'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Stuff Of Legends

Owing to various unanticipated 'hecticities', I have not been blogging much of late. Nevertheless, the last few weeks have been interesting enough with a copy of 'Aitihyamala' having been acquired. This collection (in Malayalam) of legends, myths and life-histories from Kerala has, to my knowledge, not been translated into any other Indian language. Here is a sample.

(Note: This is from the article on 'Chembra Ezhuthassanmar'; the passage below is on a 'padippura' (a usually small building constructed over the gateway to a compound) that 'Makku Ezhuthassan' a once-upon-a-time patriarch of the Chembra family had built).

- "During Makku Ezhuthassan's time, several friends of his and other local lumanaries used to frequent the padippura and they would pass time in musical sessions, games of chess and occasionally, displays of magic. Ezhuthassan had also set up a picture of Krishna in one of the rooms; and he would read the scriptures before it everyday - this practice of scripture reading is still being followed there. Over generations of devotion, the picture came to acquire the Lord's 'presence'. Indeed, it is believed that at nights, celestial beings come to pay obeisance so one stays there overnight - and it has been observed that whoever dares to do so gets physically thrown out by an unseen hand. To this day, in the quiet of the night, one often hears the sound of music and singing from within the building - a phenomenon that occurs more on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays."


  • At 11:15 PM, Blogger Achinthya said…

    Should be interesting to meet the celestial beings on this very earth without having to die and go all the way to heaven.(Considering the kind of 'eventful' life that Im leading at the moment , those doors to paradiso will never open for me. I will have to reproduce one here).
    Aithihya maala was a fav of mine also . So very rich and interesting. No, I too dont think that it has been told in any other regional language in india, but Sasi Varrier , who has written a couple of books in English, his most famous being "The Hangman's Journal", is in the act of retelling "aithihyamaala".His own version of it, ofciourse.I dont know how far it can do justice to the palates that have been conditioned to the old-age narrative of Kottarathil Sankunni

  • At 5:35 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…


    thanks. somehow aitihyamala, despite being an evergreen bestseller, is not given the critical appreciation it deserves - perhaps because it is often 'politically incorrect'. in my humble opinion, sankunni deserves a pan-india reputation at par with his famous contemporaries like upendra kishore raychaudhuri who retold the 'mahabharata' for children in bengali (this work has been published in malayalam too by 'matrubhumi'). sankunni's narrative style is much crisper and neater than that of the bong master).

    let us hope sasi varier does a competent job.

  • At 10:41 AM, Blogger Myna said…

    Your narrative or translation was not bad. But I can't recollect some of the stories these days.

    The recent one on Koppath Aatti was hilarious.


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