Saturday, 19 December 2015

Anandayi

[Women as a person or social agency of power is invariably deified before she is valued and the methodology of her worship literally iconises her. This tale remarks on the domestic hierarchy and the control of female's life by the male. This story is collected from the former South Arcot district (which is now divided into Villupuram and Cuddalore districts of Tamil Nadu) The title of this story is Anandayi. Anandayi is a Goddess represented by a face made out of flour paste, on a coconut that is placed on a pot. She has no specific form or temple of her own. Offerings are made to her at midnight, following the worship of the family deity. Men do not worship Anandayi. Tales about Anandayi are often recounted in clusters.]

 A husband and wife lived in a place called Vadapaakam. One day, the husband who had gone out came back to eat his meal. His wife was then in the brinjal garden. She hurried in when her husband called her. Her sari got caught in a thorny plant. She tried to untangle it, it was not possible to do so in a hurry. 'Chee! Let go of my cloth,' she urged the plant. She spoke these words as she thought her husband would be waiting impatiently.

Her words fell into her husband's ears. He thought she was talking to a man and demanded suspiciously, 'Who was that?' 'No one,' she said. He did not believe her. He dragged her around and beat her. She was fatally hurt and died. From then on, for seven generations, no girl was born in that family. Everyone in that clan would gather year after year and fill seven winnowing fans with many things and make an offering. Girls were born to them only after that.

This tale is sourced from the anthology, "Hundred Tamil Folk and Tribal Tales" translated by Sujatha Vijayaraghavan published by Orient Blackswan. For more tales like these, you can buy a copy of the  book here:

book here