Chronicles of peepi-amba!

kole-basava-kalyana-samithi-250x250A lazy Sunday quiet mornings in Bengalooru during early 2000. The newspapers are the biggest entertainment on Sunday with stalwarts writing columns and Meghana with her grandfather discuss the ongoing events in nation. The clock strikes 10, there it starts ‘Naavaduva nudiye Kannada nudi’ (popular Kannada song). That’s it peepi – amba is sighted 🙂 Peepi in colloquial Kannada is the term for nadaswara, amba means a cow.

Every Sunday a beautifully dressed cow with balloons, to satin tapes with equally bad dressed man playing wonderful tunes on the nadaswara. The old man used to visit the houses specifically with kids, play their request. I had asked from raajkumar songs to bhimsen joshi to m s subbalaksmi to sometimes Popeye the sailor man. I remember Ajji saying ‘this is kole basava, which says yes to everything’. For everything I asked basava nodded his head, which was very surprising for me. Bengalooru at that time had ample space for this culture to entertain these musicians on a Sunday, on festivals they used to bring the dhol and any song requested would be played. Growing up I realized with learning complexity of music, its very difficult to bring up swaras for a song and play so impromptu. These peepi uncles (term for the one who plays naadaswara) played it wonderful. There was ample respect for the musician and to the cow. I learnt my first lesson of determination of cattle’s age by counting the teeth there, for a city bred girl like me I could only see cows shitting at public places and probably never knew the importance of it in our lives. Slowly the cow lost its charm, asking as to why came an answer that not many were interested to support this.

One fine day only peepi sound was heard, indicating that amba was sold to meet the ends! Months later even peepi sound became irritant to neighbors and last heard the song ‘neenelli nadeve doora’. Identifying the songs, treating the animals well, having a good conversation with an elderly person and emptying the whole stack of bananas to the amba was sunday’s plan. ‘Saha jeevana saha baalve’ is what this teaches,Thaatha aptly said. Now Sunday mornings 10.00AM is just a lazy morning reminiscent of the good old days!

By the way, do you guys still hear ‘Peepi – Amba ‘ in Bengalooru ? What’s your story ?

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