“This house saved us!
From this one!”
It IS ONE SUMMER NIGHT IN 1940 AND THE LOCATION IS THE FOREST NEAR PALLIVASAL, MOONNAR. The tropical forest is thick and full of dangerous animals. There is no one inhabiting the place anywhere in eye sight. There is a mud track that takes traffic passing through the middle of the forest. A tourist bus comes slowly up the hill through the forest and at one point just stops. All the lights are gone and the engine is dead. Any attempt by the driver to start the bus fails. All the passengers in the bus are now in pitch darkness in the middle of the forest. There is no way to spend the night in the bus as the area is not safe to sleep unprotected in the open.
The passengers start to walk away in panic, aided only by the glimmer of light from the stars. Ruben, a school teacher, spots a light in the distance on a tree top. He walks fast and beats everyone to it and shouts at the top of his voice. A man opens the door of his tree house and peers out.
And then something amazing happened. The man from the tree top lowered the ladder and ran down to Ruben in a hurry.
“Sir, why are you here in the middle of the night? It is dangerous to walk alone in the forest at night. Come stay with us for the night.”
He was one of Ruben’s umpteen students. Ruben remarked to me years and years later that being a teacher has its good moments despite the poor pay, and this was a life-saving one indeed!
Ruben was on his way to visit his brother working in Pallivasal Power Project inaugurated that year (1940).It was the very first power project in Kerala, meaning that entire Kerala had depended on lamps before that time!
Can you believe this story? Well, you probably cannot, but it is every bit true! Do you know who the two brothers were? My grand dad, C.I. Chandy was the teacher and his brother in Pallivasal was C.I. Abraham.
It was the period of reign of the last King of Tranvancore, Sri Chitra Balaramavarma and his prime minister, called Diwan, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer. C.P. is credited with the success of the Pallivasal project which was otherwise beset with legal troubles.
Here is a 125 years old man!
Yes, and no!
I mean, I have butted heads with people born couple of centuries back! Around 1890 to be precise! That includes all of the patriarchs of Chathoth Vallamkulam family!
The essence of life is memories, isn’t it?
I have memories- actual or vicarious – as old as 1890s.
Now, here is the question? Who doesn’t like to hear stories?
If you are one of them, let me know, and I will have to re-calibrate my story-telling drive.
Otherwise, I will be posting a few hitherto unpublished real stories in the days to come.
In this age and time, we don’t go by Abrahamic (males only) organization of family tree, we go by all the men and women. I get it, but this is easy to remember and fun, so let us do it. I hope you guys like this post. Let me know, okay?
It is interesting to compare Chathoth family with the biblical Abraham’s new family. It is interesting that
the first three patriarchs are the first three generations, Abraham himself, Isaac and Jacob. Same with Chathoth, Kochandychen -1 started the journey from Konkara and his next two generations are Kochandychen -2 and Icca, both Kochandychen -2 and Icca were their parent’s only sons, so we have three patriarchs – Kochandychen – 1 , Kochandychen – 2 and Icca. Really interesting stuff!
Biblically Jacob, later called Israel, fathered the twelve tribes of Israel. However, Icca Chathoth, the Jacob or Israel of Chathoth family, fathered only five tribes of Chathoth, not twelve. Here is where the comparison ends. We have parallels for Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and Dan in Chandy, Abraham, Mathew, Thomas and George!
If you spotted your name in the chart above, post the word ‘whoa’ in the comments section.
Here is how the family website becomes very useful.
“So when did you become a Christian?”
“Were you a Hindu and when did you convert?”
“Are there lots of Christians in India?”
“Which part of the world are you from?”
“Tell me something about your family history back in India.”
Many of us would have had to answer these questions at some point of time. Then what do you say? It depends on what we know and and how articulate we are and how much time we have on our hands to explain, etc. An easy answer will be “I don’t know.”
But now we have a better way of answering any of these questions or other variations of them. This is what I did today in Winnipeg, Canada. Terry was volunteering with me for the Promise Keepers National Conference inside the Church of the Rock and he asked me some of these questions. And guess what I did? I pulled up the website on my cellphone and gave it to him to read. In a few minutes he had a general idea about everything he wanted to know. So, you can do that too.
But that is where the buck stops. Here is a good thought I heard in the conference today. History is a good reference, but we do not reside in the history. We need monuments, but we are more interested in the movements, which is why Christianity was called The Way during first century.
Zig Ziglar has many motivational stories about how to view the past. Here is one of my favorites. I am paraphrasing here. Past is important in so much as it brought us to where we are, but it is not nearly as important as how we see our future.
Joshua 3. 7-8: And the Lord said to Joshua, “TODAY I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.”
Today is the day.
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