Eye View of the Poet

#225  Postby arasi » 23 Aug 2011 08:59

Punarvasu,
I'm sorry to keep you moist-eyed a little longer :( I got the chapters mixed up. The mini chapter is 23. Let's get on with 22 and then, bring 23 in!
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