Friday, November 27, 2009

Madhurambika Ashram --- An autobiography

Listen to the story of Madhurambika ashram.--(Bala's maternal grandparent's house)

Yes, I am an house and that is my name. I measure more than 3600 sq. Feet. My address is 97, First Street, Paramasivapuram. I am situated close to the lalgudi railway station. Bala’s grandfather Mr. Srinivas retired as a station master from Lalgudi and hence decided to stay back at this place after retirement, though originally they hail from Koneyarajapuram in Thanjavur. I was built in the year 1956.

Though I measure more than 36squares, I have not used the whole plot. I have space all round me, especially more at the back yard. As you enter I have a rectangular veranda, on the right is a spiral staircase leading to the first floor. From the veranda you enter into a passage which leads to the hall. On either side of the passage is a bedroom. The left one has a door which opens into the hall. The right one has another door which opens into a bedroom this room has 4 doors. One door to the hall, one to the adjacent room, one to the side garden and another into the right kitchen. Yes, I have two kitchens. The rear end of the drawing hall has a door which leads to a passage. This passage opens into the courtyard. On either side of the passage are two kitchens. The left kitchen usually used for patthu samaiyal (cooked food) and the right side for uncooked food .There is a pooja room in this kitchen. The passage ends in a foyer on either side of the foyer are two rooms.

The left room is used as a store room for storing coconuts and other things. There are nearly 10 coconut trees in the house. The elders in the family hire people to pluck coconuts , then it is broken by the youngsters with thenga uri(coconut cutter) and then the thick kernel is removed from the shell, dried and sent to the oil mill for making coconut oil. This milled coconut oil is then sent to all the sons and daughters house in Chennai, neyveli and Bangalore since the cooking medium of the family is coconut oil.

The right room is generally used to put all junk and this place is also used to cook oily things like savouries and sweets during occasions for the big family which unites together during occasions. The elders of this family have always done the seer murukku for weddings and all other functions in this place. Till recently they have never used the marriage contractors.

Finally, this foyer's grill door opens into Asha’ favourite place in the house --the courtyard. To the left of the courtyard is again another small house measuring 15X15 feet. This house was rented out during Bala’s grand mother’s time but later on Anna (fondly called Anna thatha --B-i-l of Bala’s grandfather) lived in this house until his death in Jan 2009. It is a single room tenement with a kitchen.

In the middle of the courtyard is a shed housing a shallow platform. This platform was used to string the flowers of the garden, or to de- stem the keerai available in the garden. It also served as a place for the elders and youngsters to relax and talk. There is an ammi kal and aatu kal(grinding stone) here. This shed is shaded by the Tangerine tree. (narthangai).The elders of my house like chinani mami, Janaki mami and Baby mami make narthelai podi out of this tree leaves. They pound the tender leaves of the tangerine leaves with red chillies and salt on the ammi kal and pass it on to the near and dear ones living away from Lalgudi. This powder is a good accompaniment for curd rice and very special for native Tanjoreans.

There is a well close to the shallow platform , which caters to the water needs of the family.It is connected through a borewell into the kitchens and wash rooms. The water is the pure kaveri water putting any water purifier to shame. Beside the well is the holy Tulsi (brindavan). The well was the play area for children like Sharun and shreya. They took great pleasure in drawing water from the well whenever they came for holidays.

To the right of the courtyard was the entrance into the neighbouring house i.e door no 96( this also belonged to Bala’s Grandfather and the neighbouring house no 95 belonged to Bala’s mother. She sold the house in 2003.)

I have many plants like the juicy lemon (each bigger than a golf ball and I yield more than 100 numbers in each season. They are again transported to all the children’s house) , vadanarayana keerai, pasalai keerai,murungakeerai , manathakali,sundakkai, plaintain trees, murungai, pasalai , narthangai, coconut, curry leaf ,vilwam,nelli maram marudani and flowering plants like hibiscus, parijadam, mullai ,malli etc.,

I have been blessed by the presence of His holiness Jagadguru Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi swamigal during one of his visits to LLI.

I have been the venue of the various occasions this family has conducted like weddings, seemandham,thalai Deepavali, poonal, nischayadartham etc.,. I have also witnessed the birth and death of various members of this family. I simply love this family.

Well , now you may ask what is so special about me?. Why should I write my history? since every house has one.

Well, Today (nov 27) my ownership is being transferred to an other family. I will definitely miss the members of this lovely family who have migrated to various parts. But, I take solace in the fact my neighbour 96 is still part of the family. I can still meet them when they come here.

With blessings and best wishes to all the family members of Seetha patti and srinivasa Thatha.

Madhurambika Ashram.

Every family member (from the oldest to the youngest)of the house is sad about the sale of the house. Due to old age and health reasons it is difficult for elders to stay and maintain the house while their children are away and they have to move over to their children's place in other cities.All of us will definitely remember the beautiful times spent in this palatial house.

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