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A Visit to My Ancestral Place- My Response to Billybuc Photo Challenge

Venkat loves taking part in writing challenges to improve writing skills. In doing so, he can present some nice stories that appeal to all.

Vague remains of my parents' images

Vague remains of my parents' images

Our Ancestral Memories Keep Visiting

I was sitting in my balcony in a restful mood sipping my coffee and gazing at the blue skies. It was one of those winter evenings and there is hardly enough warmth in the weather. My thoughts suddenly went wandering around some vague childhood memories of my life that were a puzzle even now for me.

It was in the 1950's when I went on a trip to my ancestral village along with my parents. A small village named Tallarevu near about 20 km from Kakinada City of Andhra Pradesh. Actually, it was my father's wish to visit his childhood place where he was born and brought up for some years by his mother and grandparents while his own father was locked up in jail along with many other freedom fighters who were protesting for India's Independence from the British Rule in support of Mahatma Gandhi. I was hardly 5 years old and so couldn't remember that trip. Only some vague memories of childhood are present in my heart.

My father must have been born in 1916 as he was 55 years old when he died in 1971 August while I was doing my second-year Graduation Course. We were in Madras City (Now Chennai) at that time. He used to narrate many wonderful stories from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata during our childhood. It was during those occasions that he once described to us how his father participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement during the years 1920 to 1922 and was kept in jails for 2 times along with other freedom fighters. Both my uncles were born during his stay in the jails and their names point to those moments of freedom struggle. A cement headstone was erected in his honor by the villagers revering him as "Tallarevu Gandhi" on his death and got erected at his burial place. I wondered whether it still exists when I was pondering over those vague memories of childhood.

A Tribute to Ancestors

The engraved stone witness to my Grandfather's Fame

The engraved stone witness to my Grandfather's Fame

Visit to The Ancestor Graveyard

So, to clear those vague memories and to ascertain the present conditions of that village where my grandparents lived, I decided to visit that birthplace of my father along with my family. I booked the necessary tickets for both sides of the journey and set out the next day night itself.

We reached Kakinada City where my relatives were staying. They were happy to see us. But, I informed them that we will stay only for one day and return back the next day to our place. So, we started by a three-wheeler auto to visit the village within a couple of hours. The village was located at a distance of 20 km from the City, in between Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary and Yanam We had to walk some distance through the barren lands to reach our ancestral place. As I thought of visiting that crematorium at first and confirm my doubt regarding the engraved stone's existence there, we had to leave the vehicle at the outskirts itself. And, there I noticed a unique long headstone erected intact at the entrance itself. I hurried to that stone and readout loudly the engravings on it with full excitement.

In loving memory of:

"Tallarevu Gandhi" (Late Narsingh Acharyulu)

Born: Oct. 16, 1880

Died: Aug. 15, 1945

Erected by: villagers of Tallarevu on August 15, 1947

Road leading to the village

Road leading to the village

An Honour to Unsung Hero

Finding me overwhelmed with joy, my wife and children also stepped forward and felt very glad to see that great tribute done to my grandfather by those villagers. "Gracious! It was erected on August 15, 1947!!!" Every one of us shouted out in joy. It was a great pleasure for all of us. It was erected exactly on the day of our country's attaining the Independence from the British Raj. The villagers were so much reverent of my Grandfather's services that they immediately honored him with that headstone.

Next, we proceeded towards my grandparents' could-have-been home. It was more a hamlet than to call it a village. A small settlement of thatched-roof or tiled-roof houses in one place with open fields surrounding on all sides. Situated on the banks of the Godavari river's merging point with the sea, it is adjacent to many other villages on all sides of it. We had to walk through a gravel road for 100 mt and step into that hamlet to trace my ancestral home.

The Barn House, with a Shed and Silo

The Barn House, with a Shed and Silo

Farmhouse Building, Barn, Silo Purposes Explained

On arriving at the endpoint after walking for 100 meters and turning to the right, we found some farmhouse-type buildings and reached towards them. We found some dwelling houses as well as a few barns and silos. This one appearing in front of us was a cooperative society's building with its barn and silo. We enquired there about the nature of it and came to know that the local farmers around there cultivate their farms on a cooperative basis and it gets stored in those barns collectively after keeping proper records of each member of the community regarding their stock and consumption. The silos are used for long-time storage of grains and seeds. Thereafter, we enquired about my grandparents and others might be ancestors. But, they were unable to tell us much about them. Nobody ever came to them and enquired about the old inhabitants of that village. So, they lost all the information regarding the whereabouts of their kith and kin. It was only due to that intact gravestone standing there all through the ages, that they were aware of my grandfather's contribution to our Independence and kept telling stories of his life to their children. That's why the inhabitants there welcomed us with curiosity and respect and enquired about our health. They guided us to some houses there which were definitely built or rebuilt in later times on the ruins of old ones.

The farmhouse in the village

The farmhouse in the village

The Older Generations Were Lovely People

So, we visited 2, 3 homes and enquired some very old gentlemen regarding any knowledge they might have had about my grandfather's lineage and their whereabouts. They were very welcoming and nice in cordiality. After offering some fruit juice and talking friendly, they revealed that a temple priest once narrated them about another old priest in a nearby Ramalayam Temple. They were told that he was a priest as well as a freedom fighter. and one daughter of his was living in a nearby village known as Valasapakala but all his other children were far away in big cities. She was actually my aunt (my father's elder sister) who already demised as per my knowledge in the year 1985 or so. So, that information was of no use as nobody from her family ever had an interest in my ancestral place or were attached to my parents. But, I got confirmed that that priest was my grandfather.

The entire village has transformed a lot after the development of Kakinada as a major city of Andhra Pradesh. All villages around started picking up in growth and developmental projects. Most old families left and those staying are only newer young generations. But, they respected their country's freedom fighters very much and particularly leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. As my grandfather was a stringent follower of Gandhi and was recognized as a very kind, and humanitarian person, the inhabitants still have much respect for him. That's why they maintained that inscription on that headstone standing there as prestige for their entire village. I wondered at their loyalty and love and thanked them for all thy information as also for keeping that headstone as a great monument even now. All of us were very happy. From there, we happened to notice a lake and proceeded that way.

The lake that contained palm trees at one time.

The lake that contained palm trees at one time.

How Do Village Names Emerge

We found it to be a lake surrounded on all sides by barren rocky fields with some wild trees growing around it. It receives the water through a very narrow canal created from the Godavari river nearby there. It is used by the inhabitants around for bathing and washing purposes as well as for the cleaning of cattle. We came to know that it once used to be the habitat of palm trees growing in and around it. All those trees were got cut down year after year and no fresh ones were grown.

The name of the village refers to those palm trees. It was a pond of water with Palm trees in it that is known as tallarevu. Tal refers to a Palm tree. Its plural word is Tallu. And, Revu refers to a pond or any waterbody. As the lake there contained scores of palm trees those days, it was named as the village of Palm trees.

We were very much fascinated by the explanation of that name by those old people there in the huts. As their palm business got extinct, they switched over to the fish business, catching and selling fish from the nearby lakes at this time.

Tallarevu in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh

So, that was how my journey to my ancestral place resulted in a fruitful manner. Myself and my family members got fully satisfied and joyful with that journey. Previously, I was sorry for not having any photos or documents of my ancestral lineage. But, now I captured some pictures and collected much information. I can keep records of all these revelations for my generations to come. It's a wonderful mission accomplished for me. Further, I have decided to pay another visit to those places in the nearby future and collect some more information through deep research.

Comments

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on July 19, 2021:

Thanks for the revisit and appreciation of my father and my efforts in telling this story.

Blessings and Love to you all.

manatita44 from london on July 18, 2021:

Took another look at your Hub. It's refreshing but my thoughts are still similar. You guys suffered a lot like the Africans and I feel for you.

You tell the story and family history well though and I'm proud that your father was such a great man. You engaged yourself in Bill's challenge very well. Much Love.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on July 18, 2021:

Thanks for your visit. But, I could not recognize you. If you please, can you introduce yourself?

I am known as Tallarevu Gandhi gari Manuvadu.

That's what my elder relatives used to introduce me to other people at functions attended by me.

Sree on July 17, 2021:

Wonderfull article....i came to know so many things about our great grand father...he was really great..i salute.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on February 21, 2020:

Thank you, Larence. I am glad that you enjoyed the story. It provided me an opportunity to tribute my ancestors.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 21, 2020:

Venkatachari

Really enjoyed the way you wove the story around the photos.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 06, 2020:

Ah I see. Well it's good to see you again.

Ann

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on February 06, 2020:

I haven't been writing here for last one year or so due to other occupations. I published a book on Economics on amazon.com and one short Hindi novel for a contest kdp pen to publish contest in this December.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 06, 2020:

You're welcome. I've missed a few of yours lately as time is too short! Trying to catch up.

Ann

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on February 05, 2020:

Glad to see you read my article and put such a nice comment, Ann.

Thanks for the appreciation of my work.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 05, 2020:

What an interesting take on this challenge, using the photos to illustrate your historical tale. You bring it alive!

Ann

manatita44 from london on February 03, 2020:

Yes, I know of their struggles. Both India and the West Indies, indeed Cuba and more, are noted for the heroes who lovingly gave their lives for freedom. Pioneers are always to be respected, especially God's very own giving their lives for their mother country. Hari Om!

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on February 03, 2020:

Thank you, MG Singh, for your visit and nice words of appreciation.

Dear Manatita,

I wanted to use this opportunity to pay tributes to my ancestors, especially that grand-grandfather, Tallarevu Gandhi. I exactly didn't know much about him except that he was a great patriot of his country and associated himself with Mahatma Gandhi during those Independence movements like the salt-satyagraha, and non-cooperation struggles going to jails at least 2,3 times as per my father's narratives of his own childhood life. So I weaved those facts and the exact location of his native place with other things to tell my story. Thanks for your encouraging comment and appreciation of my efforts.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on February 03, 2020:

Excellent article. I could see you have created a wondrous narrative.

manatita44 from london on February 03, 2020:

I admire you for the way you told the story, covering some of your ancestry as well. You seem to have used some embellishments later on but you also took us on a journey of ancestry, history and geography, which was highly appreciated.

I have also heard of Andhra Pradesh. A popular name with tourists and Indians alike. Great hearing about the older generation and their simplicity of life.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on January 30, 2020:

I am much excited while reading your comment, Harishji. Very happy that you loved it. It was really a great satisfaction for me doing this article which I couldn't do till now for so many decades.

Thanks for reading and appreciating as well as boosting my spirit.

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on January 30, 2020:

Love going through this article, which is a great tribute to your grandpa, a great freedom fighter. Through this hub, I got to know about such great man as " late Narsingh Acharyulu , popularly known as " Tallarevu Gandhi " among the masses. Venkatachariji, you should be proud of your lineage. You wrote it so well that I remained glued to the article till it ended.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on January 27, 2020:

Thank you, Dora. I am glad for the appreciation of my efforts.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 27, 2020:

This is exceptional. Weaving your personal story into the prompt makes the article outstanding, I applaud you!

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on January 26, 2020:

Peggy,

Thank you for the nice comment and visit. My grandfather didn't care even spending his life in jails for the sake of his country and people.

Linda Crampton,

Thanks for the visit and the encouraging comment.

Lora,

Thank you very much for the nice comment and the praise of my efforts. I experienced much joy after reading my own story when I completed it in such a wonderful way. It has been a great tribute to my grandfather which I couldn't offer till now.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on January 26, 2020:

Eric,

Thanks for reading my response and commenting. I have been blessed to come up with this tribute to my grandfather because of Bill's Challenge.

Verlie,

I am very happy with your appreciation of my efforts. Thanks a lot.

Ruby,

Thank you, thank you. I am very happy. I tried and succeeded because of their grace only. It's a proud moment for me.

Yes, Flourish,

My grandfather had been very brave and kind. He sacrificed his own happiness for the sake of others. He was a great patriot of his country.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on January 26, 2020:

David B Katague,

Thanks for the nice comment. I am happy that it reminded your similar experiences while visiting your ancestral home in the Philippines after a gap of 30 years. That's very nice.

Linda,

I am very happy reading your response to my hub. It's true that I haven't been writing here for the last full year. Bill's photo challenge brought me back. I haven't yet read your response. Actually, I did read only 2 other responses till now. I don't know how many submitted their responses. I need to search.

Lora Hollings on January 26, 2020:

Your story is a wonderful tribute to your grandfather, Ven, who was a very courageous man and followed in the footsteps of Ghandi. I enjoyed hearing about the history of your family and the joy that you received upon seeing the cement headstone that had been placed there by villagers that honored the bravery of your grandfather. Thank you.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 26, 2020:

I love the way in which you've linked your family history to Bill's photos! This is a very creative response to the writing challenge. I enjoyed reading it.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 26, 2020:

This is a wonderful blending of your family history with the photos inspired by those furnished by Bill. It must be wonderful to know about the bravery of your father in the fight for freedom.

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 26, 2020:

Well done. Your father was very brave. Many people do not have the courage to fight for what they believe in. You did a lovely job crafting this tale that blended history and photo references.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 26, 2020:

Ven, I am amazed how you used these photos to tell the story of your family. I am in awe at your father's bravery. You have much to be proud of. I loved reading about your family's struggle for freedom. Well done my friend.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on January 26, 2020:

Venkat, this is a beautiful response to Bill's photo challenge. What a fascinating family history revealed here. And so exciting to find your ancestors are revered and honoured to this day.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 26, 2020:

Well done. Thank you.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 26, 2020:

You have woven fact and fiction together seamlessly. I have not seen you writing here for some time. It's good to have you back. I handled this challenge very well.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on January 26, 2020:

Brother, Bill, you have ignited a wonderful spark in me and I held it with a quite stronghold. That's how I was able to create this wonderful article around my ancestral memories that were quite flimsy.

Thank you very much, my Bro, for kindling the creativity hidden in me for a long gap.

David B Katague on January 26, 2020:

I enjoyed reading this hub. It reminded me with my own experience visiting my ancestral home in the Philippines after 30 years of living in the US. The pictures are beautiful. As the saying goes, You have to know your past to see your future. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories.

Venkatachari M (author) from Hyderabad, India on January 26, 2020:

Thank you, Devika, for visiting my article and praising it with encouraging words. It was a good challenge taken by me.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2020:

Bravo! I love how you took the challenge and made it a personal voyage. Well done my friend...well done indeed!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 26, 2020:

It is interesting to have photos of an ancestral grave. You have created a memory here and a challenge that encouraged your idea. Family history is often going down memory lane to make the mood feel good.

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