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I was fortunate this year too, to attend the car festival at Perinkulam, my native village.  Hei, wait a minute. How do I  say that Perinkulam is my native village?  I was not born there, I did not grow there nor did I live there for more than a few days. The village name which was hibernating inside the shell of a single letter initial, stood up proudly and prominently, in my passport and from then on, I am known as Perinkulam, in my mails and other correspondence.
” Can I have your passport, Perinkulam?’  asks the official in the  check -in counters of hotel and airports.
“My name is not that, it is my village ” I was about to tell him but instantly restrain my tongue.
” Meet senior Perinkulam”,  friends of my children introduce me to others. It takes a few seconds for me to realize that it is me, who is being introduced.
Óh, Perinkulama ? Nanum Perinkulam than- I  am also from Perinkulam” boasts a stranger in a cultural meet . I am amused at his camaraderie, as  I recall how men of  our two neighboring villages, total length not more than  a furlong or two, quarrel on  very petty issues.
“I am also from Perinkulam”  writes a reader, ” and I like your stories” I send a reply thanking him, murmuring,  “he likes my stories only because I am from his village! What a disgrace for my art!”
My children also are known as Perinkulams, though they hardly know that place.
“Look  at your own name” I exhort them when they blame me about my occasional wandering in the pavilions of past. ” Your past is so prominently, unalterably projected there.” After some time I add, ” your children may never visit that village or it might be known by some other name when your grand children are born but they still will be known as Ṕerinkulams, though they might settle in the Mars or the  Moon .¨.
Whatś in a name? ¨ asks Shakespeare, ẗhat which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” It will, no doubt. But, the moment I hear the word ŕose’  its fragrance and beauty spreads in my mind, which cannot happen with another name.
The procession of   chariots, one behind the other, beautifully decorated  with flowers, flags, sugarcane, coconuts and plantain bunches, ceremoniously drawn through the streets by hundreds  of devotees,  following the synchronized beat of the percussionists and pushed by the elephants,  become all the more attractive when they cross the bank of the the big pond, called  ‘Perinkulam’,  through a ‘z’ shaped small stretch of land.The natural bend of the road, the pond on the back ground, the setting sun and the Siva temple  in the center of the two villages make the procession glamorous.
“Ï am pulling the Godś vehicle!”  I think for a moment and feel proud of my physical strength. The realism overtakes the false proud instantly, when I see around, hundreds of other hands  too  pulling the vehicle along with mine and an elephant too at the back to push the chariot!  Several successes  in life have brought that false prestige in me and more I think over the matter, I realise that it was all a combined effort -with a huge figure pushing from the back.
After the show was over, I retire to a corner of the temple, with none there except the God inside, and muse over the past. I pick up a handful of earth from the premises and asks  myself, “how did I get emotionally attached to this soil, which did not give me birth, which did not feed me and which, in fact played no part in my development?.
My mind goes back to several years  and I recall the story as told to me about the migration of my grand parents to that village. Having lost everything in life, wealth, children, status, health and honour, they landed in this village, full of rocks , accepting the gracious offer of an uncle to shelter them in a small mud house with four walls and many fruit trees around. The mud house has disappeared but that vacant land, which I can see from the temple, is  still there, sheltering the Godś chariot, as a humble expression of gratitude to Navaneetha Krishanan, for the mercy showered on the progeny of the refugees who took shelter under His feet long ago..
That was practically the beginning of our known family history, as the earlier golden period of prosperity was forgotten for all practical purposes . I do not know when our ancestors migrated from Tamil Nadu but I am told that they were from a place called Vancheeyam because the first sons of all the branches of the clan, was named after that village deity, Vancheeswaran. My father did visit that place once in his life time and I am yet to do that.
Having lost his father when he was very young and no other means of  livelihood, my father,  migrated to Palakkad, to start a small business, with practically zero investment but with a monstrous mental acumen, courage and will power.  It was that journey by walk, along with my mother and me, a six months old baby, that paved the way later, for the jet flying of his children and grand children.
so was my migration to Hyderabad, twenty years later,  which led to the later relocation of my siblings which resulted subsequently, in  their progenyś  migration to west.Now most of the youngsters in the family are settled abroad.The forebears souls, I am sure,  will rest in peace because their earthy descendants are having a square meal, which they themselves did lack for sometime. And for parents, that is the best news they crave to have, not what the children don, pant of panchagatcham.
. Human migration has been taking place,  since long, due to various reasons, economic, socio- political, religious and many such ,  may be to the next village or city or to a far away country . Overcoming the obstructions of the oceans and mountains, they have been migrating and so are the birds, animals, seeds and thoughts.
My thoughts come back to the handful of soil and recall that my bare chested, bare footed ancestors wold have walked over this soil with almost a bare stomach, but always  reciting the Vedic verses which invokes universal love and affection, sympathy for the suffering and support for the falling. Their ashes would have mingled with this soil and  it still moist with their tears and sweat. The smell of sacred ash and saffron is still fresh in the handful of material I have.
“Forget the past; live in the present” I read every where  But how?
How do I forget my Hyderabad house, “Anantha Jyothy”, the cradle of our dreams and witness of our growth and disaster,  within the four walls of which my children learned to  crawl, struggled to get up and walk and stood proudly  on their tiny legs? How I am to forget that soil, which is the same as the one I have in my hand, which nourished our family and also absorbed the ashes of my dear and near?
How am I forget the soil of Baltimore or  Florida, which is the same as the one in my hand, which gave wings to my  artistic aspiration , dormant for fifty years and made me to write stories, one of which stirred a good soul so intensely  that he, poured his heart,in the following lines:
“At least in one of my future births I would like to be your student, your sibling, your whatever, in whatever manner I would like to be associated with you, may be a doormat in your house…
I salute you Sir, endaro mahanubavulu, andariki vandanamulu…
You have given me immense happiness today. Thank you from the pits of my heart”
It is worthwhile to spend a life time to give immense happiness to a soul, even for a moment.
The hands pulling the chariot here, are exclusively mine but a huge elephant, embodiment of wisdom and virtues, pushes from the back always and if my mind goes into hibernation and  hands become too weak, the great pachyderm  comes to the front, pulls the chariot and carry me on its head too.
Ebullient  by emotional  propelling, I stand before the sanctum and sing the first stanza from my own composition ¨ Namai nithyam Navaneetha Krishnam”.
Immersed in the enchanting beauty of the ”  ANANTHA,MAANANDA MAHAASAMUDRAM”,  I then, sing from the immortal ‘Mukunda mala” of Kulasekhra Perumal;
‘Naham vandhe thava charnayor, dwantha madwantha hetho,
Kumbheepakam gurumapihare,tharakam napanethum.
Ramya rama mriduthanulatha nanthane napirandhum
Bhave, bhave, hridaya bhavane, bhavayeyam bhavantham”
Bhave, bhave hridaya bhavane bhavayeyam Bhavantham¨
The Ánantha Jyothy always shines in my heart, then how does it matter whether I am in Perinkulam or Baltimore?
Slowly, my mind dissolves into a big pool of divine compassion and grace and in that ¨Perinkulam´, floats on a lotus leaf, a lovely baby, holding his lotus-like leg with his lotus-like hand towards his lotus-like mouth, while I continue with my thapas  for the birth of one more  lotus bud to be placed at  that Divine graciousness.
Can I have your passport, Perinkulam?’  asks the official in the  check -in counter.
I hand him over the document without any hesitation.
April, 18  2009

24 thoughts on “Perinkulam

  1. I was was fortunate to visit Perinkulam during March 2009 for the Ratholsavam.
    Our family came to South Perinkulam when I was 10 years old and lived there for 10 years before moving to Chennai and Abu Dhabi. Perinkulam is enchanting and I intend to settle down there after my retirement.
    Your travelogue is fine. It would have been fine even if it was not about Perinkulam but about any other place.
    Kasi viswanathan

  2. Well composed, sir! It’s amazing to know the depth of nostalgia that the place evokes in a person not born, not grown-up and not lived there. Imagine how lots of villagers settled in claustrophobic Mumbai will be feeling.
    Please send me your mail id and try and explain your identity. From the article, I am able to figure out you as a person belonging to “Aanayaam”, for the vacant land where the car shed is presently located is the Aanayaathu Thodi. I have with me a piece that I had composed on the life and times in the village in the 50’s and 60’s which may be of interest to you.
    Still, a little more identity revelation will help. For your information, I am the 3rd son of Ambi Mama of “Undikarallaam”, the house at the centre of the left row in the double street.

  3. For your information, my mail id is:
    [email protected]

  4. Dear Sri Siva
    That was absolutely wonderful! I wish I could write with such facility and fluidity. I admire you and will try to emulate you when my time comes, i.e after retirement. You have made Perinkulam immortal. Incidentally there is a family here (Dar es Salaam) from Perinkualm.

  5. Dear Siva,
    I knew you as an ardent lover of Malayalam, but your capacity to write so beautifully and touchingly, i was not knowing. I am happy to know about my native village, Perinkulam. I expect an article about your present abode, Hyderabad, also in the same style.

  6. Dad,
    Nice article.The same question has occurred to me multiple times. Here (in the US), the last name usually overshadows the first. Quite a few people (including North Indians) find it extremely hard to pronounce “Perinkulam”. That added with an equally enigmatic first name makes a good conversation starter. After a few desperate attempts at trying to read my name, the conversation ends up being something like this.
    “Mr.At…chu…thann… you have a nickname?”…and I say..”No. I just go by Atchuth. And the first T is silent”. Eventually they get it right. Maybe you should write an article on how you ended up giving me such a complex name 🙂

  7. Dear Sir,
    I had mailed you sometime back and sent my comments on your beautiful piece on PKM. I have lost your mail id. If you can revert to me on [email protected] I need your help in retrieving some lost piece.

  8. This is an interesting piece on Perinkulam. Incidentally from Perinkulam – not from the village but near Sooryappan Kulam (Krishnan Nair and Vesu Amma’s son). The nostalgia Perinkulam brings to one’s memory of the childhood days, the car festival, the elephants, and the children learning to swim, etc. It is great. You have said most of it. I was in Delhi from 1977 to 1990 and in Trivandrum since then. It was really a pleasure going through this blog. Thanks once again.

  9. Hello,
    My native place is also perinkulam ( thekke gramam). The suryappan/bhaskaran kolam in there was built by my great grandfather. I have heard that they were very wealthy once upon a time but the history is still not clear. His name was Doraiswamy, fondly called as occhapatta. if any of you have any information, I would love to know. Please email me in [email protected]
    Anusha Parmeshwar

  10. My minlaw Muthambal belongs to Perinkulam. Ramachandran and thangammai were her parents.also our kavu is the pudhukulankara bhagawathi amman. I would like to know more about the temples in Perinkulam ,as I plan to visit them in future with my grand children

  11. I visited Perinkulam last week for the Theru (Ratotsavam). I am the grandson of P.K. Vaidyanatha Iyer of Kallai House. I invite all those who belong/hail from Perinkulam to join my page on Facebook- Perinkulam Samooham and check out the photos. You can also mail me at [email protected].

  12. Dear All, I am Subramanian would like to visit Perinkulam during 23rd 24th or 25th of February 2013. I wanted to visit all the temples especially our gramam temple Sri Varadaraja swamy. Presently i don’t know anybody over there. Is any body to guide me whom to contact for doing the pooja and other rituals. I am the grand Son of late Sri G.S.Srinivasa Iyer Retd.Headmaster N.E.High School and son of late Sri.S.Gourishankar founder Jathakalaya. If i get a contact detail i shall discuss many things and plan accordingly.

  13. Dear Friends, I am P. KANNAN UNNI S/o. Late K. P. Kochu Nair, West Village, Perinkulam. Am in New Delhi since 1980 perior to that i.e. from 1977 to 1980 I was in Kolkata. I used to visit my home town to attend Car Festival every year otherwise also atleast 3 to 4 times in a year. This year also planning to attend Car Festival-2013.
    Regards, P. K. UNNI, NEW DELHI.
    my Email ID. [email protected]

  14. Mr Vasudevan, i am from thekke gramam narayana iyer alias kunjumani iyer. I am the daughter of his last daughter lakshmi who is deaf and dumb. I know vesu amma who was staying near suryappan kolam in a house and got a daughter called baby, if i am right. Me and baby of same age. If the information is correct, let me know further. Otherwise, how are you? where all of you settled.

    1. Dear Padma,
      I know Kunjumani mama and has met his on too during car festival a few years ago.How is he now?

  15. Dear Mr MV Chandran
    Are you the brother of Ms Santhi/malliga of undikkara veedu?


  17. Dear Sivasubramanian Sir
    Kunjumani thatha has five sons. Raasai, Murthy, Rajamani alias sababathy, Raman and Krishnan. Of which Rajamani, Raman and Krishnan are alive. Whom did you meet? Otherwise, those three are very fine. Rajamani is in Pune living with his son. Raman is in Goa and Krishnan is in Pondicherry. By the way, are you attending this year festival? How are you doing? Padma.

  18. Hi All, This year by God’s Grace I along with my wife attended the car festival. Since my gramam is Padungnare graman, i visited all the temples and also witnessed the full abhishekam in our Varadaraja Swamy temple. I had complete satisfaction after attending the car festival and really cherished my Nostalgic moments since i visited the place after more than 22 years. Hope to visit next year also.

  19. Mr.G.Subramanian, Grand Son of Shri.Late Srinivasa Iyer, West Village, Perinkulam.
    Dear Sir, I am P.V.Varadharajan, S/O.Late P.G.Viswanatha Iyer Retd. Drawing Master, West Village, Perinkulam. Our House was sold to Jaiprakash Coffee Works
    Perinkulam just opp to Dr.P.V.Mani’s House. I am now at Trichy My email is [email protected]. Pl send your emailid also so that we will be in touch with
    each other. I am inviting you to the fb also.

  20. does anybody remember Dr P N Parameswaran (Pammechu) b\o P N Ananthanarayana Iyer vakil & notary public. Pammechu9Who is my father) wants to meet his friends from perinkulam. He is 99 years old and is at present at Ernakulam. His address is 56\821, Gandhi Nagar, elamkulam. Ph. 0484 2206371, mob 094442813479496376371

    1. Madam,
      I saw your comments now and have copied and posted in the PAlakkAd Iyer group if the Facebook. I shall intimate you if I receive any comments.
      I applaud the desire of your respected Appa,to meet his old friends. My pranamams to him.

      1. Thank you for your response Mr Sivasubramanian.. we have moved back to chennai now& moreover my father passed away in 2016 November at the age of 101. Incidentally Dr P V Mani is my athai’s son.regards Seethalakshmi

  21. does anybody remember Dr P N Parameswaran (Pammechu) b\o P N Ananthanarayana Iyer vakil & notary public. Pammechu 99Who is my father) wants to meet his friends from perinkulam. He is 99 years old and is at present at Ernakulam. His address is 56\821, Gandhi Nagar, elamkulam. Ph. 0484 2206371, mob 09444281347 / 9496376371

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