The ‘ Mamangam ‘ (Mahamagam) is always very interesting when it happens every 12 years.
I was lucky to have had my first 2 mamagam’s at our village Baburajapuram right at the entrance of Kumbakonam. Just a few meters away from our village is where the private transport was terminated in 1968 and in 1980 and one has to walk around 3 kms to reach the ‘mamanga’ kulam to take the bath.
In 1968 my ‘Thatha’ (Grand father) the illustrious Shriman. Subbaraya Iyer was alive and the whole family (my aunts and their families, the illustrious son Shriman. Pattabiraman Iyer (my father) and his family (total including the new born baby and the last child of my parents) my chithappa (Atchay Rajni‘s grand father) and the entire village celebrated the mamangam with happiness and pride. This is a life time event for everyone in the Tanjore and Kumbakonam districts. This unity cannot come again.
Anyone can come and stay in anyone’s house and enjoy their hospitality is the custom. So, our house was surrounded with around 80-100 in numbers and the kitchen was working almost 24×7. You can have coffee at as early as 04.00hrs. The whole family was commended by our Grand Father.
At the wink of an eye of my Grand father, kudiyanavan’s (people who work for our lands) will instantaneously execute his commands to fineness.
My father will not stand in front of my Grandfather but I was always sitting on the lap of my Grandfather. You can imagine how odd this would have been but that was the way the families were run. My aunt’s daughters and sons will promptly obey the command of my father (their uncle and mami) and they love him and my mother so much.
It used to be a real feast for every meal and all laced with varieties and one has to sit in ‘Pandhi’ to eat every meal. I was there for almost 2 weeks well ahead of the beginning of the festival and returned in Ambassador car at the end of the whole event.