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
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.
Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can
interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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