Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Now for a snippet relating to the family story: it has occurred to me for quite some time now that the three families, Trikkavu or Ponani (my paternal family), Thoppil Matom (our maternal or Parur family) and the Perumbavoor family (an affinal family that is the paternal or maternal family for some of our cousins - confusing, is it!) were connected by an extended process of ' Bride Exchange' (as the social anthropologists term it) over three generations. I will try to recap the process below with sufficient annotations for you to get the relationships clear.

First, Ananthu Atthai: our dad's paternal aunt or Atthai, from the Ponani family -
Very early in the 20th C (about 1910 I should think), she was married to K.R.Ganapathi Iyer (or Anna Parameswaran as he was known) a leading lawyer of Perumbavoor .

Next, Meena Pattiammai: Our paternal grandmother and a grand-daughter of Ammappatty of Parur through her eldest daughter.
Perhaps shortly after Ananthu Atthai, she was married to Pattappa (N.Anantarama Iyer) of Ponani, my father's father . Strictly speaking, she was not of the Thoppil Matom lineage, being a maternal grand-daughter of that house but, if we do not split hairs and view it in a wider context (as I think we should), we can let this stand to the credit of Thoppil Matom.

Thereafter, Thangam (or Kunjammai as we called her): A daughter of the Perumbavoor family.
She was the younger sister of Anna Parameswaran of the Perumbavoor lineage and married T.R.Padmanabha Iyer (or Kunjappa as he was known) my maternal grand-uncle ( my grandfather Ponnappa's elder brother and the 3rd of 4 brothers of the Thoppil Matom lineage).I think this marriage took place in the early 1920's.

Nextly, Chellamani, daughter of Kunjammai & Kunjappa:
Of the Thoppil Matom house and the bride of Ramanathan (or Ambi) of the Perumbavoor house and son of Viswanathan, K.R.Ganapathi Iyer's younger brother (thus the nephew of Kunjammai who was his Atthai).Ambi was the elder brother of Malayattoor Ramakrishnan a well-known Malayalam author who was Ponnappa's longest serving junior (about a year plus). This was a marriage of the early or mid-forties.

And then Dorai or Parvathi, our mother:
This hardly needs any elaboration . From Thoppil Matom to Trikkavu, following her cousin (Meena Pattiammai), the marriage taking place in 1948, I think.

The latest, Shobha: My sister. In 1975 to Ramakrishnan a.k.a Ramu , my second cousin and paternal grandson of Ananthu Atthai and Anna Parameshwaran, son of G.Ramanathan, my dad's cousin. Trikkavu (Ponani) to Perumbavoor.

And the inevitable footnotes:

1.There is a further bride exchange, from Perumbavoor to Trikkavu, but it went a little wide of the mark! My cousin Usha (the aforesaid Chellamani's daughter) married P.G.Parameswaran of Trikkavu (the grandson of Ambi Pattar of PGP and Sons of Ponani) in 1973. She was hardly 19 then . After a career spent in the Kanan Devan (Tata) tea estates, her husband is now running the family business of coffee and tea wholesaling which is still going strong but run out of Palghat now.

2.Although I. perhaps rightly, refer to them as the Perumbavoor family, they are, in fact, from Koovappodi, a village near Perumbavoor, I think. And I think that is what the K in
K.R.Ganapathi Iyer's (or Anna Parameshwaran's) initials stands for.

3. Whilst I refer to Perumbavoor as a collateral family, they are, to some of my cousins like the aforementioned Usha, as important as Ponani is to us, being their paternal family and one equally bound by ties to the Parur family as our Ponani family.

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