Open Page

Tales of Theevattipatty

Domestic cows in rural background, stock photo.  

Life is what happens when you are making other plans, throwing least-expected things at you. Something to this effect happened to me in the early 1980s.

My banker husband and I decided to shift to his place of work. But the only hitch was that the place was a small village called Theevattipatty, on the Bangalore highway, in Tamil Nadu. My heart sank to think about my life there. So with a lot of trepidation, we decided to live there. I told myself that maybe, this would turn out to be my Hampshire! If Jane Austen can spend all her life in a village, why crib about a couple of years at Theevattipatty?

Our house turned out to be pretty comfortable and spacious. My husband was saving a lot of time since he did not have to commute long distances. My toddler daughter became an instant hit with everyone in the village. I never had to ask for any help, as people were always there to help me. My neighbour Alamelu Amma would schedule her work in such a way that she can spend more time with my daughter. This dusky lady with her broad smile always seemed to be happy. I realised that she had a heart bigger than her smile. These simple people knew only to love. And they had simple rules of life.

After plucking groundnut from the fields, Alamelu would just leave a whole sack of it in my living room, hardly listening to my protests. She would say, “Kattukaranga kanakku parkka koodathu,” meaning those who had land should never calculate and count. I have never seen her jealous or talking ill of anyone. Not that they did not have their problems, but they rose above pettiness with a heart that was capable of only loving.

Milk of kindness

The day I landed at Theevattipatty, my daughter was crying for something. Another neighbour immediately went over to his farm and milked the cow and brought us fresh frothy milk. Later, I learnt that he would rush home wherever he was to deliver milk to us because he can’t have my daughter crying. These simple folks with their simple ways and golden heart stole my heart. They never trumpeted their goodness. They hardly knew they were good. They were a bunch of beautiful human beings.

I had fun too. The village had a unique theatre called Thendral(meaning zephyr), where we would watch old Tamil movies. If our daughter started getting restless, we would walk away in the middle and watch the remaining the next day!

I got to spend some quality time with my only sister when she visited me. We chatted endlessly while our daughters played near heaps of coconuts. These memories were to become precious to me for I would be losing her five years later.

Now after three decades of travelling and living in different places, Theevattipatty holds a very special place in my heart. Beautiful memories always set apart a place. That was what I got in that small village.

vijinarayan57@gmail.com

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 9:04:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/tales-of-theevattipatty/article33201752.ece

Next Story