Thursday, November 29, 2012


While growing up kids never bother about temples, Gods, poojas, homas and such other religious functions as they are more occuppied with their friends, games, playing, etc. This is true with all third generation kids of Badettu family who were growing up in places like Kollam, Allappuzha and Padubidri. But there was a vital difference in that those growing in Padubidri were more God conscious than those growing in urban areas. Vedavyas, Vittala and Seena were typically growing in places where sacred temples like Brahmasthana, Udipi Krishna, Padubidri Eashwara Temple, Kollur Bhagavathi, Annegudde Ganapathi, Kadiyali Durga Temple, Eashwara Temple at Yellur, Kukke Subramanya Temple, Dharmasthala, Kukke Subrahmanya Kshethra and a host of many famous temples in Uchila, Kaupu, Udyavara and others nearby. This constant exposure seems to have distinguished them from their urban cousins and it was always with envy they were looked upon by them. In terms of daily ritualistic practices and mandatory mantras one has to follow every day, these rural cousins were much superior. One of the reasons could be the constant peer pressure which they had to face living in Badettu House under the benevolent Narnappaya and the need to perform daily poojas in the house as well as in the Naga Bhana nearby. Looking back it is only with nostalgia one can remember those old days.

One of the most sacred worshipping places for Badetu family members was the much revered Brahmasthana, where there are no idols or regular pooja as being seen in almost all temples. Probably its special place in the hearts of Badettu folks might be due to the eminent position enjoyed by Narnappaya, the doyen of the family during the last 7-8 decades and even to day he is remembered and talked about by many old timers who still stay or visit Padubidri occasionally. The famous Thambiia and Dakkebali functions that take place even to day attracts many people from far and near who consider Brahmasthana as a highly revered worshiping center in the whole of southern Karnataka. While Thambila takes place every year, Dakkebali functions are held once in two years. One can understand the importance of this unique place when it is known that Dakkebali is celebrated only in any year when Udipi Paryaya is not scheduled.

Badettu Narnappaya occupies an exalted place in the history of Brahmasthana as he was the chief "Pathiri" (Purohit) in that place for a number of years because of his ability to imbibe the spirit of the Goddess presiding over Brahmasthana, Vanadurga. It is said that according to puranas Shakti or Durga used Brahmasthana as a transit point for resting and relaxing after killing the fearful demon Mahishasura.  It appears the Goddess was seen on a swing high on the trees in all Her glory by those Pathiris who are possessed by her. There is no well laid down procedures for selecting a Pathiri but only those who are possessed by the spirit of Goddess come on their on volition wherever they are. During olden days there used to be 10 Pathiris who were performing the ritual which has  come down to 2-3 these days.

Brahmasthana can be accessed through the National Highway # 17, being located between Udipi and Mangalore. From Mangalore and a 37 km drive from Mangalore or a 27 km drive from Udipi can take the visitors to Padubidri town. From there one can travel through a narrow 1.5 km tarred road to reach the sacred grove which has no building or any architectural features to identify except for a thickly wooded place within which the Goddess is supposed to be in. The grove is hardly 500 meters in length and 50 meters in width with no surrounding fence but the boundary being marked by tall trees and shrubs. Eastern side appears like a hillock and the Goddess Khadgeshwari, as She is popularly known or just "Amme" in local Tulu language supposed to be represented by a triangular rock about 9 inches in height, housed in a rectangular rock chamber. The floor of the chamber is white sand and this is the prasada of this sacred place carried home by many devotees.

Those belonging to Badettu family must visit this shrine at least once in their life time, pay obeisance to "Brahmeru" and pray for the health, welfare and prosperity of all the members. If possible a day Thambila also should be sponsored during the visit after prior consent of the management there. There is an office near the entrance of the shrine where bookings for Thambila or Dakkebali can be made. Because of many bookings well advance by people, especially from Mumbai and Chennai, organizing a Thambila or Dakkebali will have to be planned well advance. Besides the auditorium can also be used for functions like Upanayana, marriage, Shashtipoorthy, Shathabisheka etc if early approach is made to the management.

Answer to the last Quiz

Professor Sreenivasa Rao, the present caretaker of Badettu family properties and the eldest son of late Ananthrama who retired as a full fledged Professor of Chemistry Department in Manipal University. He is presently settled down in Chennai with his son Satish and family but visits frequently to carry out all the functions originally being done by Badettu family when Narnappaya was alive.

New Quiz for the current issue

Who among the Badettu family son-in-laws of second generation members rose to become an Income Tax Commissioner at Bangalore?


Sunday, November 25, 2012


Badettu Narnappaya's six sons were different personality- wise and one must admit that each one of them was character by himself. Two of the sons who stayed with him with family at Badettu House were Subbraya and Ananthrama. Though they spent part of the year in Alleppey to run the family business of the hotel Sri Krishna Bhavan, their wives and children stayed back at Padubidri for helping Narnappaya to manage the house hold. It is tribute to the two ladies, Paddakkaya, w/o Subbraya and Janakiakka, w/o Ananthrama that Badettu House remains even to day for the generations to follow to at least visit and take pride being a part of this ancient family. Unfortunately the pitiable condition of this house, due to neglect after the time of the second generation stalwarts, is some thing unbearable for every member of this large family. One can only hope that better time is ahead for this ancestral home for over 700 badettuans and their relations presently living.

Subbraya was a unique personality with his own idiosyncrasies and of all the sons of Narnappaya, he inspired some scare among the children because of his stern disposition. But by heart he was a simple person filled with kindness and sympathy for others. It appears he was one of the sons who was educated up to pre-degree level (called Intermediate, those days) and promptly joined a private firm for earning his livelihood. It was at the instance of his father he left the job and joined the Alleppey hotel management group. After partition of family property during the time of Narnappaya, he moved out to the property of his father in law, late Yogendrayya at Admar. He spent his life commuting between Padubidri and Alleppey, leading a life of contentment. Imagine
a married person living alone in a place 500 km away in a room barely furnished and that is called sacrifice for the sake of the family. Many people to day cannot even think of such a situation in life.

It is amazing to see the working arrangement at Alleppey to run the hotel efficiently. Though there were three partners on paper, at any given time only two were available for actual management because only Subbraya or Ananthrama only would be available at a time, the other being in Padubidri to spend time with his family. The portfolio of work between Venkatramana and one of the brothers in town at any given time involves opening of the hotel early morning by the latter and overseeing activities like food preparation, milking of cows and buffaloes, numbering about 20 and cash collection at the counter. It is only during late morning venkatramana, the in-residence brother at Alleppey would arrive at the hotel after his morning chores at
home including a lengthy pooja lasting about 2 hours every day. Subbraya was then relieved for his daily personal routines and taking rest only to return to duty in the late evening that includes cash tallying and closing of the establishment around 9 pm.

It appears that Subbraya suffered a serious Typhoid attack when he was about 50 years of age, probably due to the severe mental and physical strain experienced by him by frequent travels between Alleppey and Padubidri and dependence on hotel foods for his survival. Due to devoted attention he received at Admar where his father-in-law had clout with local community and sustained treatment by local doctors he recovered after a long time of suffering. The severity of the disease can be gauged from the fact that it caused some damage to his speech faculty besides some minor problems. By the grace of God he recovered almost totally in 2-3 years and continued his "prayana" to Alleppey unfailingly and unflinchingly. He was a terror to those who did not do their work properly or others not paying their bills promptly
after eating the food at the hotel.

It was remarkable that he was able to raise a family of three sons and five daughters (only three presently living), got most of them educated and married of all his daughters to reputed families in Madras and Mangalore area. His first son Vedavyas is a recognized expert in fisheries while his second son Vittal is settled down at Alleppey as a recognized Chartered Accountant of some repute. His third son Raghupathy is settled down along with his mother in Admar, looking after the ancestral property inherited by his mother from Yogendrayya. Subbraya's grand children are well settled professionals working in Bangalore, Mumbai, Udipi and Trivandrum. His son -in laws also are well known professionals with great repute.

When he moved to Admar after partition of Badettu property, the place saw a lot of improvements as he invested heavily in renovating the house and surroundings. His father-in-law was basically an agriculturist and was not in a position to invest for improving the property to any great extent. The fact that his wife was the only off spring for her father, she was to inherit the property eventually after his time. Though he worked hard in the garden to keep himself fit, his health started deteriorating after some time. His magnanimity in leaving the business to his brother after settling the partnership was indeed noble and must be lauded. Probably sheer boredom and living in Admar without the usual work he was used to at Alleppey and some pressure to fulfill his aspirations to bring about more improvements in the property, might have been the main causes for the gradual slide down of his health during his final days. He suffered a stroke making him unconscious and after being hospitalized for a week he had a peaceful death in the year 1984. His own family, members of whole Badettu clan and close friends remember and salute him for his innocence, humility, simplicity, humaneness and loving

Answer to last quiz

The one and the only genius in Badettu family, as measured by the versatility of the background, is Sunil, son of Mohan (son  of Padmanabh of Kollam), presently working with Tata Motors at Hosur who is an automobile engineer by qualification with considerable strength in inter phase electronics. He can give a discourse for hours on any topics in Hindu Philosophy. He is a versatile cook capable of making a full meal using Microwave oven with one hour, all preparations being very tasty and authentic. With high proficiency in computer hardware and software he can tear apart a PC and reassemble it in no time. In his personality one can see streaks of traits of spirituality of Swami Vivekananda, scientific genius of Sir C V Raman, entrepreneurial  glimpses of Bill Gates of Microsoft and culinary experience of Thankam Philips, all stalwarts in their own chosen field. May God bless him with more talents and long life.

Quiz for next issue

Who in the badettu family rose to become a full fledged Professor in a reputed University?


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?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Badettu family is blessed with some geniuses though they might not have become world famous. Here is a narration of the evolving of a genius whom many of us do not recognize easily. Without mentioning his name for the time being, a brief critique will be in order.

Recalling the period when the third generation descendants of BadettuNarnappaya were growing mainly in Alleppey and Kollam, the three Rams were the most prominent as they were senior to others at least by a decade. But they were relatively docile compared to many juniors who had lot of energy, enthusiasm and mischievousness oozing all over. Those are the days when the growing kids had no inhibition about anything though they were punished severely for any wrong doing. Using the cane was a standard practice and many of them would recall those days, not with any regret but with lot of admiration for their parents for correcting them and making good citizens later in life.

There is a specific instance of a youngster in one of the second generation families who was literally a prodigal with enormous self confidence and courage to do what ever he felt was correct. This family was not financially as sound as others and with cash flow into the family coffers severely constrained, carrying out day to activities was itself a burden. In such an environment studying to become a graduate or engineer or any professional was unthinkable. It used to be the norms those days that the children of hoteliers must eventually take over the business from their parents. It is remarkable that under such circumstances some of the third generation kids in Badettu family got educated becoming chartered accountants, professors, scientists, engineers etc. One of the reasons could have been the fact that there were too many off springs in the family and the business as it existed those days was not big enough to accommodate all of them!

Speaking about this youngster being focused in this Blog, he had a saintly father with an infectious and benign smile on his face who could never loose his temper while his mother was a stern matron with determination written all over her face to make up for the soft spoken father. As they were not able to have sufficient surplus funds to give higher education to all their children, only those who showed promise received adequate support for higher education. In spite of such financial constraints this family produced a chemical engineer and a chartered accountant who brought name and fame to Badettu family.  Unfortunately one among them did not have any inclination to go through the traditional education system, always looking for doing some thing different.

Even before he could become a fully responsible adult he left his home seeking fortunes else where doing things different on his own way. With his casual training in family restaurant services in hotels locally, he first approached one of the most reputed and well established hotels in madras where he spent some years as an accountant proving his mettle unequivocally but left there because of his perceived feeling that his merit and ability were not recognized by the management. It was then that he saw an opportunity for serving the country when Chinese aggression was at its peak and appeals to youngsters from the government for recruits to join Air Force. With no hesitation and a dreamy face he joined the Air Force, got trained for aircraft servicing as a ground service technical personnel, did meritorious work and left the Air Force later to lead a civilian life. Remarkably he was picked up by Air India, the Flagship of Indian civil aviation sector, to become a senior service engineer eventually retiring from service later. He is an inspiration to other youngsters who cannot attain high educational qualification due to fund constraints.

Interestingly this person is a versatile specimen of humanity having high spiritual knowledge, well versed in palm reading, horoscope interpretation and religious discourses and Hindu philosophy. Though he was involved in a ghastly car accident in which the car was a total wreck, crippling him for an year, he regained his physical health in no time through sheer will power and determination. Such an accident would have persuaded any ordinary mortal not to drive an automobile any more but this person drives his car even to day with no fear or inhibition, covering hundreds of kilometers every month, visiting more than 4000 temples in different parts of the country during the last several years. He is blessed with a son who can be described only as a genius of great capabilities, excelling his father in many walks of life. His daughter is also well settled with her husband possessing a versatile personality with multifaceted abilities including cooking and electronic wizardry. This is how God blesses those who pursue a life style like this person has followed during the last 5 decades.

Who is this gentleman? If you have not guessed correctly, here is the answer. The prodigal son is none other than Mr Mohan of Kollam, the saintly father was late Padmanabh (son of BadettuNarnappaya), the stern mother Lakshmi. He has settled down in Trivandrum after retiring from Air India. As he is a prolific traveler and a jovial social extrovert, members of Badettu family can see him one day or the other when he knocks on the door!

Answer to the Quiz of last issue

Dr Pangal Sheshagiri Rao was the reputed dental surgeon, practicing for more than 5 decades in Madras who married Vishala of Badettu family (Venkatramana branch). He is presently settled down in Paniyur near Uchila (UdipiTaluk) about to complete years soon with good health and peaceful life.

Quiz for the current issue

Who was the one and only skin specialist of repute and who was one of the son-in-laws in Badettu family?


Monday, November 5, 2012


How easy is the life for to day's generation to buy things of daily life with all the super markets and malls offering every conceivable need of the consumer under one roof. Added to this on almost all packs, well sealed and tamper proof, the MRP ( maximum retail price) is printed and no buyer needs to pay more than the prescribed price with the knowledge what is inside the pack and the quantity. It is another matter that many packed goods are sold by the retailers at prices significantly below the MRP, giving an empty satisfaction of being a good bargainer for thousands of consumers. But just 3-4 decades ago there was just ordinary shops and there were road side vendors offering goods with high bargain potential.

In a story told by Vedavyas, presently the senior most icon in Badettu family, late Badettu Narnappaya was an excellent bargainer, especially with small scale vendors and can get many things at seemingly low prices, unimaginable to many. In one instance his bargaining ability was brought out when he was returning from Alleppey along with Vedavyas, probably in 1950s. Here is take on this interesting episode.

From Alleppey to Padubidri, during those days one has to really take too much efforts requiring high stamina to reach Padubidri. The journey involves catching a bus or a boat from Alleppey to Ernakulam and the bus route has a ferry to be crossed at a place called Aroor. After arriving at Ernakulam, the next leg of the journey is by overnight train reaching Mangalore late morning of next day. Private buses plying between Mangalore and Udipi had to do a "relay" journey with separate buses at three river crossing points to reach Padubidri. The famous Taj Mahal Hotel, which exists even to day at the historic Hampenkatta, was a "must stop" for travelers coming by train for break fast or meals. It was during such a trip that Narnappaya showed his bargaining skill to Vedavyas.

Hampenkatta was a central market place for road side vendors and flower, especially jasmine was being sold by Christian women known popularly as "bais" who normally quote a price which is uniformly followed by all. But there was sufficient leeway for each of these bais to sell at prices decided between the seller and the buyer. Narnappaya, with his typical "juttu" (pony tail like tuft) approached one of the bais, while crossing the road going to Bus Stand wanting to buy a "Chendu" (about 1 meter long stringed flower). Almost all bais started calling him "Batru" (revered brahmin) inviting to buy from them. Against Rs 2 for a chendu, Narnappaya coolly offered 4 annas (quarter of a rupee) and probably Vedavyas was covering his head not able to stomach this ridiculous price offered by his grandpa.

Not bothered about the likely the ridicule he might face, Narnappaya patiently approached the bais one by one making his Annas offer and finally he struck a bargain for 8 Annas ! The art of bargaining as reflected by this episode seems to have disappeared to day with people flush with money give whatever is asked for without realizing the actual value of the item purchased. This is not to say that no one does bargaining any more in the modern society and it is true that there are many house wives existing even to day endowed with such a skill.

One wonders how bad Narnappaya would have felt, had he lived long enough to see the supermarkets of to day where prices are fixed with no scope for any bargain!

Answer to the last quiz

No one in Badettu family has a flying license though Mr Mohan, son of late Padmanabh of Kolam, was the first person who served in Indian Air Force as well as Air India in the aircraft engineering service.

Quiz for this Issue

Who was the first son-in-law of Badettu family who became a successful dental surgeon of repute?