Treasure Island

Indira Renganathan


Agraharam I Lived In


Sun broke the night five decades ago
Sanctified the cow dung soil to glow
An Agraharam woke up
Fabulous brahminical kolams rounded up

Prototypic in two rows adjoined
Houses erected, front and rear entered, exited
Uniform with a semi open porch
Unique style spoken on a stone bench

My train of memoirs unfurls...

Flips off a feather; pass by walking Iyers
Ahead to Balasubramanya temple devout Maamaas
Back from river ablution some Maamis
Throne on me their blessed smiles

An exquisite feather down drops
Lo, the western ghats
A tiny cut trident over the ranges
Farther though glitters; hurrying up pupils

Footing on further, mm...tomato rasam
Meenakshi maami's mess; gastronomy awesome
In goes one cup; then Mess Mahadevaiyer's home
Fill up my belly soft idlis some

Now seeing a bullock cart
Lub-dub lub-dub pats my heart
Pappa to the civil court
A day I join him up to the spot

Back in the Agraharam...
Women fuss over a 'nine yards' theorem
Iridescent; Yet an unlikable tradition-syndrome
All for a wedding tantrum

A wedding I'm invited too
Vratham, Kasiyathra, Oonjal...ooh
Nagaswara band and mantras boost
Finally a new lif's debut; Tying the sacred knot

Modernisation, untouchable to our 'Vaadhyaar'
Remains tufted within his vedic structure
Move on I to 'Bhjanai Madam' a prayer-culture
And a school of triumph over there

Flaps a butterfly on my dancing train
Watches lawyers, doctors, teachers..a changing brain
Waltzs around 'Pavalamalli' trees
Flips away enjoing the Agraharam fragrance

By now feathers recollected dusk
Radiating Kalahasthisa and Varadharaja temples prismatic
Night-break, kolattam and karakattam aesthetic
Agraharam then closed, poetic

Extinct and absent some say
In mind mine does stay
Fresh and extant
Agraharam now and again unfurling out

Submitted: Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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Comments about this poem (Agraharam I Lived In by Indira Renganathan )

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  • Krishnarasa Seshadri (10/24/2009 8:21:00 AM)

    Sounds lovely! I am one of those who do not have the luck to like in an agraharam....well, except an occassional sojourn in Sri Rangam! (Report) Reply

  • shreedhar.Shree Bangalore, INDIA (3/29/2009 11:31:00 AM)

    VaNAKKAM......... maaami!
    Am new here and to read these lines,
    was like reading thoses tales from MALGUDI
    in verse format!

    The bank of memory in you is
    CRYSTAL CLEAR,
    and the rural scene so prestinely depicted,
    was a delight to the deepest recesses of my heart.

    with earnest regards,
    -shree (Report) Reply

  • Ravi A (3/17/2009 12:07:00 PM)

    Sister, a nice poem on the life style of Agraharam. Which Agraharam that you are referring to? I live in the New Kalpathy, Palakkad Agraharam area (Ambikapuram) for the last twenty five years. No doubt, Agraharam life has its own style and this life style is the inner and outer strength of Brahmins - there is enough for spiritual evolution for all people. Your poem is enough to bring back those old winds. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Jt Jayasingh (2/13/2009 5:00:00 AM)

    Hi Indira,
    Thanks a lot for your valuable comments. They are valuable to me because you are a seasoned poet. You write more about Agraharam. What you mentioned is a fascinating world apart that I always want to peep in. what a life is that! (Report) Reply

  • Samanyan Lakshminarayanan (12/14/2008 7:57:00 AM)

    a picture shown i words takes me to kallidaikurichi adjoining my home town
    ambassamudram.the bridge, the river the paddy fields, the sivan koil amidst the paddy field then the mountains, this poem was a picture in words- idly's and rasam
    such simple delicacies -thank you mam (Report) Reply

  • Kesav Easwaran (7/26/2008 11:43:00 AM)

    a beautiful, picturesque live show in lines of a typical agraharam life...your poetic ability plays kolattam here...my ten idlis (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

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