As I said earlier my Bobbe ajji was a very resourceful lady. If you remember, I had thought that Bobbe ajji lived away from us when we lived in the kottage room. Now I recall what my mother told about her. It seemed that she had always been living with us. Before coming to Harady, appa, amma, Bobbe ajji and I lived in a small house in a place called Dayyaramule near Adyanadka.
My father was a teacher at that time in a nearby school. We had cows in our home, and Bobbe ajji would sell milk to a hotel in Adyanadka. The owner made it a habit of never paying her on time. So, one day ajji marched to the hotel and brought back an attinalage (idli making vessel) from there. She said she would return it when the owner paid the money. Obviously he did not do so, because I used the vessel for many years. Now my daughter has it. Just imagine, this incident took place before 1944. The owner of the hotel must have been using it for some time at least.
In 1944 we came to Harady in Puttur, and in 1947 we shifted to our own house. Bobbe ajji loved going to Mahalingeshwara temple especially in April when Puttur jaatre was held. This festival was and is very popular. In 1949, during the time of the jaatre, one night, she was returning home from the temple. There were no street lights and she fell into ditch. I don’t know how she came home, but after that she did not rise from her bed. She passed away after a few months.
My maternal grandparents’ house, Panjigudde, was a few miles away from our home. My ajja had passed away when my ajji was in her early twenties. She had two children, my mother and her elder brother. My grandmother’s brothers looked after the family. My ajji, maternal uncle, Ishwara Bhat, and his family lived in Panjigudde. My uncle had a handloom and used to make saris and bedsheets too. In those days people did not have enough money to buy many clothes. The saris which he wove were durable. So,they were in great demand.
During summer vacations my sister Jaya and I used to walk to our grandmother’s place. On our way we used to eat wild berries like kuntala hannu, kepala hannu. We loved walking. It was great fun and never felt tired. During those hot months there was very little water in the well there. We used to go to a nearby stream and a pool to wash our clothes and vessels. I remember there was another pool from which water was used for bathing. The well water was used for drinking and cooking alone. My grandmother had very poor eyesight, and we used to accompany her to two of her friends’ houses. The three ladies enjoyed talking to each other. I also remember that some ladies would come to see ajji and tell her about their troubles. She would to talk to them kindly. We were too young to understand what was being discussed. I think sometimes I used to stay there alone too, because I remember my uncle bringing me back home on his bicycle. My ajji was bedridden for a while before passing away sometime in the 1970s. Now it has been a long time since I have gone to Panjigudde.
I also remember going to two of my father cousins’ houses during summer vacations. Both were older than my father. We first went to Mudambail. Mudambail atte’s children were also there. I remember having great fun playing hide and seek and other games. I remember particularly that a cousin brother played often with us. The aunts scolded us for playing with boys. Early every morning we used to go to the garden to pick wild mangoes. From Mudambail we went to Marikini atte’s house. My father’s younger sister lived in Adyanadka. We would visit her before returning our home at the end of the vacation.
To be continued
Kottage – a room or some rooms adjacent to the main house
Harady – a place in the town, Puttur ( in those days it was a small village)
Appa- father, Amma- mother, Ajji – grandmother
Dayyaramule, Adyanadka, Mudambail – names of villages
Mahalingeshwara – Lord Shiva
Jaatre – Temple festival or a fair
Kuntala and Kepala- names of wild berries, Hannu- fruit