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At a very young age he started writing 'Thullal Kadhakal' and performed them on stage

Birth of Kunjan Nambiar
Though ‘Kunjan Nambiar’ is well known to all Keralites, very few will be aware of the myth about the origin of Kunjan. At a place called Vanneri an utterly penurious Namboori was living without finding a way to come out of poverty. When he could not find any resource to marry off his daughters, he decided to amass some wealth from other places and started on a journey.

He went to the royal families in Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvithamkoor and conveyed the plight of his grief. He managed to get some help by way of donation from these families and was on his return journey. By the time he reached a place known as Killikkurissi Mangalam he was very tired. When he reached the temple, as the time was nearing afternoon he called out asking if the afternoon ritual (pooja) was over. Hearing this the priest came out of the temple and said, "Yes it is over; but, you may have a quick bath and have food."

The moment he heard this, Namboori quickly went to the temple pond. Keeping the bag containing the pouch with donation money he received, at the bank of the pond, he had a quick wash. When he returned to the steps for wearing his clothes he almost fainted, because the bag was missing! With such a shock, having lost half his life and entire hunger he returned to the temple; he explained his woe to the people present there with the intention of finding out if anybody saw or knew anything about his pouch. But none of them had gone near the pond at that time. So everyone denied seeing the pouch. Believing his entire collection money was lost, he at last decided not to deprive him of the food too. But the loss of such a large fund was too much to bear and the grief he was afflicted with did not allow him to have even few morsels of food. He was so exhausted by then that he spread his towel on the floor of the temple for a small nap. But the sudden thought that sleeping like this would not help him in any way, made him get up and walk away.

After a passage of time Namboori started on his mission again. This time too he reached Killikkurissi Mangalam on his way. The time was near about dusk so he had a wash and went to the temple for prayers. Later he decided to have a light dinner there itself. When he saw the old priest he remembered his earlier experience. The priest also jokingly told him, "Incase you have forgotten your purse today also, on the banks at the pond, very little food would suffice isn’t it?"

Then Namboori replied, "Today where do I have that much money? My journey has just commenced."

When he finished his dinner, he felt sleepy and so he asked the priest if some place could be arranged for resting at night. The priest agreed it could be done and took him to his residence and arranged for a bedroom. They sat in the courtyard to have betel nut and a courtesy chat. The lady of the house, the priest’s wife, came out with the betel-nut box and took out all the ingredients from the box; the Brahmin lady also decided to listen to the small talk between Kunjan and her husband.

While narrating his family matters the priest mentioned that inspite of performing all sorts of rituals etc. they did not have a child and there was no ray of hope left. He added that on this account they were both very much dispirited. Listening to their story Namboori narrated his miseries. He said he had no male offspring and what he had were three girls. He was moving from place to place to find some fund for their marriage. In between he repeated the bitter experience he had on his last trip while passing through their place. When he remembered that, his throat was choking with emotion and the Brahmin lady noticed that. As she herself felt sad on hearing that, she requested him to explain in detail, again. Namboori narrated in detail his experience at the pond during his last visit.

On hearing everything the lady went inside. She returned with a pouch. She asked the Namboori to examine if that was the pouch. Namboori took it in his hands and looked carefully. Surprised, he looked at the lady’s face and said that was his pouch.

Even the priest was curious as to how it happened to be in his wife’s possession. The lady narrated the entire story as was in her memory. That day when the lady went to the temple pond for a bath she had decided to get some cow-dung while returning home. After bathing in the pond when she got on to the bank, she saw the cowdung lying there and picking it up with her, she returned home. At night when she mixed up the cowdung with water for spreading at the courtyard she noticed a cloth bag with a pouch in it. When she opened, she realized it was a pouch with lot of fund inside and so she kept it safely.

She wanted to tell her husband about it; but on a second thought decided to see if the owner of the bag returned. Same night though she went to the temple all other devotees had gone . After few days the poor lady totally forgot about the entire incidence

Hearing this, Namboori connected the probabilities of events that might have happened. With a hungry stomach, in his hurry to finish his bath, he did not think of the possibility of his bag, placed near his clothes getting hidden under cow dung. The moment it struck him that his bag was lost he lost his mental balance. He ran to the temple and thought of inquiring with the public. Meanwhile the lady must have gone to the pond. That night without halting there, he had proceeded on his journey.

Whatever it may be, Namboori was extremely thrilled. With folded hands he went near the Brahmin lady and placing both his hands on her head, with all his sensory powers focussed, he prayed this way from the depth of his heart. "May this family be blessed with a male child by next year. Let the son of the most honorable mother who preserved the brahminic values, be accredited with name and fame all over the country and be remembered throughout, by all."

Next morning Namboori took leave of the couple. Like a boon, next year a son was born to them. Need it be told that was Kunjan? It is unforgettable that as blessed by Namboori, when days passed by, little Kunjan matured enough to be known as Kunjan Nambiar, stepping on to the hights of fame

- Translation by N Lakshmi

Kunjan Nambyar

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Last Updated: December 11, 1998