Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Penku Purugu - Chaganti Somayajulu

Here is an interesting story by the master story teller Sri Chaganti Somayajulu.

I don't have any intention of infringing on the copyrights here.
This is a tribute by an ardent fan!

The Dung Beetle

Till yesterday or the day before Appayamma also eked out her living with scrubbing and cleaning utensils. In the Gunadalas street she is addressed as Appi.

She now has no need to clean utensils and other things. It is past nine months since she has come over that need. Appi took another birth and turned into Appayamma.

There are advantages in cleaning utensils. Family people give rice and curries to her. When a festival or an occasion, marriage or such comes up they would not let her go just like that. The work may be menial but has its advantages.

Appi, till the other day went to cleaning work, in inadequate dirty stinking clothes. Now, after turning into Appayamma, her body is full of twines that bloom. Hair that was like jute because of no oil or such, now shines like a black bee, with curls and is hanging as a long plait behind.

Appayamma did not find anything to do in the street. That is a street of waged workers. Men and women go out for work. Alone, unable to spend time with the old and children left behind, she ventured onto the road.

She likes the cattle that stray on to the road. If the bullock carts come she would lose herself. She loves the carts too. Carts means, the bullocks and the he buffalos tied to them are dearer to her.

By nine the wagers street was deserted. Appayamma came on to the road and stood up. There is a line of carts coming up. She was waiting for them with ecstasy.  On looking at the Naidus on the carts, her liking for the bullocks and the he buffalos increased. Carts are from Bhogapuram. Her mother’s village Lingalavalasa is half a mile away from Bhogapuram.

She asked the Naidu sitting on the first cart “Oh! Brother! Which village are the carts from?”

“Bhogapuram” answered Naidu.

“Only since I could make out, I asked after all. Is Surinaidu of Lingalavalasa alright?” she questioned in turn.

“What about him. He is like a bullock. He is there on a cart behind” he told.

The line of carts was very long. The city businessman has bought the ground nut crop of three villages in one go. The carts from all the villages around Bhogapuram were there. Waiting for Surinaidu, Appayamma was examining each and very cart. She forgpt her purpose of coming onto the road and was pining for Surinaidu.

Surinaidu appeared. He was sitting on the front portion of the cart. Does he know Appi like one thing? They are from the same village. In dresses and diggings if he would not know her whoelse would know?

“Hey! Suriga!” she accosted him. Surinaodu could not recognize Appayamma. On listening to the voice he shuddered and looked at her. He jumped from the cart and stopped it. The whole line of carts came to a halt.

“Oh! Appi! Is that you?’ have picked up a lot of city style! I mistook you for some Brahmin lady!” he said with wonderment. Appi laughed. Her eyes got closed. Her body shhok..

Suri mistook Appi for a Brahmin lady. It is two years since he saw her. Appi stopped going to the mothers palce since two years.

“Would you, at least this year, come to the Mother God’s Festival?” he asked.

“I shall” said she. She thought it would be imperative to go to the village after Appi became Appayamma.

“Don’t ever forget Suri. OK” said Suri.

“Would I talk if I forgot?” she said. All the carts behind were stopped.

“Hey! Drive the cart!’ someone shouted.

For Naidu, driving the cart was sure difficult. He was aghast seeing Appi. What does he know that Appi is now Appayamma. What does he know that her body would be filled with twines, flowers and colours? What does he know that she would leave her pliats hanging with flowers in it? What does he know that golden pendants would be hanging from her ears?

Only that he would know, Appayamma stopped the bullock carts. Only to show the difference between Appi with the waterpot and the city Appayamma shining with twines and colours, she stopped the carts.

The carts went their way.

Appi’s husband is Kamaraju. He established a brick kiln. Bricks fetched good returns. In the street where laborers never had a dime, Kamaraju became a man with papers. Now, there are color notes in handfuls. Appi came out of the tedium of cleaning utensils. Golden pendants came to her ears.

Appayamma came onto the road because she found the street sans any idea. She could see money scattered on the road. Why sit idle? If there is more money would it be bitter? Their street was the main road for many villages. All the carts go that way only. There would be dung all the time filling the road. There is money in the dung! If one makes dung cakes, there would be fistful of coins.

Appayamma is buying a lot of sarees. Now there are colors in all the sarees. Twines and flowers in them. Her hands are full of dung. There are dung heaps all around the house. There are wet dung cakes on all the walls. Her house is filled with the stench of the dung. The whole body reeks of dung.

Appayamma is good looking. She has the right age too. She is a blue shining lotus. She is the beetle in the dung. Dung beetle is a good looking creature.

1 comment:

Mangu Siva Ram Prasad said...

Vijaygopalgaru. Namaste. Best wishes for a happy New Year. I read your English translation Dung beetle of Chaso's Telugu story 'Penku Purgu.'On 31st Dec. night, while searching for information on Chaso in the Google, I chanced upon it and enjoyed reading it along with my wife Ramadevi and friend Bhamidipati Subbarao, son-in-law of famous story and novel writer. Gandikota Brahmaji Rao. On 2nd January 2012, we are organising a literary meeting here to commemorate Chaso's death anniversary.Speaking on that occasion, I would like to mention the story,'Penku Purugu', which shows how an enterprising woman can change her fortune with intelligence, typical of Chaso's style. Your effort is commendable in the sense that it brings a famous Telugu writer's simple story into the limelight for wider audience.---Regards,
Mangu Siva Ram Prasad, Cell:9866664964, Visakhapatnam. 1.1.2012