Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Badettu family of yesteryear thrived mainly on hotel business in Alleppey and Kollam and by the time the third generation youngsters arrived, interest in this activity had considerably diminished. A couple of third generation members who joined the hotel business could not cope up with the modern trends in this field and to day there is practically no visible presence in this sector though from the Tripunithra branch of Badettu family there emerged a powerful hotel chain centered around Ernakulam now being looked after by the third and fourth generation members in that group. Interestingly from the Padubidri branch not even a single person got into catering training, all opting for conventional university education or professional courses. It is another matter that there are many third, fourth and fifth generation members establishing their credentials in their chosen fields. A larger question is whether genetically there is a lack of entrepreneurship in the blood of Badettu family members? The answer is a "no" if one considers the early childhood pranks of some of the third generation members are taken into consideration.

Badettu family in Padubidri during early years had two separate nucleus families belonging to Subbraya and Anantharama and all were living in harmony as far as one can guess to day. Both Subbraya and Ananthrama spend a major part of the year in Alleppey, joining their brother, Alleppey settled Vankatramana to run the hotel business which was based in a 62 cents land opposite the renowned Boat Jetty. To days seniors in the third generation including Vedavyas, Vittala and Srinivasa were born and brought up in Badettu House. They had their education till matriculation in schools in Padubidri and there after joined the famous SanatanaDharma College in Alleppey for their higher education. Here is a small episode in Badettu family involving one of the youngsters, hardly 12 years old then venturing into a business not usually done by Brahmins.

Young Vedavyas who was a mischievous kid had many bright ideas about business but finally found poultry farming an attractive one. This may be probably due to his friendship with some of his class mates hailing from nearby who aspired to have regular income for buying things they wanted for which their parents would not give. The objective of his venture was not to kill the birds but raise them for laying eggs and earn some money in the process. Bear in mind that those are the days after the World War II when there were shortages of every consumer items and young Vedavyas has to be admired for his thinking about making money selling eggs locally though he never factored the likely reaction this would have elicited from elders if they come to know about it.

A layer bird those days costed about Rs 10 and initially the kids targeted for buying two of them for which some capital was required besides a place to rear them. Being a Brahmin house hold it would have been unthinkable that they could do the business from their homes. They hit upon an idea to make use of the tenants of Badettu family who were staying nearby being the crop sharers of the Badettu family. They entered into an agreement whereby they would pay Rs 20 to him as a capital investment and pay regularly a small amount daily towards feed expenses. Of course these sums were princely by the standards prevalent then though it is peanuts for to day's kids who get regular pocket money for buying all their needs such as candies, chocolates, ice cream, soda etc. It is interesting to know how the young business kid Vedavyas went about collecting the needed money for his egg venture.

As it usually happens in any group of kids there would be one who is splurger on whom the entire group leans heavily and in this case Vedavyas was a splurger with no hesitation to open his purse for any thing he feels right. This trait continues even to day in spite of frequent advice from elders that he should be more careful with money! Those who do not consider money as the supreme factor in life over riding all other qualities, are invariably magnanimous in all spheres of human endeavor. Breaking his head over the immediate need for money for giving shape to his egg business, he hit upon an idea and that was to tap his Ajja (BadettuNarnappaya) who was also very liberal in money matters and he invariably kept his purse in an open place, not hidden from other family members. For quite some time Vedavyas had a nice time literally helping himself from his Ajja's unguarded treasury and started his business.

It was later he realized that depending on one source for his need might not be wise and started using the same tactic with his father's valet. His father Subbraya was not as careless as his Ajja and had a better grip over his money. Though he knew that some money was missing he assumed that his wife had taken it for purpose. However this did not last long and poor kid was caught red handed one day. One can imagine the consequences there after with Vedavyas receiving severe punishment for his courage to start a poultry unit right behind the house, contrary to the tenets of Madhwa philosophy. Still Vedavyas comes out of this episode as a courageous kid with firm conviction on whatever he takes up, a trait not frequently found nowadays.

Same Vedavyas, by a twist of irony, became one of the foremost fisheries scientists through his hard work in the college and in institutions where he was employed for almost 3 decades. A long journey for this Icon of Badettu family and that too a successful one for which we all salute him. Long live our dear Vedavyasanna!

Answer to the last Quiz

Dr U Sridhara Rao of Madras who married Sarojini, eldest daughter of Subbraya, second son of Badettu Narnappaya. was a renowned Skin Specialist with high reputation. Though he is no more his noble children are continuing his service oriented ideals at Madras even to day.

Quiz for this Issue

Is there a wizard in Badettu group who is a versatile professional with expertise in automobile engineering, electronic engineering, ancient philosophy and modern cookery?


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