This post is in loving memory of my late paternal grand mother.Her name was KunhuMadhavi because her mother too was Madhavi hence,Kunhu was added in the name [in Malayalam Kunhu means little].She was born to Mr.Ayyappan Mangalath,Her mother was from Mallerendi Tharavadu, the youngest of several sisters [and one brother named Balakrishnan,after whom I was named] an adhikari in Malabar area and one of the most noble personalities one could ever encounter,though he had vast land holdings of thousands of Hectors,he left all that along with his official status of the Name 'ADHIKARI' which means the most "powerful" and went out to work for the Government as a DEO [District Educational Officer] for almost the whole of Malabar area then under the British during late Nineteenth century.
My Grandmother got married to Mr.Perachan Mechakkat,who was an accountant in M/S Harrison Cross- fields,a cement manufacturing company owned by the British, he too belonged to another land lord family in present day Calicut ,Kerala.The tragedy which was the turning point in my grandmothers' life happened while she was hardly in her late teens and had just given birth to their only child, my father who was named Dharmapalan.Mechakkat.When he turned one year old, my grand mother became sick with fever [Flue] and my Grand father took leave to nurse her back to health.Though he manged to bring her back to life from the jaws of death,greater tragedy happened as he too got infected and later died of the same flue.But the British Company paid her family pension till such time when my father joined Madras PWD as an engineer.
I suppose there were hardly any antibiotics those days, Arya vydya treatment mostly took care of many ailments effectively,but at times the unfortunate may give in to the vicious plans of the lord. But fortunately on the other side the joint family system was intact and four brothers of my grand father were all living in Tharavad,named Mechakkatt,which is presently in the location near Karaparambu [Karuvussery to be exact] in Calicut town.The youngest of the brothers Mr.Achuthan was a teacher in nearby school and took good care of my father and all the family members,which included so many cousins of which some are alive even today.
Coming back to my grand mother ,she was a lady of many virtues and studied in European convent in Calicut ,which had British women too, as her class mates, but I was told that she used to score better marks in English than her counterparts which included English women themselves. All along her life she did so many social works from tailoring to marriage matching for so many couples ,who all still remember her for her tireless efforts without expecting anything in return for whatever donations or money she may spend for such good karmas.The names she gave her son as Dharmapalan [Meaning the one who will guard the righteous Dharma] ,my eldest brother as Sathyapal [The one who will guard truth,Sathya] , second eldest as Jinachandran, an alumni of BHU,[Benaras Hindu University and IIT Mumbai [Indian Institute of technology]After the Jain saint Mahaveera , as he was born on such an auspicious day as the Jain saint,was very apt,as it has been turned to be exactly true to the names. Jains in India are the most successful business community called Vysya and correctly my brother too turned all his endeavors to gold [Much to the happiness of his employers' till date and hardly ever took credit for any such success] My elder Sister I was told was named by my father as Rita then myself as Balakrishnan, in remembrance of my granny's only brother,[Mentioned above],who too had same traits as me in music,chess etc.My youngest sister was named Geetha after Srikrishnas' preachings in our epic named MahaBaratha in which Bagvad Geetha includes all prevailing truth, and human duties are described in layman's language and is the only great guideline for a righteous living for all human beings born on earth till his death.
She was greatly impressed by Buddha teachings as well and taught us the Ahimsa [Never Harm any living being even by words] and the five principles namely,never cheat or steal,never kill or harm,never fall prey to sexual desires,never lie even if it means certain death,never indulge in alcohol or drugs.How far I have stuck to these above Panchseelas as known in Buddhism,is debatable and frankly I may be termed a sinner.
But knowing my granny well, I know she will forgive me. I know she is watching all our action from the heavens above with all our ancestors, I say this with authority because, I know that she lived her life just as she preached how to live..Those who know her will not only agree with me but will even today salute her for a well lived life, making huge difference to the people she came across in several walks of life.She lived to see one thousand full moons [It takes 84 years of life for that] and departed without a tear in her eye and died in Mankara in 1994 and fittingly was cremated by us [by chance alone] at the most sacred place in Kerala near the river Bharatha[Nila] at Thiruvillwamala [where the famous Sriram temple exist] The place is known as Eivar Madam ,after the Pandavas did the shradh ceremony there, because all other places where ever they did the ceremony was not fruitful and ultimately came to the place mentioned above and did the kriya,and the departed souls were satisfied only after that..
This incident in Mahabharatha happened after the great KURUKSHETRA WAR in which Kauravas were all killed and Pandavas regained their kingdom,which was grabbed away by their cousins through cheating while gambling.