My Life Memoirs-1
My Life, Full of Beautiful Memories
My life treated me wonderfully well. My parents raised me with love and care. They gave me all comforts of life and a good education. My three sisters and my brother showered me with lots of affection as I was their baby sister. I was encouraged to pursue my studies and learn to be independent.
I was made to feel a sense of fulfillment by my husband and my children.
Members of our extended family were very close to me. In this long journey of my life I have had many memorable experiences. I came across many good people- intellectual, cultured and kind individuals.
I had great teachers and wonderful friends who influenced my life in several ways.
I am writing this in memory of my parents, for my children and grand children. I do this purely for my personal satisfaction and it is meant for my family and for the people who are close to my heart.
My father : He was adopted at the age of 3 by my mother’s side relatives from Mulpuru. Hence he settled there and we belonged there. He had only school education. He self-taught English and he was able to carry on a moderate conversation in English. He was tall and handsome, always looked neat and dignified. He always wore shoes. His adopted parents had given him responsibilities and their wealth. We belonged to an upper middle class family. We were the only family with the surname – Venigalla’ in Mulpuru, and our family was respected by the whole village. That was because my parents lived a decent and honest life- setting a good example to the whole village.
My father was interested in classical music, especially instrumental music. He happened to learn to play Mrudangam, Even we used to listen to that kind of music from the radio along with the news. He was kind and generous and helped many needy people in the village.
He served as the Panchayat President of the village for 15 years. During his tenure he got good roads and a bus route to the village, a veterinary hospital and a primary health-center. We heard from others that he spent from his pocket too when the funds were not adequate to create amenities to the village.
My mother- She was beautiful and a quiet person- small built and very fair in complexion, gentle and soft spoken, very loving and generous. She was respected by all because of her friendly and helpful nature. She could only read Telugu.
She was a child –bride got married when she was eight years old-my father was eighteen perhaps. She gave birth to all five of us before she was 25. Being a young mother it might not have been easy for her to raise us. But she had immense patience and did a million things for us very lovingly. She never complained. Her life revolved round her husband, her children and the relatives and guests, she had to take care of and entertain. Her home was her ‘Heaven’ She loved her brothers and their families, they were a close- knit family. Hence even we got very much attached to her family as we all lived close by. She lost her parents when she was very young and lots of responsibilities rested on her shoulders.
My home, My childhood
My parents had two houses, one house I really liked because of its shining floor with black polished stones. It has two raised platforms in front where 20 children could sit and play. It’s entrance wooden door was artistic with brass knobs. But it was small for our family, so my parents moved into their second house a very big one in the same compound. We had vast play space there apart from large areas for cattle and agricultural tools and for granary.
We were the first family in the village to have built septic tank latrines and get electricity to the house. My father got all the walk ways in the compound paved with large stone slabs so that we did not have to dirty our feet walking on the wet ground in the rainy season. Our house was maintained meticulously clean and neat with annual white washing and painting.
Our cousins used to join us in all our activities. Most of the time we all used to sit together and eat food prepared and served by our mother. She used to prepare a lot of sweets and savories which we shared with our cousins and friends.
We used to play simple games of the village-hide and seek, run and catch, carroms, Pachchis played with sea-shells, we did not have to go out to play. Friends used to come to us to play, five of us and our six cousins entertained many friends.
We used to celebrate weddings of our dolls mostly made of palm leaves and dressed in colorful clothes. We even had some wooden toys and dolls.
My mother used to prepare -‘Payasam’- (sweet rice with nuts& raisins) and -‘Pulihora’- (Flavored rice with Tamarind) for the guests at these weddings, our friends and cousins, my brother used to arrange tents for weddings and some music too.
My cousin Vasumathi and myself used to indulge in all sorts of mischief, playing pranks, teasing people, mimicking people. Seshagiri was our favorite cousin, he wanted me to learn bicycleriding, but I was scared of falling down and breaking my bones, a coward I was. All of us had a wonderful life till we parted ways- for studies, for jobs and also because of marriages.
We were very fond of our elder maternal uncle, Nagabhushanam- our Peda Mamayya.
He was gentle, handsome and talented. He did things very artistically. He used to mend (sharpen) pencils very artistically with a small knife that used to hang from his key chain and, I used to break pencil lead often, just to see him sharpening it beautifully. He used to give one ‘Kaani’ (64 kaanis became a rupee) every day. Those days ‘Kaani’ could buy some treats. He used to fasten rope swings for us on festival occasions and, we used to swing joyfully. My parents loved our uncle very much and often invited him to share special foods prepared in our house.
My younger uncle Venkataramayya- China Mamayya- was the angry and aggressive type. His wife and children had to bear the brunt of his anger at times. If he found any body teasing the girls or misbehaving he used to beat the guy first and then tell him why he did so. He used to give me ‘Paavala’ (¼ of a Rupee) some times. He was a loving brother to my mother.
He used to present beautiful saris to my mother on festival occasions. He had a big boxy Gramophone and kids used to wonder who was there inside the box, singing songs. My friends used to call him Phone Mamayya (phone uncle).
Nagendramma ’Peddattayya’ (elder aunty) was a beautiful lady. She had long luxurious hair. She was very affectionate to us, and was like a sister to my mother, not a sister-in-law. She loved to enjoy life. She used to tease my mother saying that she did not know how to enjoy life, always keeping herself busy with domestic chores. Pichchamma, ‘chinna Attayya’ was not that very friendly, but my mother treated her affectionately and was always there for her when she needed help.
As a child I enjoyed all festivals celebrated with pomp and splendor. My mother used to cook large quantities of special items of food to feed our servants and their families also, there were ‘new clothes’ for us and a variety of food.
I was allowed generously to share sweets and snacks with my playmates. I am always thankful to my parents who inculcated in me that kind of warmth and generosity towards my friends. In fact my parents used to ask me to invite my friends home on special occasions and we all enjoyed eating together chatting away innocently.
A variety of vegetables were grown in our lemon grove and also in our kitchen garden:- coconuts, papaya, guava were plenty. We had a famous drumstick tree, known for it’s pulpy and tasty drumsticks. Many in the village used to come home specially to ask for drumsticks. Large quantity of vegetables were never sent to market for sale. They were distributed among friends, acquaintances and the laborers who helped to grow them.
My father took care of all our needs before we knew we needed them. Plenty of fruit-mango, grapes, chiku pineapple were procured seasonally and eating fruit was a must in our family
I passed my love of eating fruits to my children and grand children too- I think.
My father used to buy good clothes, many pairs for us and beautiful saris for my mother. His favorite color was green. Even my favorite color has been green all my life. I used to buy a lot of clothes for my children in later years because, I as a child was used to such luxury with my parents.
My parents took care of our health and hygiene. If any one of us showed symptoms of not being well, our family doctor was summoned immediately to see what was wrong with us and start treatment. Bread, milk and fruit juice were fed to us at that time, but I craved for my regular food, even when I had fever.
My father used to cut my nails regularly and clean my ears. He used to wipe my face with Glycerine, I never had pimples or acne and any blemish on the face though I never tried any modern facials or beauty tips, thanks to my father’s care.
We children were never free with our father, that’s why we were very close to our mother. Whatever we wanted to convey to our father, we did it through our mother. In fact, we had no complaints whatsoever about any aspect of our life.
Nobody told us how to behave or disciplined us. But we automatically followed the norms of the family, which was a source of joy and pride to our parents. Among cousins, Seshagiri and Nirmala used to be free with my father. Nirmala used to joke and make my father smile as he, appreciated her jovial nature.
Our house used to be a pleasant place, with relatives visiting us, prominent people coming home to meet my father. Even at this age I dream of my parents house, the happiness it gave me and I have nostalgic feelings about my life in our house. It has been a real sweet home which filled me with wonderful memories. I get emotional and eloquent whenever I think of my home.
My paternal grandfather, my uncles, my aunt, Nagamma, used to visit us quite often.
My uncle Narayana was my favorite. He stayed with us for some years He used to play with me, carrying me on his shoulders. My mother treated him as her son. He was very affectionate to all of us. My father helped his family financially. He got his sisters married. My paternal grandmother had some health problems, so she never came to us. We only went to visit her occasionally.
My mother’s cousins Bhoosemma, Suryavathi, Pichaadamma and Venkateswarlu uncles used to be our guests annually. My parents were happy to entertain them lovingly. Our house was always full of guests whom we all loved and respected. They all enjoyed their time with us.
All our servants were treated with respect and they were fed with the same good food that we ate. That was why they served us happily for many years.
Komala Venigalla, wife of Sri Inniah Narisetty is a retired Assistant Professor of English from Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad. Written on Modern Women covering various aspects of their lives in contemporary world. Traslated M.N.Roy’s Memoirs of Cat into Telugu. Contributed articles to Misimi Telugu monthly.