Martalli village, Kollegal Taluk, Chamrajnagar district, Karnataka state
We had the real feel of what a ‘village’ is all about.
Yes. We finally visited Martalli, after travelling for over 3 hours by bus on a road that metaphorically (and literally) resembled Om Puri’s cheeks. Add to that the fact that I was sitting in the back seat of the bus. That’s like a bonus for those who want to jump their way to their destination. Quite literally so.
On our way, I befriended a few fellow passengers in the bus, exchanged numbers and greetings. The first question anybody asks me when they hear me speaking (fluently) in Tamil is-where do I hail from? That’s a tricky question for a person like me who is a Tamillian who’s lived in East India, did her graduation from North India and is now in South India doing her PG. I don’t know whether I should say Jamshedpur (my hometwon), Delhi (my maternal grandparents’ place), Tannirpalli (my mom’s birthplace), Tirunnelveli (my dad’s birthplace) or Bengaluru (my current place). It’s quite a mess, to put it simply. And, on top of that, when they hear me speaking equally fluently in Hindi, they find it hard to believe that I’m truly a Tamillian.
But, there are certain things that I learnt today…and all have reference to my (limited) knowledge of Tamil in some way or the other.
I’ve never felt so thankful/relieved/happy/proud about my Tamil roots…until I came here.
I’ve never before been surrounded by so many Tamil speaking people, particularly in the Kannada speaking state of Karnataka.
I’ve never spoken Tamil at such great length, for such a long period, with complete strangers with such confidence.
I never knew that my mother tongue will actually come to my rescue and put me in an advantageous position when compared to the rest of the people in my group who are still struggling with preliminary words like yenne, yenge, yen and teriyadu.
More importantly, I never ever in my wildest dreams thought that my knowledge of reading Tamil would prove to be useful at some point of my life. And, for this, I should truly thank my mom. It was she who insisted and was literally after me and my sister to learn how to read and write Tamil. Our general argument against her insistence would be that it would never be of any use to learn reading and writing Tamil as we would never be reading any Tamil book/magazine/novel, the reason being the high level Tamil used in them. But, for some reason, she was behind us, particularly during the holidays. Also because she taught us at an age when we were too young to protest strongly enough and an age when you grasp and learn things pretty fast, it worked. I still take about a minute to read a single word…but I somehow manage. And, it’s helping me today.
So, thanks amma.
நன்ட்ரி : )
After finalizing a place to stay there (which would be in a room inside a hospital run by a church), we proceeded towards having a long chat with an ex-Panchayat member of the village. We also spoke to the current President of the Gram Panchayat of Martalli and got some useful information. I don’t know how useful it would be….but I guess something is better than nothing.
We had the most awesome lunch today. Rasam, sambhar, aplaam, podalunga curry, oorga and hot steamed rice. We also had omelette. And it all costed Rs. 100/- for 5 people!
Tomorrow, we’ll be shifting from our Kollegal lodge to the village house that we have finalised in the village church on special request from the sisters there. So, the real test actually begins from tomorrow. Apparently, from what we have heard and gathered so far, there are frequent power cuts…and a whole lot of other things that city-people may not be too comfortable with. But, then, that is what this trip is about—to familiarise ourselves with rural way of living.
To come to think about it, rural reporting is fun….as long as you know and understand the local language. Until then, it’s all gotilla!
Looking forward to tomorrow….