It is from his association that I learnt there lies a great power hidden in silence and in being silent. After all, isn’t it as his junior that I have grown up in legal profession? Irrespective of the nature of case, whenever arguments are in progress in the court of law, there would always be a silence of a minute or two in that unrestrained flow of his articulation—a silence that was more like a quick slide into meditation. The words that roll out after that silence sound like pure recitations from a great preacher; appear like the reflections of a great poet’s internal turmoil and in turn they create a profound atmosphere in the court hall, and that is what I often experienced.
He didn’t agree at all to my appeal. It’s after a long silence that he said: “celebration of 60th year of birthday for one who has lived like a menial beast; silver jubilee function for merely eking out life as a practicing lawyer for 25 years—I don’t believe in these functions. Moreover, I consider it as petty arrogance, for these are to be offered as lamps before gods to exceptionally great men by ordinary mortals like us. There is a prayer, the last stanza of which states: ‘Kalaayathasmy namaha’, which means: Salutations to that time because of which all petty luxuries have vanquished from the memory. It is to that we must remain grateful; not to the pettiness of these celebrations.”
Silence…again. As I was getting up to finally salute and take leave of him, breaking the silence, he restrained me. “Sit down Murty! Won’t you like to listen about those great men about whom I have just mentioned?”
“Do love to listen, Sir! Got up simply not to vex you any longer.”
“Listen then. I will tell you an incident associated with a Saptati (70th birthday) celebration.”
I sat down in deference to Goureepathi garu’s saying that sounded as though coming out majestically straight from the pages of the history of yore. How does it matter, whether it is midnight or even late night … to listen to … when the goddess of silence waking from meditative-sleep opens her frozen lips to utter sacred chanting; the music of the flipping wings of a swan that rose from the Manasasarovaram to fly to the peak of the Mount Kailash? Cool breeze is blowing from outside.
“It’s OK! You may light your cigarette.”
“Me! In your presence?”
“Yes, in my presence. For, we are in the Kaliyug; this story might sound to you as though of Dwaparayug. And so, be it!”
* * * *
It’s after 30 years that I went to my village again. By then, you might have grown up and might have started your own practice as a lawyer in your district. It was a journey that was earlier deferred umpteen times because of one or the other obstacle coming in the way. Well, blaming an ‘obstacle’ too might as well be a kind of escapism. We are failing to realize what we are missing by virtue of our getting entangled in the web of city-life!
My relatives often keep saying: “Except for the trusteeship of the Chennakesava swamy temple, which again is an aside, it’s almost half-a-century since you lost the relationship with your village; if you sell off that spacious house to someone or the other, it will draw curtains. ” They also question me, “how does that petty income from the mango orchard around the house matters vis-à-vis the quantum of spending you entertain?” I think you too posed a similar question to me in the past, but I don’t remember what answer I gave you. But it’s only an ungrateful person who could say, “Relieved from the bondage of my native place.” For, even the cattle that have lost their way will somehow trace back their feed alley and return to that very cattle shed. People may wonder how is that I am thinking so sentimentally, but that’s what the reply I used to give.
It’s not merely the childhood pleasures, tombs of the parents, streams, tanks, temples and temple towers, friends of that age that my native village stands for; it manifests in my sweet dreams more as an un-definable ‘bliss’ that is beyond this world and its materialism, as a music of an old raga, as a tender touch of mother, as the sound of a conch that is breathing in the very values of the life into me. Our house is a reflection of our ancestor’s treasure trove of spirituality and religiosity. Who knows, when someone from my progeny feels like running away from the insecurity of inhuman civilization— won’t that house invite him?
Incidentally, the real wonder is: the beginning, the motive, and the determination for that journey was a dream—a mere stir of a dream!
Desiring to hold a literary festival in the month of May, for courts were having holidays, a few lovers of literature have assembled a coordination committee at our house. We were the hosts. But, like any other movements of Andhra people, it also turned out to be a child that faced a prenatal death. Suffice to secure the mike, there starts great speeches. For the first time I have personally seen in those people who are freely airing morals and ideals, manifestation of rot. It’s not ordinary rot—rot of cast, rot of regional feeling, rot of sects and sub-sects, mutual acrimony and abuses—it’s amidst such cacophony that the committee was dissolved in a matter of minutes.
That night a dream haunted me like a long-drawn mental whirling, that too, in the early hours of dawn. It was about the Dwajasthambham  of Chennakesavaswamy temple of my village coming out in search of me. What’s this unusual feat? Who might have attempted whatsoever unholy deed against Chennakesavaswamy? Why is He—the god who has been hailed in the stories relating to the place, in the epigraphs of the Chalukya kings and in the poetry of muses as the Varaprasadee  —sending this message? Though twice demolished in the attacks of Muslim kings, hasn’t He come up again in the resplendent glory of his past? Did Anjaneya, who later emerged as the Kshetrapalakudu , forget his duty? Encircling anxieties like the dark clouds; confusion; a vague hidden threat—the whole tumult made my heart a ravaged forest. It’s not a routine dream. “Why subjecting yourself to such a trauma? Why not go once? Even children are fancying to see the paddy plants”, said my wife. The culture of children is, of course, that of the convent education. They haven’t seen my village till date. My wife had, of course, seen it after our marriage, on the day of house-warming ceremony. She has however no acquaintance with Chennakesavaswamy.
The car that was in the garage for repairs returned. The journey has to commence in the night, of course, alone. That day two letters came by afternoon post. They indeed gave a meaning to the signals of my bad dream.
* * * *
The letter from Sitaram, whom we all address as annayya  garu , though short in extent, makes all the complex affairs of the world quite clear. Despite there being no concern of the man, sheer external forces inflict so many problems on him which are indeed beyond my comprehension—even as a lawyer! That letter has, however, opened my eyes:
“As you know, in those days our forefathers had donated hundred acres of dry land farm to the temple for taking care of its rituals. That epigraph is still there on the eastern side wall. With the completion of Padmapuram project, that land has recently become an irrigated farm. Although a little of the land in Agraharam  has got alienated, the Archakas  could still meet their living expenses from the rest. Now that it has become an irrigated land, the government officials have become envious of it. They have served notices asking us, the hereditary joint-trustees, to hand over the lands to the endowments department. You must have also received it. No point in reminiscing about our old glory. Such was their greatness, that our ancestors by throwing open their grain silos in famine days could take care of poor people; they never plucked even a single flower from the gardens that they had donated to the temple; they replaced the ornaments looted by the Muslim invaders and Pindaris ; rebuilt the temple tower, repaired the compound walls of the temple and got the brass-coating done to the dwajasthambham, all to create employment to the poor—who would remember them today? What they now need is the landed properties of the temple. The old Acharya , who was a staunch follower of the tradition, had been bed-ridden; I am given to understand that his son, who got ruined by bad associations, had even forged my signature. As the bad politics are advancing to rule the roost, government’s intervention might be alright. But there is one worry, of course, only one. When your father and I were the inmates of Salem jail, eating pudding as “C” class prisoners, haven’t ever demanded “A” class facilities that our status permitted. Whereas the special officer of the temple wants to have your “Kanvasa Bhavanam” . It seems the spacious rooms in the temple premises are not sufficient-enough! Some of those golden vessels that our forefathers had got made and the ornaments meant for temple are securely stored in a bhoshanam  in the Kanvasa Bhavanam. Like a cobra safeguarding the treasure trove, Venkataswamy, the loyal protector of your family’s interests, doesn’t show them to anybody, whatever the pressure might be. If not for this, even otherwise, you haven’t come this side though decades have since elapsed; so, look forward to your arrival.”
The second letter is the notice from the endowments department. Immediately, suitable messages were wired.
* * * *
This journey—almost 400 miles—had it been in a different context, what a fun it would have been! It’s only the speed of my car that’s the impetus behind my travel. Crossing the city boundaries, felt as though stepped into a world of peace, but how to enjoy the beauty of villages in the dark night? Yet, crossing the railway gates as we drove on the roads running parallel to the canal bunds… on reaching the Krishna barrage, the hymns of praise of rivers from Vedas; while driving under the lush green trees, the hymns of peace that are addressed to the medicinal herbs chanted by the seers of yore have all appeared as though walking in from a distant valley.
As we approached the village boundary, the North Star that accompanied us till then as a good omen, started fading. A little away, there the Sanjeevarayadi tank with its mighty bunds; as we took the next turn there the shed of chariot of Chennakesava Swamy that comes out on auspicious days; there the dwajasthamba that stood tall with its top held erect over the temple compound walls! It is this dwajasthambha that caused the journey. At the very next turn is the ‘Kanvasa Bhavanam’. Appears to have been white washed recently. That’s a divine manifestation.
My telegram appears to have reached well in time. Without even a mild honking, Venkataswamy was there right at the gate. Hot water was ready. Took bath. Steaming coffee from Somayajula garu, the teacher staying on the ground floor since long. Slept over like a log. Contemplated to visit the temple in the twilight hours. Thought I could later talk to Sitaram annayya leisurely.
Getting up from bed as I was brushing teeth, Venkataswamy’s message: “old acquaintances from the village have come to see you.” As I was stepping down, like an insulted goddess of sorrow, grasping for breath, Brundavanacharyulu garu was climbing up. An impoverished body, of course, with the usual markings on the forehead with a Pullihora vessel in the hand. Holding his hand as I carefully assisted, he could come up.
“So, my son, you have come. Trethayugam  passed away. Dwaparayugam has slid. Now, it is the land under the feet of Kali. I know three generations of your clan. My life has been blessed. Whenever Chennakesavaswamy sends a word, I shall instantaneously commence my journey to god’s abode. But I have a submission to make. My only son has taken to wrong path. He has become amoral. He is a sinner who even attempted to steal the idols of procession. Pardon him. I pray nothing more.”
In the twilight’s worship, priests, mentioning my gotra astottara sathanamavali . They had also blessed me. Presenting silk robes to the deities, I went out to see the village. As I started, coming under the tower of the temple, I involuntarily murmured to myself, “Hey! Chennakesava, in the book of time, the first signature was done by the fate. And now, not much time is left for the second signature! ‘Yes’, this might be the last worship!”
Expanding all around, yet remaining congested,,, the village has acquired the so-called beauties of a town… indeed became a puzzle for him to navigate through … Guided by the old acquaintance, he however, turned towards Sitaram gari house. Where is that sprawling building? As memory guided, searched all around. As a remnant of the past glory, perhaps, there surfaced a tent cinema hall. Somebody uttering, “Isn’t he staying in the hamlet of yanadis outside the village?” There, in front of tent hall, amidst the cacophony of drum beating, the songs from old films were blaring. Seeing Venkataswamy, who came in search of him, as that young man turned away, “Isn’t he the son of the priest”, uttered somebody.
* * * *
As I reached home, a whiff of fine fragrance greeted me right on the steps. There, Sitaram annayya in front of the lamp turning the pages of English novels that I had bought. Right in front of him, there a basket on the teapoy filled with ripened sapotas . Sitting like a story-teller lost in his own world! Appeared as a sad-moon casting its rays in an isolated valley of Himalayas. Reminded me of a meditating soul, offering oblations at the dawn reciting Aaditya hridayam on the banks of an unknown river. In that visualization, all that displeasure which swept over me at the tent cinema house, quietly disappeared. Ponduru khadi  shirt; ironed dhovathi ; golden-hued stout body that didn’t let you decipher whether he is old or young, but eyes laden with tiredness… Yet he didn’t appear to me as an old man. His is an imposing personality. When he was in his youth, I am sure, any lady coming under the pull of the magnetic waves of his personality might have simply been enamoured of him.
Restraining me, as I was prostrating at his feet, and lifting by my shoulders, he hugged me. Saying, “Remembering your longing for Sapotas that you perhaps, mentioned once in the past, Kalyani sent them for you,” he smiled with his eyes.
“Yes, Secretary of the Yanadi Seva Samithi. The child that me and Chandrika brought up.”
* * * *
Sitaram garu is not from our village. He came on adoption to his Pethalli’s  house. Affluent people, in fact, theirs was the richest family in the whole of our area. Indeed an aristocratic family. Known to celebrate Dasara festival on a grand scale for nine days… facilitating poets and pundits in between. His foster father himself was a great poet. With the kind of their philanthropic deeds … their active participation in the independence struggle ….in no time all their riches were turned naught. During his very college days Sitaram garu had involved in the politics of extremism. Many stories were in air: people used to murmur about his steadfast desire to replicate the ‘Anushilan samithi’ (which propounded revolutionary violence as the means for ending British Rule in India) of Bengal in Andhra too. There was also a talk about his roaming in Bengal for almost a year as an incognito and learning making of bombs. Once in every week police would visit to spy on his activities. His father had an ambition of making him a barrister. But Sitaram garu hadn’t gone to London. Instead, he went to Dublin, the capital of Ireland, for it was then under the rule of Develara, a known enemy of the British! But for some unknown reason, he returned from Dublin within a year. If rumours were to be believed, there he loved an Irish woman, who while swimming in the sea died. And so, he returned with a shattered heart. Of course, nobody knew what the truth is. Later he worked for a year or two as a lecturer in the National College. In the meanwhile, Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement picked up momentum. Along with my father, he was in the Salem jail for almost three years undergoing harsh imprisonment. Heard from father that the jail life had totally transformed him. Having practiced meditation and many other yogic postures, he came out of the jail as a lean, sturdy man with a glowing skin, which was a miracle. He used to recite the verses from the Bhagawad Gita fluently.
By then his father and mother had expired. Spent some years in settling the family affairs. There however remained practically nothing for him to settle. He had unpleasant moments with some selfish landlords. Suddenly he left for Vinoba Bhave’s hermitage, perhaps in search of peace. It was also heard that he actively participated in the movement of Bhave for reforming the bandits of Chambal valley. Also heard about his performing daredevilry. Importantly, people used to talk about his following the bandits who hijacked a marriage bus into the forest that was almost hundred miles away from Gwalior and his saving the ladies along with their jewellery, without causing harm to anybody. It was also said he brought with him some of those bandits and made them renounce their arms in the presence of Vinoba Bhave. He had excellent oratory skills in Hindi. And about his command on Sanskrit, no one need to say it so explicitly. An instantaneous learner. It is perhaps with the inspiration from Vinoba Bhave that he dedicated himself to serve one of the oldest tribes, Yanadis (a tribe), who are aplenty in and around our villages. By then, all that he had been left with was: two acres of wet land. Of course, for namesake he was also the trustee of the temple. Nevertheless, he just remained as an ideal practitioner of his ancestors’ tradition.
He assembled the yanadis who were leading their lives as the rejected lot, for no one wanted to have any association with them, if not socially ostracized. He reformed even those who were habituated to petty stealing. He injected in them a sense of self-respect. As a Gandhian, he trained them in village industries—particularly apiculture, weaving baskets and selling them, cultivation of vegetables, etc. Starting a residential school for yanadi boys and girls, he lighted lamp in many lives. Yet, he appeared as a person stuck with an insatiate-appetite, as a perpetual-doubter, as a faithful devotee searching for a holy-path just as the river that is flowing not knowing the direction to the ocean. As an ultimate act, he took up on himself the task of reviving yanadi’s Yakshagana Bhagavatham . He made them practice the play, Usha Parinaya Yakshagana that remained in their lives as a reminiscence of the past. The plays, Nala harithra and Prabhavathi Pradyumnam that are known as the traditional plays of yanadis, were revived by him. Oh! What a struggle he was to undergo for exhibiting these plays during the Dasara festival! I am of course not fully aware of those details. For the first time then a yanadi lass of rare beauty appeared on the Yakshagana stage of our village as Usha kanya, the daughter of Baanasura. That was Chandrika! The beauty of blue-hued Drupadaraja’s daughter.
Every movement of hers was that of the beauty of a noble birth; in every song of hers she appeared like a celestial nymph giving shape to a song— as though giving a form in words to all those eternal longings of her life. I still remember some of the gamakas  in those songs. It is only after seeing Chandrika I realized that for rare beauty, brown skin is not an obstacle at all. I was then a lad. Had been listening to the whisperings of the lusty sons of the landlords. I don’t know why, but I often wondered if these innocent, unarmed yanadis could ever secure their Chandrika from these Dussaasanas. As feared, when I came home after six months from law college for holidays, I heard a terrible incident—a sordid man had raped her and three days after that his dead body was seen floating in the Sanjivarayidi tank. That night many relatives were in our house for attending the first death anniversary function of my father. In the middle of night, Sitaram came hurriedly—saying “hide this carefully in your room”, giving a small bag he went out hurriedly. It was said that there were no injuries on the body of the deceased.
But internally profuse bleeding was said to have occurred. Next day, after all my relatives had left, I opened Sitaram gari’s bag. I saw a pistol wrapped in a white cloth. “Made in Republic of Ire”! By then police had come and gone too. No whispers were heard in the village. On the night of my returning to the college, Sitaram took away that bag. Next year when Venkataswamy came to the town, he gave me the news: “Sitaramgaru married Chandrika at an auspicious moment that was decided according to the traditions of yanadis—at the total eclipse of the shade of the wooden post erected, i.e., at midday”—I was not surprised, of course!
Just as cinema reel as these scenes, incidents rolled over in my mind, the sayings of Sitaramgaru could not get registered in me. In the meanwhile, Somayajulu garu sent dinner upstairs. I and annayya had our food. By then the priest had sent the message: “the officials of the endowment department will be here day after tomorrow”.
* * * *
On the dotted day, at 10 a.m., the deputy commissioner, a would-be assistant commissioner, a head peon, and a peon got down from the jeep. Deputy commissioner was puffing out smoke from a Spenser cigar. I was shocked. Are these the officers? Is this the government? Are these the people, whose eyes reflect no knowledge whatsoever, who are going to take over the ancient monument, the temple! Neither historical perspective nor humility appears in that reddened eyes! They are not the angels of gods. Little men, meant for mere counting of commissions. Devils.
The karanam  and Rangaiah Gupta, the man who for all these years maintained the income and expenses account of the lands and carried out the god’s rituals without anticipating any benefit, came up with Sitaramgaru. Karanam had shown the records and the survey maps pertaining to the god’s landed property to the officers. Rangaiah Gupta put before them the ledgers. They didn’t have the patience to examine the accounts that are perfect up to the last pie.
“How about this building?” said the commissioner, while his assistant was staring at him.
“You won’t get this building under any circumstances. Don’t build up your greed. I am a lawyer. I know the omissions and commissions in your notice. The temple yard is quite spacious—and it is enough for your offices to operate from there without any hitch.
God knows what he might have felt, but staring with protruding eyes and saying, “Think it over again. There is no hurry. We shall come tomorrow after visiting the lands. Keep ready the list of movables, ornaments, the vehicles and other items. We shall finish off quickly”, stood up. Sitaram garu didn’t say anything. After receiving whatever little courtesies that Venkataswamy could offer, the team had gone away.
The list of ornaments was prepared that night with the help of Somayajulu garu. I hadn’t seen the gold ornaments and the vessels that were stored in the wooden box kept in our room that keenly in the past. The names of my mother’s parents were engraved on the vessels. Sitaram garu too looking at them with a surprise, closed his eyes in reverence. Crowns, hand ornaments, ear studs, vessels, etc. all put together came to 200.
Workers in the temple, palanquin-bearers, light-bearers, daily priests, and Govardhanacharyulu—they all waited on the ground floor. Assuaging their apprehensions by saying a few encouraging words to them, as I came up—Venkataswamy, who was setting the ornaments alright in the box, said anxiously, “one golden vessel is not traceable, only four are there.” We searched again. Not found. I wondered: Chennakesava, what is this materialistic-religious crisis at this stage!
That night I could not relish food. Whose handiwork is this theft? I have reviewed the whole scene. Somayajulugaru didn’t touch even one item. Sitting in front of the table, far away from us, he went on listing the items as we announced. It will be a sin to doubt Venkataswamy. Somayajulu garu went away right in before us. Only me and Sitaram garu remained till the end. He was the last man to leave. He had a bag too in his hand. Mind is running in different ways. In these last days—in his impoverished state, did he resort to this deed? Could that impoverished state be wiped out with this one vessel? Who knows, poverty can make one stoop to any extent. What answer to be given in front of Acharyulu garu tomorrow? What a sad picture we will cut before those officers who have no sense of propriety? It’s not a big deal for me to get a similar vessel made. But what a great disregard to the deceased maternal grandmother! There in that disturbed sleep, a dream! There, Sitaram annayya, whom I have perceived as the man who imbibed the secrets of the Gita, stealing the golden vessel and discreetly putting it in his bag…Chi! Chi! It’s my weakness to have so much faith in the humanity… How could he show his face tomorrow? Chi! He was responsible for the death of that rapist which I doubted then as murder. Wouldn’t a man who killed another be capable of doing a petty stealing?
* * * *
As anticipated, Sitaram garu did not come up the next day. Endowment Department people too didn’t turn up. The day passed off with unrest—full of petty doubts and humiliation. Acharyulu garu did send food. But could not touch it even.
As the darkness was slowly creeping in, a yanadi boy came to deliver Sitaram garu’s letter. “Come down to our hermitage. Today is Chandrika’s Saptati celebration.” Chi! How to go? To speak what? Yet I started with that boy. Haven’t told even Venkataswamy.
Yanadi hermitage was located outside the village solitarily, but well within a mile from the village. Light of twinkling stars was slightly visible on the leaves of the coconut trees located in the yard. The surroundings were more like the abode of goddess of poverty. Nothing else was visible. Pushing aside the gate, the yanadi boy directed me to go inside. Eyes were getting adjusted to the feeble light coming from the lantern. But some smell of a rotten fruit was terribly irritating nostrils. Noticing me, they pushed the lantern a little forward. Suddenly my feet came to a halt. That was a dreadful scene.
There, on a dilapidated cot, was Chandrika. She, the lioness-like, once had a moonlight face. Now bitten by the dreadful leprosy, she had lost half of her nose too. She was singing something in a hoarse voice. Sitting on a stool by her side, Sitaram garu was feeding her payasam . That vessel – it was the same golden vessel that was found missing yesterday.
Pulling up all her energies, she made an attempt to greet me with folded hands. There were no fingers on those hands. And an interminable stink.
“Come, sit down. Today is her Saptati. Desired to eat prasadam from a god’s pot. All along she lighted my life with a golden torch. A while ago, she said that her life has been blessed,” said Sitaram.
Tucked myself on another stool.
I felt the sound of flipping wings of the vultures hovering over the terminal stage of an unblemished love story. Silence was so intense that even the sound of blinking eyelids was audible. Giving up hunting for insects, even the lizard on the bamboo-partition stayed still. The alarm-clock on the table stopped ticking. The dog in the yard that was reared by Chandrika stopped her melancholic barking. The coconut leaves didn’t appear to be swaying. Kalyani lighted incense sticks. Slowly, the foul smell waned. Kalyani took away the golden pot from her father. He has spread the white sheet on Chandrika’s erstwhile wide eyes. I lost the sense of the differentiating line between death and life.
At that divine minute, as a man became ‘silence’, became a great Yogi, a sacred person, a Messiah, I greeted Sitaramgaru once again by prostrating at his feet.
Next day, as the body of Chandrika was getting entombed in the open yard of the Kanyasa palace, officers of the Endowments Department came in. I told them: “I am donating this building, the land around the building and the orchards to the Yanadi Seva Samithi. These three will be its trustees.” That very day, along with the fifth vessel, I handed over all the ornaments to them.
Originally in Telugu—Saptati Mahotsavam—written by Sri Munipalle Raju and published in the annual issue of India Today in 2000. This story is included in the anthology, Asthitvanadam Aavali Teeraana that won him Central Sahitya Academy award.
 Kaliyug—according to the scriptures of Hinduism, it is the fourth stage of the world development that we are currently in.
 Dwaparayug—is the third stage of the four ages, described in the scriptures of Hinduism.
 Dwajasthambham—flagpole in front of the temple.
 Varaprasadee—the bestower of boons.
 Kshetrapalakudu—care-taking god of the temple yard.
 Annayya—big brother.
 Garu—the social art of expressing respect by using plural to address a person or appending the suffix ‘garu’ to a name and so on.
 Agraharam—name given to the Brahmin quarter of a heterogenous village or to any village inhabited by Brahmins.
 Archakas—Hindu temple priests.
 Pindari—historically, an irregular horseman, plunderer, or forager attached to a Muslim army in India who was allowed to plunder in lieu of pay.
 Acharya—highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men.
 Kanvasa Bhavanam—name of the building.
 Bhoshanam—wooden locker.
 Trethayugam—is the third stage of the four ages, described in the scriptures of Hinduism.
 Gotra—In Hindu society, the term Gotra broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor.
 Astothara sathanamavali—literally means reciting eight names after chanting the hundred names of the god/s
 Sapotas—a fruit commonly known as sapodilla (botanical name: Manilkara zapota)
 Ponduru khadi—“Andhra Fine Khadi”, popularly known as “Ponduru Khadi” is a prominent name in Andhra Pradesh as well as all over India. It is named so because this variety of khadi is produced from Ponduru, a village in Srikakulam District in north coastal Andhra Pradesh.
 Dhovathi—traditional garment worn by men around waist.
 Pethalli—mother’s elder sister.
 Yakshagana Bhagavatham—a musical theater in which incidents from the Bhagavatham were performed for the common man in villages.
 Gamakas—refers to ornamentation that is used in the performance of Indian classical music.
 Karanam—village revenue record keeper.
 Payasam—a traditional sweet dish.