Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Brass & Bronze Days...

When my mom gave away all her bronze and brass utensils that were adorned with traditional state-of-art craftsmanship and had endowed our generation till-date with a consummate feel-of-belonging to the rich and popular dynasty that roots back to the most renowned “Appaji” of the Krishna Deva Raya’s era, I was mostly unfeeling and insensitive to these things that were getting out of our generation, which had been for so long (that no one can easily track-back) dwelling with us, constantly reminding us of our ancestral origin and also making us get accustomed to clean these heavy utensils every week with a sparkling “pink and yellow” to pass the spick and span test conducted by the elderly lady(s) of the family. This would usually be mothers or the in-laws.

When I was young, it used to be fun on every Thursday evening as mom would be busy cleaning all these utensils and would pay less attention to me and my brother, the kids.
She used to slog herself or with the maid to give the best shot to get these vessels to glittering brightness.

During those days, after playing for a longtime with my street friends and enjoying the bonus hours of a Thursday evening when I went to our backyard for freshening-up, I used to see the array of these bronze and brass utensils cleaned to perfection, shining to glare my eyes at twilight, arranged neatly one after the other size-wise kept upside down to dry out the wetness. I vividly remember cursing those vessels to have remained more dirty so that it took more time for my mom to invigilate the cleaning process or do it herself, which would in-turn give me more time at play!

Every festivity was an opportunity that awaited the finest exhibit of these vessels to the best of their utilization with the beholding contents of food cooked deliciously and offered to god before human consumption. This caught the attention of the neighborhood families in the street easily and middle-aged women who were daughters-in-law of joint families or mothers of 2-3 kids like my mom used to stream in to our home to calculate the worth of the bronze/brass utensils and their beauty and take-in the picture-perfect glow of these vessels with a shade of jealousy, that usually ended up in muttering “Why use all these vessels when there’s glass and stainless steel that the world is reaching out for!?” … mind you this was nearly 20 years ago!

An indignant grandmother of mine, used to retort with skilled tyranny “if you cannot stretch yourself to manage precious little possessions such as these, don’t you dare discourage my daughter-in-law who does it with whole-heartedness!”

That saved my mom’s time for one thing that those ladies always kept quiet for the rest of the times they visited my home for the Navrathri Doll Festival or Varalakshmi Vratham days!

Navarathri days used to be utmost fun with the dolls of plaster of paris, ceramic, good-old-mud and wooden dolls artistically dressed in glad rags and trinkets festooned with glitter papers and other eye-catching substances to enhance the beauty of these hand-worked dolls echeloned in a vast gallery with mounds of cereals and grains arranged in front of them in those cute-looking miniature cups and bowls made of brass and bronze, what an ecstasy and a delight to the eyes those were……

From the place of birth, we had been traveling although not too much to keep the things we possessed very light, but at least to an extent that we had to forcefully dispose off the stuff that weren’t of any use to my mom with her graying her and menopause knee-pains reminding her of her aging process, she finally had to brace herself for this decision of giving away all that she had been possessing for more than 35 years now.

All that glittered and glowed in our home when I was a kid, taking advantage of all of those to play, to boast, to fool-around….. is all gone now!

Nothing that’s bronze or brass except for a small lamp and a tumbler are left of the huge range of collectives and possessions that were passed on to the later generations from long, long ago by my great, great grandfathers!

“Sorry, Ma… I couldn’t even give a proper valedictory speech to honor our buddies when they left us”…I thought when my mom asked me to clean the lamp and the tumbler placing a small knoll of tamarind, for the month of Shravan is round the corner.


TLW said...

nostalgia? Or are you glad that you wont have to do the cleaning bit yourelf ? ;-) !!!

wateva..I dont think the next generation would get to see life as we have seen it...and so says every generation :-)

Krish Ashok said...

Hmm..Navarathri golus. Reminds me of the time when we used to try and install GI Joe action figures toting guns at the Chettiyaar and Chettichi figurines. For some reason, they used to keep disappearing before guests arrived though :)

Saloni Ramachandiran said...

@ TLW: You can say it's a mix of both, but definitely nostalgia contributing to the major proportion of it!
Definitely the next generation can never get to see those "Thirudina Mangas" or "Sutta Goyya Pazhams" as we have !!

@Krish Ashok: Ha Ha! no surprises there! Many a times, The kids that visited our Golu used to empty the bowls of sugar and chocolates kept in front of Mr & Mrs Chettiyar and also take away the small animals from our "Raagi & Kadugu Park"
:-) :-)

Best was when one kutti-ponnu took away the majestic looking Raja Bommai and claimed that she's the Rani and so she wouldn't part with it! We tried everything from Gulab Jamun to then hot-in-town 5 Star Chocolate... All in vain..And To our shock, The next day our Raja was brutally murdered, as the Rani threw him away realizing that he cannot speak a word to her!

"Raaja Rani-oda pesalaya, adhanala ranikku kovam vandhudthu rani raja-voda doooo..." she said in her cute babyish voice extending her upright thumb with spouted lips!