Saturday, November 1, 2008
This is a story much like the Alex haley one - Roots. It all started a century or more ago. Around the late 1890s my grandfather left his native village and went to England ( not sure of when exactly) . He had a few brothers Muthukrishnan , Pattabhi , Swami all of whom were to leave for Rangoon or had a few of them left ??? and another younger brother Srinivasan who went on to pursue medicine. The net result was a total severance of links with his ancestoral Village - ARIVALUR. This is near Mayiladuthurai ( Mayavaram) on the Thiruvarur Road , behind the Village of Elandhangudi. Anyway Venkartaman , my grandfather , after whom I have been named, son of Agneeswara Iyer , left his Roots for Good.
For years , my father and his cousin ,the son of pattabhi made attempts to trace this Village which is often confused with the Ariyalur of Train accident fame. No one in my family had been there for over a 100 years for they did not know where it was. Post world war II the brothers from Rangoon returned and I am not sure how much they were all in touch. The people in Swami's family and pattabhi's family were in touch with us and happily still are.
Once while shooting for a serial there was a mention of native villages etc and I mentioned the name of mine , when a still Photographer said he knows it....My heart leaped and I got him to tell me exactly where it was and within the month went there.....visited my Kuladeivam Temple an Ayyanar One. It was a really great moment for me. My relatives and brother etc too later came with me and my aunt has been going there for a while.
What was uniquely satisfying was when a former colleague of mine from my days in Binny Ltd called me to tell me that his family too hailed from the same Arivalur Agraharam and that they too shared the same kuladeivam and that they were planning to have it fully refurbished and repaired.....Truly satisfying...If you happen to know of anyone who hails from these parts , let them know and ask them to get in touch.