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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Grandiose 70th Birthday Celebrations

Original in Telugu -  Munipalle Raju

Translator - GRKMurty


It is in his association that I learnt that there lies a great power hidden in silence and in being silent. After all, isn’t it as his junior that I have grown up in legal profession? Irrespective of the nature of case, whenever arguments are in progress in the court of law, there would always be a silence of a minute or two in that uninterrupted flow of his speech—a silence that was more like a quick slide into a tomb of meditation. The words that roll out after that silence sound like pure recitations from a great preacher; appear like the reflections in words of a great poet’s internal turmoil and in turn they create a profound atmosphere in the court hall is what I often experienced.  

He didn’t agree at all to my appeal. It’s after a long silence that he said: “celebration of 60th year of birthday for one who has lived like a menial beast; silver jubilee function for merely eking out as a practicing lawyer for 25 years – I don’t believe in these functions. Moreover, I consider it as petty arrogance, for these are to be offered as lamps before gods to exceptionally great men by ordinary mortals like us. There is a prayer, the last stanza of which states: ‘Kalaayathasminamaha’, which means: Salutations to that time because of which all petty luxuries have vanquished from the memory. It is to that we must remain grateful; not to the pettiness of these celebrations.”
 
Silence…again. As I was getting up to finally salute and take leave of him, breaking the silence, he restrained me. “Sit down Murty! Won’t you like to listen about those great men about whom I have just mentioned?” 

“Do love to listen, Sir! Got up simply not to vex you any longer.”

“Listen then. I will tell you an incident associated with a saptati celebration.”

I sat down in deference to Goureepathi garu’s saying that sounded as though coming out majestically straight from the pages of the history of yore. How does it matter, whether it is midnight or even late night … to listen to … when the goddess of silence waking from meditative-sleep opens her frozen lips to utter sacred chanting; the music of the flipping wings of a swan that rose from the Manasasarovaram to fly to the peak of the Mount Kailash? Cool breeze is blowing from outside.

“It’s OK! You may light your cigarette.”

“Me? In your presence?”

“Yes, in my presence. For, we are in the Kaliyug[1]; this story might sound to you as though of Dwaparayug[2]. That’s why!”

* * *  *

It’s after 30 years that I went to my village again. By then, you might have grown up and might have started your own practice as a lawyer in your district. It was a journey that was earlier deferred umpteen times because of one or the other obstacle coming in the way. Well, blaming an ‘obstacle’ too might as well be a kind of escapism. We are failing to realize what we are missing by virtue of our getting entangled in the web of city-life! 

“Except for the trusteeship of the Chennakesavaswamy temple – which again is an aside, it’s almost half-a-century since you lost the relationship with your village; if you sell off that spacious house to someone or the other, it will draw curtains,” says my relatives. They also question me, “how does that petty income from the mango orchard around the house matters vis-à-vis the quantum of spending you entertain?”  I think you too posed a similar question to me in the past, but I don’t remember what answer I gave you. But it’s only an ungrateful person who could say, “Relieved from the bondage of his native place.” For, even the cattle that have lost their way will somehow trace back their feed alley and return to that very cattle shed. People may wonder how is that I am thinking so sentimentally, but that’s what the reply I used to give.  

The childhood pleasures, tombs of the parents, streams, tanks, temples and temple towers, friends of that age; over it, my village manifests as an un-definable ‘bliss’ that is beyond this world and its materialism; as a music of an old raga; as a tender touch of mother; as the sound of a conch blowing the very values of the life, in my sweet dreams. Our house is a reflection of our ancestor’s treasure trove of spirituality and religiosity. Who knows, when someone from my progeny feels like running away from the insecurity of inhuman civilization – won’t that house invite him?

Incidentally, the real wonder is: the beginning, motive, and the determination for the journey was a dream—a mere stir of a dream!

Desiring to hold a literary festival in the month of May, for courts will have holidays, a few lovers of literature have assembled a coordination committee at our house. We were the hosts. But, like any other movements of Andhra, it also turned out to be a child that faced a prenatal death. Suffice to secure the mike, then starts the great speeches. For the first time I have personally seen in those people who are freely airing morals and ideals, manifestation of rot. It’s not ordinary rot—rot of cast, rot of regional feeling, rot of sects and sub-sects, mutual acrimony and abuses—it’s amidst such cacophony that the committee was dissolved in a matter of minutes.   

That night a dream haunted me like a long-drawn mental whirling, that too, in the early hours of dawn. It was about the dwajasthambham[3] of Chennakesavaswamy’s temple of my village coming out in search of me. What’s this unusual feat? Who attempted—the unholy deed against Chennakesavaswamy? Why is He, the god who has been hailed in the stories relating to the place, in the epigraphs of the Chalukya kings and in the poetry of muses as the varaprasadee[4], sending this message? Though twice demolished in the attacks of Muslim kings, hasn’t He come up again in the glory resplendent of his past? Did Anjaneya, who later emerged as the Kshetrapalakudu[5], forget his duty? Encircling anxieties like the dark clouds; confusion; a vague hidden threat—the whole tumult made the heart like a ravaged forest. It’s not a routine dream. “Why subjecting yourself to such a trauma? Why not go once? Even children are fancying to sea the paddy plants”, said my wife. The culture of children is, of course, that of the convent education. They haven’t seen my village till date. My wife had, of course, seen it after our marriage, on the very day of house-warming ceremony. She has however no acquaintance with Chennakesavaswamy.

The car that was in repair returned from the garage. The journey has to commence in the night, but alone. That afternoon, two letters came by the post. They indeed gave a meaning to the messages of my bad dream. 

                                                                       *  *  *  *

The letter from Sitaram, whom we all address as annayya[6] garu[7], though short in extent, makes all the complex affairs of the world quite clear. Despite there being no concern of the man, sheer external forces inflict so many problems on him which are indeed beyond my comprehension, even as a lawyer! That letter has, however, opened my eyes. 

“As you know, in those days our forefathers had donated hundred acres of dry land farm to the temple for taking care of the temple rituals. That epigraph is still there on the eastern side wall. With the completion of Padmapuram project, that land has recently become an irrigated farm. Although a little of the land in agraharam[8] has got alienated, the archakas[9] could still meet their living expenses from the rest. Now that it has become an irrigated land, the government officials have become envious of it. They have served notices asking us, the hereditary joint-trustees, to hand over the lands to the endowments department. You must have also received it. No point in reminiscing about our old glory. Such was their greatness, our ancestors could by throwing open their grain silos in famine days take care of poor people; they never plucked even a single flower from the gardens that they have donated to the temple; they replaced the ornaments looted by the Muslim invaders and Pindaris[10]; rebuilt the temple tower, repaired the compound walls of the temple and got the brass-coating done to the dwajasthambham, all to create employment to the poor – who would remember them today? What they now need is the landed properties of the temple. The old acharya[11], who was a staunch follower of the tradition, had been bed-ridden; I am given to understand that his son, who got ruined by bad associations, had even forged my signature. As the bad politics are advancing to rule the roost, government’s intervention might be alright. But there is one worry, of course, only one. When your father and I were the inmates of Salem jail, eating pudding as “C” class prisoners, we haven’t demanded “A” class facilities that our status permitted. Whereas the special officer of the temple wants to have your “Kanvasa Bhavanam[12]”. It seems the spacious rooms in the temple premises are not suitable-enough. Some of those golden vessels that our forefathers have got made and ornaments meant for temple are securely stored in a bhoshanam[13] in the Kanvasa Bhavanam. Like a cobra safeguarding the treasure trove, Venkataswamy, the loyal protector of your family’s interests, doesn’t show them to anybody, whatever the pressure might be. If not for this, you haven’t come this side though decades have since elapsed. So, I look forward to your arrival.”

The second letter is the notice from the endowments department. Immediately, suitable messages were wired. 

*  * * *

This journey—almost 400 miles, had it been in a different context, what a fun it would have been. It’s only the speed of my car that’s the impetus behind my travel. Crossing the city boundaries, felt as though stepped into a world of peace, but how to enjoy the beauty of villages in the dark night? Yet, crossing the railway gates while driving on the parallel roads to the canal bunds, and on reaching the Krishna barrage, the hymns on rivers from Vedas; and while crossing the lush green trees, the hymns of peace that are addressed to the medicinal herbs chanted by the seers of yore have all appeared to be journeying from a distant valley.  

As we entered the village boundary, the North Star that accompanied us till then as a good omen started fading. A little away, there the Sanjeevarayadi tank with its mighty bunds; as we took the next turn there the shed of chariot of Chennakesavaswamy that comes out on auspicious days; there the dwajasthamba that stood tall with its top held erect over the temple compound walls! It is this dwajasthambha that is the cause for this journey. At the very next turn is the ‘Kanvasa Bhavanam’. Appears to have been white washed recently. That’s a divine manifestation. 

My telegram reached well in time. Without even a mild horn at the gate, Venkataswamy was right there. Hot water was ready. Took bath upstairs itself. Steaming coffee from Somayajula garu, the teacher staying on the ground floor since long. Slept over like a log. Contemplated to visit the temple in the twilight hours. Thought I could later talk to Sitaram annayya leisurely.

Getting up from bed and as I was brushing teeth, Venkataswamy’s message – old acquaintances from the village have come to see me. As I was stepping down, like the insulted goddess of sorrow, grasping for breath, Brundavanacharyulu garu was climbing up. An impoverished body, of course, with the usual markings on the forehead and pullihora vessel in the hand. Holding his hand as I carefully assisted, he could come up. 

“So, my son, you have come. Trethayugam[14] was over. Dwaparayugam had slided. Now it is the land of Kali. I know three generations of your clan. My life has been blessed. Whenever Chennakesavaswamy sends a word, I shall instantaneously commence my journey to god’s abode. But I have a submission to make. My only son has taken to wrong path. He has become amoral. He is a sinner who even attempted to steal the idols of procession. Pardon him. I pray nothing more.”

Reciting my gotra[15] and names of my family members in the twilight’s worship, priests have completed astothara sathanamavali[16]. They had also blessed me. Presenting silk robes to the deities, I went out to see the village. As I started, coming under the tower of the temple, I involuntarily murmured to myself, “Hey! Chennakesava, in the book of time, the first signature was done by the fate. And now, not much time is left for the second signature! ‘Yes’, this might be the last worship!” 

Spreading further, the village, besides becoming confusing, acquired the so-called beauties of a town. Guided by the old acquaintance, turned towards Sitaram garu house. Where is that sprawling building? Searched all around as memory guided. As a remnant of past glory, there appeared a tent cinema hall. Somebody was uttering, “Isn’t he staying in the hamlet of yanadis outside the village?” There, in front of tent hall, amidst the cacophony of drums, the duet songs from old films were blaring. Some youngster crossed Venkataswamy, who came in search of me. “Son of the priest, Sir.”  

*  *  *  *

As I reached home, a whiff of fine fragrance greeted me right on the steps. There, Sitaram annayya in front of the lamp turning the pages of English novels that I had bought—in front of him, on the teapoy there were fully ripened sapotas[17]. Forgotten story-teller? Struck me as the sad moon casting moonlight in an isolated valley of Himalayas. Appearing as a meditating soul, offering early morning prayers on the unknown banks of a river, reciting Adithya hymns. In visualization of that scene, the irritation of tent cinema house quietly disappeared. The ponduru khadi[18] shirt; the ironed dhovathi[19]; the stiff golden-hued body that didn’t let you decipher whether he was old or young, eyes laden with tiredness, yet he didn’t appear to me as an old man. His was an imposing personality. When he was in his youth, any lady, coming under the pull of the magnetic waves of his beauty, I used to wonder, might have been enamored of him. 

Restraining me, as I was prostrating at his feet, and lifting my shoulders, he hugged me, saying, “Remembering your liking that you revealed sometime back, Kalyani sent these sapotas,” and smiled with his eyes.

“Kalyani?”

“Secretary of the Yanadi Seva Samithi—the child, me and Chandrika reared.” 
Chandrika!

* * * *

Sitaram garu is not from our village. He came on adoption to his pethalli’s[20] house. Affluent people, in fact, the richest family in the whole of our area. Theirs was the grand culture that is known for facilitating poets and pundits, and celebrating Dasara festival for nine days on a grand scale. His adopted father was a great poet. All their riches were turned naught with the kind of donations they rendered and their participation in the activities associated with the struggle for Independence. During his college days itself, Sitaram garu had association with extremism. Many stories—people used to murmur about his steadfast desire to replicate the revolutionary movement witnessed in Bengal in Andhra. There was also a rumor that roaming in Bengal for almost a year as an incognito learned making of bombs. Once in every week police patrol to spy on him. His father had an ambition of making him a barrister. But Sitaram garu hadn’t gone to London. But he went to Dublin, the capital of Ireland, that was then under the rule of Develara, for he was the enemy of British. But for some unknown reason, he returned from Dublin within a year. If rumors were to be believed, there he loved an Irish woman, who while swimming in the sea died, and thus returned with a shattered heart. Nobody knows what the truth is. Later he worked for a year or two as a lecturer in the National College. In the meanwhile, Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement began. Along with my father, he was in the Salem jail for almost three years undergoing harsh imprisonment. Heard father saying that the jail life had totally transformed him. Having practiced meditation and many other yogic postures, he came out of the jail as a lean, sturdy man with a glowing skin, which was a miracle. He used to recite the verses from the Bhagawad Gita fluently.

By then his father and mother had expired. Spent some years in settling the family affairs. There however remained practically nothing to settle. He had unpleasant moments with some selfish landlords. Suddenly he left for Vinoba Bhave’s hermitage, perhaps in search of peace. It was also heard that he actively participated in the movement of Bhave for reforming the bandits of Chambal valley. Also talked of his performing daredevilry. Importantly, people used to talk about his following the bandits who hijacked a marriage bus into the forest that was almost hundred miles away from Gwalior and saving the ladies along with their jewelry, without causing harm to anybody. It was also said he brought with him some of these bandits and made them renounce their arms in the presence of Vinoba Bhave. He had excellent oratory skills in Hindi. Well, it need not be said explicitly about his Sanskrit. A man who can learn in one attempt. It is perhaps with the inspiration from Vinoba Bhave, he dedicated himself to serve one of the oldest tribes, yanadis, who are aplenty in and around our village. By then, all that he had been left with was: two acres of wet land. Of course, for namesake he was also the trustee of the temple. He has however remained as an ideal man who practiced his ancestors’ tradition. 

He assembled the yanadis who were leading their lives as the rejected lot, for no one wanted to have any association with them, if not socially ostracized. He reformed even those who were habituated to petty stealing. He injected in them a sense of self-respect. As a Gandhian, he trained them in village industries—particularly apiculture, weaving baskets and selling them, cultivation of vegetables, etc. Starting a residential school for yanadi boys and girls, he lighted many lamps. Yet, he appeared as a person stuck with an unsatiated desire, as a perpetual-doubter, as a faithful devotee, searching for an excellent path, as the flow of the river that is running not knowing the direction to the ocean. As an ultimate act, he took up renascence of yanadi’s Yakshagana Bhagavatham[21]. As a reminiscence of past, he made them practice the play, Usha Parinaya Yakshagana. The plays, Nala Charithra and Prabhavathi Pradyumnam, that are known as the traditional plays of yanadis, were revived. How he struggled to exhibit these plays during the Dasara festival! I am of course not fully aware of those details. For the first time then a rare, beautiful yanadi lass appeared on the Yakshagana stage of our village as Usha kanya, the daughter of Banasura. That was Chandrika! The beauty of blue-hued Drupada raja’s daughter. 

Every movement of hers was that of the beauty of a noble birth; in every song of hers she appeared like a celestial lass giving shape to a song to the eternal urges of her life. I still remember some of the gamakas[22] in those songs. It is only after seeing Chandrika I realized that for rare beauty, brown skin is not an obstacle at all. I was then a lad. Had been listening to the whisperings of the lusty sons of the landlords. I don’t know why I wondered if these innocent, unarmed yanadis could ever secure their Chandrika from the threat of these Dussasanas, but when I came home after six months from law college for holidays, I heard a terrible incident—a bad man had raped her and three days after that his dead body was floating in the Sanjivarayidi tank. That night many relatives were in our house for attending the first death anniversary function of my father. In the middle of night, Sitaram came hurriedly—saying “hide this carefully in your room”, giving a small bag he went out hurriedly. It was said that there were no injuries on the body of the deceased. 

But internally profuse bleeding was said to have occurred. After all my relatives had left my home, the next day, I opened Sitaram garu’s bag. I saw a pistol wrapped in a white cloth. “Made in Republic of Ire”! By then police had come and gone too. No whispers were heard in the village. On the night of my returning to the college, Sitaram took away that bag. Next year when Venkataswamy coming to the town gave me the news—Sitaram garu married Chandrika at an auspicious moment that was decided according to the traditions of yanadis by the total fading of the shade of wooden post planted in the earth at the middle of the day—I was not surprised. 

Just as the running of the cinema reels, as these scenes, incidents moved in my mind, the sayings of Sitaram garu could not get registered in me. In the meanwhile, Somayajulu garu sent dinner upstairs. Me and annayya had our food. By then the priest had sent the message: the officials of the endowment department will be here day after tomorrow.

* * * *

On the dotted day, at 10 a.m., the deputy commissioner, would-be assistant commissioner, a head peon, and a peon got down from the jeep. Deputy commissioner, puffing out smoke from a Spenser cigar. I was shocked. Are these the officers? Is this the government? Are these the people, whose eyes reflect no knowledge whatsoever, who are going to take over the ancient monument, the temple! Neither historical perspective nor humility appears in that reddened eyes! They are not the angels of gods. Little men, meant for mere counting of commissions. Devils. 

The karanam[23] and Rangaiah Gupta, the man who for all these years maintained the income and expenses account of the lands and carried out the god’s work without anticipating any benefit, came up with Sitaram garu. Karanam had shown the records and the survey maps pertaining to the god’s landed property to the officers. Rangaiah Gupta put before them the ledgers. They didn’t have the patience to examine the accounts that are perfect up to the last pie. 

“How about this building?” said the commissioner and his assistant staring at me.

“You won’t get this building under any circumstances. Don’t build up your greed. I am a lawyer. I know the omissions and commissions in your notice. The temple yard is quite spacious—you have so much that you can aspire. Your offices can run from there without any hitch. 

He, staring with protruding eyes, whatever might have felt, saying, “Think it over again. There is no hurry. We shall come tomorrow after visiting the lands. Keep ready the list of movables, ornaments, the vehicles and other items. We shall finish off quickly”, they stood up. Sitaram garu didn’t say anything. After taking whatever little hospitality that Venkataswamy could arrange, the team had gone away.

The list of ornaments was prepared that night with the help of Somayajulu garu. I hadn’t seen the gold ornaments and the vessels that were stored in the wooden box kept in our room that keenly in the past. The names of my mother’s parents were engraved on the vessels. Sitaram garu too looking at them with a surprise, closed his eyes in reverence. Crowns, hand ornaments, ear studs, vessels, etc. all put together came to 200. 

Workers in the temple, palanquin-bearers, light-bearers, daily priests, Govardhanacharyulu are all waiting on the ground floor. Assuaging their apprehensions by saying a few encouraging words to them, as I came up—Venkataswamy, who was setting the ornaments alright in the box, said anxiously, “one golden vessel is not traceable, only four are there.” We searched again. Not found. Chennakesava, what is this materialistic-religious crisis at this stage!

That night I could not relish food. Whose handiwork is this theft? I have reviewed the whole scene. Somayajulu garu didn’t touch even one item. Sitting in front of the table, far away from us, he went on listing the items as we said. It will be a sin to doubt Venkataswamy. Somayajulu garu went away right in front of us. Remained till the end are me and Sitaram garu. He was the last man to leave. He had a bag too in the hand. Mind is running in different ways. In these last days—in his impoverished state, did he resort to this deed? Will that state be wiped out with this one vessel? Who knows, poverty can stoop to any extent. What answer to be given in front of Acharyulu garu tomorrow? What a sad picture we will cut before those officers who have no sense of propriety? It’s not a big deal for me to get a similar vessel made. But what a great disregard to the deceased maternal grandmother! There in the disturbed sleep, a dream scene. Sitaram annayya, whom I have perceived as the man who imbibed the secrets of the Gita… stealing the golden vessel and discreetly putting in his bag… Chi! Chi! It’s my weakness to have so much faith in the humanity… How to show face tomorrow? Chi! He was responsible for the murder that I doubted. Wouldn’t a man who killed another be capable of doing a petty stealing? 

*  *  *  *

As anticipated, Sitaram garu did not come the next day. Endowment Department people too didn’t turn up. The day passed off with unrest, petty doubts and humiliation. Acharyulu garu did send food. But could not touch it even. 

As the darkness was slowly spreading, a yanadi boy came to deliver Sitaram garu’s letter. “Come down to our hermitage. Today is Chandrika’s saptati celebration.” Chi! How to go? To speak what? Yet I started with that boy. Haven’t told even Venkataswamy.

Yanadi hermitage was located outside the village solitarily, but well within a mile from the village. Light of the stars was slightly visible on the leaves of the coconut trees located in the yard. The surroundings were more like the abode of goddess of poverty. Nothing else was visible. Pushing aside the gate, the yanadi boy directed me to go inside. Eyes were getting adjusted to the feeble light coming from the lantern. But some smell of a rotten fruit was terribly irritating nostrils. Noticing me, they pushed the lantern a little forward. Suddenly my feet came to a halt. That was a dreadful scene.  

 There, on an old cot, was Chandrika. She, lion-like she, once had a moon-like face. Now bitten by the dreadful leprosy, she had lost half of her nose too. (Even the nose was reduced to half by the dreadful leprosy.) She was singing something in a hoarse voice. Sitting on a stool by her side, Sitaram garu was feeding her payasam[24]. That vessel – it was the same golden vessel that was found missing. 

Pulling up all her energies, she made an attempt to greet me with folded hands. There were no fingers on those hands. And an interminable stink. 

“Come, sit down. Today is her saptati. Desired to eat prasadam from a god’s vessel. All along she lighted my life with a golden torch. A while ago, she said that her life has been blessed,” said Sitaram. 

Tucked myself on another stool.

I felt the sound of flipping wings of the vultures hovering over the terminal stage of an unblemished love story. Silence was so intense that even the sound of blinking eyelids was audible. Giving up hunting for insects, the lizard on the bamboo-partition stayed still. The alarm-clock on the table stopped functioning. The dog in the yard that was reared by Chandrika stopped her melancholic barking. The coconut leaves didn’t appear to be swaying. Kalyani lighted incense sticks. Slowly, the foul smell was weakening. Kalyani was taking away the vessel from her father. He has spread the sheet on Chandrika’s erstwhile wide eyes. I lost the sense of the differentiating line between death and life. 

At that divine minute, when a man became ‘silence’, a great Yogi, a sacred person, a Messiah, I greeted Sitaram garu once again by prostrating at his feet.  

Next day, as the body of Chandrika was buried in the open yard of the Kanyasa palace, officers of the Endowments Department came in. I told them: “I am donating this building, the land around the building and the orchards to the Yanadi Seva Samithi. These three will be its trustees.” That very day, along with the fifth vessel, I handed over all the ornaments to them. 
 *  *  *  *



[1] Kaliyug—according to the scriptures of Hinduism, it is the fourth stage of the world development that we are currently in.
[2] Dwaparayug—is the third stage of the four ages, described in the scriptures of Hinduism.
[3] Dwajasthambham—flagpole in front of the temple.
[4] Varaprasadee—the bestower of boons.
[5] Kshetrapalakudu—care-taking god of the temple yard.
[6] Annayya—big brother.
[7] Garu—the social art of expressing respect by using plural to address a person or appending the suffix ‘garu’ to a name and so on.
[8] Agraharam—name given to the Brahmin quarter of a heterogenous village or to any village inhabited by Brahmins.
[9] Archakas—Hindu temple priests.
[10] Pindari—historically, an irregular horseman, plunderer, or forager attached to a Muslim army in India who was allowed to plunder in lieu of pay.
[11] Acharya—highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men.
[12] Kanvasa Bhavanam—name of the building.
[13] Bhoshanam—wooden locker.
[14] Trethayugam—is the third stage of the four ages, described in the scriptures of Hinduism.
[15] Gotra—In Hindu society, the term Gotra broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor.
[16] Astothara sathanamavali—literally means reciting eight names after chanting the hundred names of the god/s
[17] Sapotas—a fruit commonly known as sapodilla (botanical name: Manilkara zapota)
[18] Ponduru khadi—“Andhra Fine Khadi”, popularly known as “Ponduru Khadi” is a prominent name in Andhra Pradesh as well as all over India. This is because this variety of khadi is produced from Ponduru, a village in Srikakulam District in north coastal Andhra Pradesh.
[19] Dhovathi—traditional garment worn by men.
[20] Pethalli—mother’s elder sister.
[21] Yakshagana Bhagavatham—a musical theater in which incidents from the Bhagavatham were performed for the common man in villages.
[22] Gamakas—refers to ornamentation that is used in the performance of Indian classical music.
[23] Karanam—village revenue record keeper.
[24] Payasam—a traditional sweet dish.

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