Friday, June 15, 2012

Connecting to my roots


An unknown joy  consumes me whenever I pass through or hear the name of the town Mayavaram (now called Mayiladuthurai) in Southern Tamilnadu.  And  when I recently passed through this small town on the banks of River Cauvery, the joy surfed up again. The reason for the  joy - this is the ancestral  town of my father.  

Edakkudi , 3 kms from Mayavaram literally belonged to my father’s ancestors.   The village belonged to the descendents of one person.  Slowly mobility and opportunities disintegrated this villagers in agraharams to different parts of the world  and my Great grandfather moved to Trichy to join the police service and my own grandfather’s  engineering  ambition  moved him to Bangalore and  slowly we disconnected from our roots .  Now, when I pass through that town it gives me some unexplainable joy.

Mobility in communication and transportation has uprooted us from our roots and provided us with individual freedom and more global opportunities.  Today most of us  are geographically scattered from our roots. This  disintegrated the joint family system  in the past  and gave rise to nuclear family. Today even this  has disintegrated further with members of the same family (husband and wife) working at different locations.  With the world growing materialistic and individualistic  today long distance families  has become the norm.  With education and work obligations stationing them at different places, today’s  children and siblings  study or are  employed elsewhere away from home.  

Most of us slowly  adapt ourselves to the new environment, culture and language  gradually losing  ties  with our  roots , family and community .  Today we have an aunt, sibling or  any relative for that matter in some far away piece of land. At times of crisis or happiness we don’t emotionally bond,  you do not have that brother or sister relative to share your joys or sorrows with their physical presence. ( it is not possible to meet frequently)

When elders in the family insist on attending family functions, visiting  family deity, ancestral deity  and observing traditions and rituals, most of us dismiss them with   excuses citing professional and domestic obligations. The pressures of the competitive life  and professional necessities leaves no opportunity to attend many family functions or temples. There is a great demand on our time and energy.  Many a times we find ourselves being  pushed and pulled in all directions due to the rat race.  

   Now,  I feel these functions, rituals and  traditions  or temple visits were designed  to bind the family together and keep us connected to our roots . These  getogethers or functions show us how as relatives we are interdependent, help each other and  bond over food, customs  and traditions and helps foster a sense of oneness and  security. Like they say ‘The family that eats together stays together’. The physical  communication , face to face conversations help us to make good  memories. Perhaps these  help us to maintain sanity  in this world where there are many stressors.  When we do feel  low these memories act as a  destressor and warms up our heart.  These relationships are like those comforters of security   at times of crisis be it health, monetary or some other emergency or simply the thought you have somebody to lean your shoulder on  peps you up and helps face the world with more strength.

Of course. arguing that we are connected through technological network is fine, but that is mostly thorough  virtual  communication, texting and using emoticons and not genuine emotions. As a part of evolution, may be we would lose our emotional quotient and become more like a robot if we did this often.

I experienced this emotional bonding  when we recently conducted  a family function (my son’s thread ceremony)  by observing  traditions and rituals.  The family  ties were strengthened when relatives from many places gathered together. It was a joy to see the gennext bond and exchange their contacts. We were glad we heeded our elder’s advice  and choose a traditional ceremony  close to our roots at Neyveli  over a convention hall  affair in Hyderabad. 

                            A new temple at Govindapuram enroute Mayavaram


  1. :) nice..the travel lady is back :))

  2. True.enjoyed every word of the write up.

  3. very colorful.. and a good building .. but I am jsut curious all that money that is spent in building religious places why cant that money be used to do something good for human being.. i jsut wonder


  4. Very true. We've gained much from modernisation, but lost some precious things as well, as you have pointed out. Alas, some of our towns are sad relics of he past - grown haphazardly and have lost their charm.