Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Goralamma - The Sheep Women

Goralamma in Telugu means Sheep women, Gorra is sheep amd amma is women or mother depends on how one interprets it.  Goralamma is the honorary title given to my paternal grandmother who lives in a tiny village called Bandarlapalle in Chittooor district of Andhra Pradesh bordering Karnataka, not far from where I live in Kolar Gold Fields. I can't remember a single occasion when she has left her home or the village, maybe once in the last 30 years to attend the marriage of my uncle and her favourite son some 15 yrs back.

She has not changed even a bit since my early memories of her going back 30 years, now I  am 34 and she looks the same to me, bright shining eyes, good vision and hearing and an amazing set of teeth. She has a wrinkled face, a bent back and probably would not weigh more than 35 kilograms or so. Her memory is amazing, remembers even small incidents which happened several decades ago, and knows everything happening in the family and the village. Her family is not small she has 6 children, 21 grand children and 10 great grand children and remembers each and everyone. I am being the only one in the family to have gone abroad is her favourite grandchild I think or I would like to think.

She is a women of real character, she probably got married in her teenage years, and lost her husband when her children including my father were still small and she took on herself to bring them up single handedly. The local village landlords did indeed give her a tough time, but she survived along with her children, thanks to a small plot of land and some goats. She had a couple of goats which were the life line of the family providing milk and some money. Those goats gradually grew in numbers and sheep's were added to her herd. My uncle i.e my fathers older brother gave her a hand in sheep rearing, since she had a huge heard of sheep she was called Goralamma.

Another reason she wants people to call her Goralamma, is the superstition that if they call her by name or call her as Avva (Grandmother in Telugu) she might die soon. Whatever the reasons, she struggled to bring her family to a certain social standing and paved way for prosperity, thanks to the family profession of sheep rearing. Now she is a proud Kuruba Gowdathi, queen of her little empire.

1 comment:

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    Ravi Jogin , Bellary