From the Chronicles

Balthu Pirreir Kamthi of the Bajpe Kuntala Kambla 'guththu' sat in deep thought over a marital alliance proposed for his son Duja from the powerful and illustrious Sanctis family of the Bolkunje `guththu'.

There was an earlier alliance with this same family, when his own brother Jacobe's son Philip had married an elder sister of the one now proposed. The Pirreir `vvoerre' (barat) had then gone from Bajpe to Bolkunje sitting on elephant backs. A sight so impressive, that it had floored even the mighty Sanctises. Which apparently had now prompted them to give the younger Sanctis sister Florina, to the Kuntala Kambla household. To Duja, or Joseph to be precise.

It would be a good alliance. Sanctises had history and good lineage. There were also stories handed down about an earli-er doyen of the clan who had ingeniously saved the family from Tippu Saltan's clutches. Some do say that it was very wily of this elder to have tricked a whole army by taking on the role and performing pujas like a temple `bhat', but so what.

That was over a century ago. The tidings the easterly winds had fetched up from the roaring waters of the Arabian Sea on the Mangalore coast, had greatly worried the old man Sanctis. Tippu had just been beaten at war in the battle of Mangalore, and turned his wrath on the Mangalorean Catholics -- a community whose keen intelligence, acumen and accomplishments in the fields of education, industry and agriculture, had already caught the eye of the invading foreign powers, who had sought to favour and patronise them.

But because of Tippu's on-going war with the English, the vanquished Sultan was looking for scapegoats to blame his defeat on. And so he ordered that all members of this community be arrested, and their places of worship be razed do the ground. The very stones from the destroyed Rosario Cathedral were used to construct the Idgah atop the Ediya hill in the elevated heart of the city of Mangalore. Balthu remembered with horror the stories of how many a scion of the illustrious families of the community taken in custody, had met their gory end at Seringapatam, rolled down the famous Tippu's Drop.

As news of Tippu's marching troops and of their atrocities kept floating up to Bolkunje. Sanctis had decided to act. He called a family conclave to decide on a strategy to ward off the threat. This excellent relations with their Hindu neighbours helped. They now rallied round to evolve a plan to outwit the troops. On their advice all the men folk of Sanctis fief-dom -- from the senior most to the low down menials -- pierced their ears to wear ear-rings. And the women-folk displayed fancy nose-rings, as were in vogue among the women of their Hindu neighbours.

And then Sanctis despatched his ambassadors to call on the `Khan' sahebs of Tippu's army units, inviting them over to have a taste of his hospitality. The troops were welcomed with fanfare and treated to the choicest of meats from the fatted calf, Poultry from the tastiest of country chicken, and booze from the traditional family brew. The lavish banquet over, the burping troops were piled with gifts and presents, and seen off ceremoniously, to move on in search of their next prey.

The strategist old man Sanctis had saved the day in history, for himself and members of his household. Balthu secretly admired the presence of mind exhibited by this old man Sanctis. Switching back his mind to the issue at hand, Balthu decided that Florina Sanctis would be a nice, suitable bride for his Joseph. He put in a silent prayer to the departed soul of his father Anthon and his grandfather Inas and all his forefathers, to intercede for him in heaven and see that this decision of his has the blessings of the heavens in abundance. So that they beget children and grandchildren aplenty, to carry on the fair name of the family. And yours truly is one of these grandchildren of this alliance, who has picked up this page from the family chronicles for your reading pleasure.

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Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com



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