Friday, February 11, 2011

Delving into the archives

We are right in the midst of funeral rites and ceremonies over here. And while I would love to share the sanctity and beauty of the rituals via photographic images, I obviously cannot do that. Three sons honoring their father with the utmost respect he so deserves, the chanting of the mantras and the incredibly moving step by step proceedings, the  mental images of these I must keep to myself.

But the house is full of people and even though the occasion is a sad one, we are all happy to be sharing our grief together. After all the morning rituals, and after every one is satiated with the catered lunch, we sit down and talk about my father-in-law and the old days, my husband and his brothers discuss their childhood with their father, old photographs are brought out, memories are re-lived, rash promises are made to scan these precious photos and e mail to one another, forgotten anecdotes about so and so are retold, peppered with corrections from other family members, there is lots of laughter and joy as all this goes on.

Today was no exception. My mother brought out an album with photos taken a 100 years ago, photos developed in interesting shades of blue and purple, when photography was not quite the graphic art it is today and when cameras were boxes with pin holes in them! And while there was a lot of heated discussion as to when they were taken, what the occasion was, who was that lovely lady in the puffed sleeved blouse was.....I sneaked out the album and scanned a few pics to share with you readers. Pictures that tell you where I come from - literally! Pictures of my ancestors - beautiful demure women in silk saris with stunning jewelry and flowers in their hair; handsome men in traditional South Indian attire or elegant Western wear. Pictures taken during an age when pressures were few, stress was non-existent, when women had time to laugh and gossip and chat, and children had the time and the inclination to play outside.

Some of the beauties.....my FIL's mom, Janaki, is the lady in the middle with the enchanting smile, his sister, Mangalam, is the lady to her left (to the extreme right of the pic as you are looking at it)
My grandpa is the gentleman with glasses, my grandma, yes the same teeny tiny grandma from this post, is the lady behind him, my grandaunt is the other slender lady standing, her husband is seated in front of her.
 My grandfather again with his siblings
My maternal grandparent's wedding May,1939...according to teeny grandma, it was quite the social event of the year!
 In their flower bedecked car/chariot......cruising down the street!
My grandmother's maternal grandfather, that is, my great great grandfather.....Manjeri Rama Iyer, a very eminent lawyer in Calicut, Kerala.
 My grandmother's paternal grandfather/my great great grandfather Ramanujam, who was a priest at the Srirangam temple.
My grand aunt and husband
 Maternal grandpa (with glasses) with his sister and other members of the family
 My grandfather's maternal uncle, Mr. S. Chidambaram, secretary to the Dewan of Tranvancore
My fav picture - the baby is my grandmother Kamala, the couple standing in the back are her parents, the one holding her is her grandmother....that is my great great grandmother/my son's great great great grandmother!!!! WOW! The other lady is my grandmother's aunt. 

15 comments:

Designwali said...

it is amazing how truly beautiful these old pictures are...I hope you do something wonderful with them to celebrate your lineage.

rama said...

B&W pictures are always a pleasure to look at any time.I am glad in this sad ocassion you are able to bond with each other.

Komali Nunna said...

Those are amazing images, Kamini. Funeral is the time to celebrate ones life. I am sorry about your Father in Law.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

wow! Such lovely memories!! She does have a wonderful smile!!!
And, the palanquin is exquisite!!!

Eterna said...

Hi I enjoyed glancing at these pictures.. They are super awesome.. Thanks for sharing..Yes it does convey the tradition and culture of the then India.. very nice.

MindfulMeanderer said...

what a treasure trove!!! :) The oldest pics in my house are that of my mother's childhood !!
Beautiful people and attire.

Shilpa Kamath said...

Beautiful pictures.

purplehomes said...

how lovely it is to have all these memories lovingly captured & carefully kept for all these years.

Sound Horn Please said...

You have some really good looking women in your family K!

Lakshmi said...

Wow! That was an amazing trip into the yesteyears. Just curious, what is it with short sleeves...most of the women seem to be sporting it along with their 9 yard madisar. It's not depicted the same way in the movies of the past - was there a fashion trend that we are not aware of. My mum and aunts used to tell me about the "Jannal Kazhutthu" - window patterns at the back of the blouse, and how they were all the rage in the '50s...but this bit I haven't heard/seen before.

Take care, and nice to know that you have family around to help you all tide over such a difficult time.

Lakshmi

Rupa. said...

Beautiful....all the pictures are overwhelmingly beautiful....how lovely the women look....I would love to dress like that everyday ...if only its possible in this day and age....
Take care....nice to know that the family is bonding....this is a great way to share the pain that all of you are going through....very positive....

Rupa said...

What a treasure trove of pics from that long ago!! Great that they were taken then and are still around to be digitized. I must say the almost sleeveless bloused lady in the first pic caught my eye :) Modern indeed for the times...(unless my eyes need a check up of course)! I have similar pics of family and last time I was in India, I took the albums to a studio and had them all digitized and stored on CDs! So glad I could do that. Take care.

MANJERI SUBIN SUNDER RAJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MANJERI SUBIN SUNDER RAJ said...

Hi there.... Am Manjeri Subin Sunder Raj. Guess we are related as Manjeri Rama Iyer is my great grandfather. It would be nice if you can mail me at subin129@gmail.com.

R. Srinivasan said...

Wonderful old images of unforgettable legacy. Thanks for sharing