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My memories of life in Barkur
was born in my mother's native place Thonse, near Kallianpur. But I
spent most of my childhood in Barkur, happily. Actually, Barkur is my
fatherís native place. I studied in Mary Knoll School up to 3rd
standard, and my brother was studying in 5th standard then.
Suddenly, my brother and I were transferred to the National Upper
Primary School at Henehalli. (Locally this school was popularly known as
Gudde Shaale). I was too small then to know the reason why we were
pulled out from the current school and moved to another. But later on I
came to know that some politics was involved in it. And perhaps some
sort of school quota system, based on how near to the school the
students lived. Whatever the reasons were, it wasnít easy to adjust to
different school, to new teachers, and especially in making new friends.
Such little episodes cannot be forgotten.
we were going to Maryknoll School, we were living at Nalkudru. The plot
we occupied belonged to "Abut Naikar".
(Later I came know that his name was Albert DíSouza.)
I used to call him Abut Mama. (Our mother tongue is Tulu). And
his mother was my loving Ajji. (Grand mother). Even to this day I
donít know her real name. She lives in my memory as my Ajji only. In
those years, 1965, Abut Naikar family was quite popular and famous in
Nalkudru as well as in the surrounding villages, having acres and acres
of paddy fields, sugar cane plots, vegetables, and many other
agricultural fields, pair of large Kirloskar pump sets and of course
several workers. Having a pump set was considered prestige in those days.
Not just one pair, but two pairs of water buffaloes he raised.
These pairs of buffaloes were raised just to take part in "Kambala"
(Buffalo Race), which was his passion.
I donít remember too many details of Kambala, but I believe, on
the day of Vandaar Kambala, Abut
Naikar's plot used to get filled with hundreds of people. Band sets,
several kinds of Dhol (Drum) and other instrumental musical groups from
different Koraga community. I do still remember that was the day of
festivity and merrymaking. There used to be small shops, selling
watermelons, channa dal, ground nuts/pea nuts, and especially dark
skinned spiny sweet potatoes, a must item to take home. These were
delicious. Those days, only two pairs of buffalos used to participate in
this Kambala from Barkur area. And
these were from this single house, which indeed was a great big deal and
prestigious. (Itís like having car races or horse races.) Only the
rich could afford to raise such buffaloes exclusively for Kambala, and
host such races.
lived there for about two years. And
then Papa purchased a new plot at Hanehalli and we moved to our new
home. But, till today those lovely moments are still in my memory.
(Sorry to say my Abut Mama has been strangely missing since last almost
25 years. I heard he is alive and is settled somewhere in Goa.
Hope itís true, and I thank God for this.)
My Papa was the President of PJMC society in Barkur itself. From the Gudde Shaale we used to go home for lunch. We were getting 2 hours of lunch break. After my lunch, my duty was to carry the lunch box for papa to his office. Papaís office was located adjacent to the current Vikas Electricals. Before the Vikas Electricals opened, this shop (just the building not the business), was owned by Eddie Pais. For delivering lunch box to my father, I used to get two Anaas as tips from Papa. (I was the youngest and my Papa was very fond of me, and he loved all of us.) Two Anaas, was a lot of money in those days for me especially at that young age. I used to spend one Anaa to buy chocolates, and my favorite snack Ellu-Bella made from sesame seeds and jaggary from Marthappayya's shop which was near Kalchapra. I used to save the other Anaa for Igarji habba, Ther habba, Shedi habba and Haal habba, which are just a few of the country fairs or festivals celebrated and enjoyed in Barkur, even to this day. (Kalchapra: Itís a stone pendal, four strong tall stone pillars supporting a roof made up of stone slabs. Itís a beautiful structure using black stones, and it is a great historical monument located in the center/heart of Barkur). In those days, Marthappayyaís shop was the only one wholesale, retail, grocery, and grain shop in Barkur. I remember, at least one fully-over-loaded truck every day parked in front of the shop. There were very few motor vehicles driven on the roads of Barkur. Those were the hey days of bullock carts. All the goods to the Santhe (weekly market) were brought by bullock carts. This shop had to be demolished, to make room for the new road caused by the bridge on river Seetha. But still, Gopalkrishna, son of Marthappayya is continuing the same business successfully at their house just near Kalchapra.
hotel was very popular in those days at Kalchapra. But I liked Dosa and
Potato Bhaaji of Kamatís restaurant on Car Street.
In this hotel the furniture was clean, well cleaned floors, tasty
food, thus a neat hotel situated near Ganapathi temple. The Bhaaji was
really delicious. I have never found such tasty Bhaaji anywhere else
even to this day. The bakery business is still going on in that place.
Whenever I visited Papaís office or the bank, I used to visit
Kamatís restaurant to have a Dosa Bhaaji. There was just one Bank in
the entire Barkur region that was Syndicate Bank, which was located near
summer vacation or at any other holiday period, we used to anxiously
wait to go to Grannyís house in Thonse. We had to cross the
river Seeta in two stages by small open boat (Dhoni). On the
other side of river we used to catch the bus (Hanuman Company).
This bus was available for only two trips per day, to go to
Brahmavar, or Kallianpur, till next river.
just cannot forget this famous spot:
In front of the Gudde Shaale (just next to the present National
College) there was a large ground locally called "Makkala Katte
Gudde." School children used to play football on that ground. But
strangely enough, people were not allowed to cross the ground during
mid-noon, and elderly persons were never permitted to go near the ground
at dark. There was a saying that, there were evil spirits, devils, or
ghosts moving around during that time, who could persecute the humans.
(This was a haunted place.) There were rumors that once a year
Ďtheyí organized grand carnival in that ground to please the devil.
However, according to me it must be the height of stupidity or ignorance
at its pinnacle. The
government has distributed several acres of that ground to poor families
now each plot measuring 3 to 5 cents. Houses have been constructed and
now many families are living in that area. Where have the devils gone?
Where is the carnival of ghosts? In fact, there was nothing of that
sort, but stories were made to frighten or control the people, I
suppose. Even in this advanced 22nd century, some people from
all religions are wrapped up with deep superstitious beliefs, in Barkur.
This is really a pensive or a serious subject. And unfortunately, some
persons self-claiming as necromancers (communicating with the dead) are
taking advantage of the weakness of these unfortunate people.
People should be aware of such malpractices, and attempts must be
made to stay away from such nasty witchcrafts, or from the so called
miracles workers, who nothing but cheat businesses and simple people by
course, Barkur was a tiny town. But now we can see it's growing to be a
big city. Now each and every daily necessity is available here. No need
to jump to other cities like Udupi, Mangalore, or Kundapoor for
shopping, as was done in
me, after 7th standard I left to Mumbai with my sister for
further studies which completed over there. But I am pleased to let you
all know, that I have returned and presently settled happily in Barkur
with my family. Long
live Barkur and our Barkurians.
For a glimpse of the life at Barkur as remembered by Barkurians, check archives
Barkur, located in Udupi Taluk, Karnataka, India. 576 210
Copyright Kishoo, Barkur 2002.