Special feature by: Jaya Ramesh, Oman
Photographs by: R.K. Bhat, Mangalore
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May 7, 2007: In India, since time immemorial, FAMILY has always been the base for shaping one's individuality. The close bonding with family members, Reverence, Respect and Responsibility the three R's towards parents and elders all these sparkling gems are inherent in Indian society. In turn, these values strengthen the children or the next generation and the next. The family provides a stable and love filled backdrop in that most artful and artistic film called LIFE. Children imbibe these values and cherish them long after they fly away from the nest and habitat and establish families of their own.
The true essence of this perception pervades completely in the Mulki Kolnadu Pade Family who today live up to the adage 'The family that meets together stays together.' The roots of this family can be traced back to early 1800 or late 1700. Today, they are scattered all over the globe yet the majority of them make it a point to meet once a year without fail, at an appointed time and place.
The Family at the 2007 Meet
Glimpse into the Rich Past and Lineage of Pademane
In the era when feudalism existed in Mangalore, the venerable Nitte Guthu Bernu Adyanthaya (17901875) and his wife Kakwa Guthu Ammu Shedthi were the feudal lords of vast tracts of land in the area. Their son Shankara Shetty (18201890) married Thangi Shedthi, the matriarch of Kolnad Pade. This family now has 568 members spread over different continents. By and large, 350 members, if not all, attend the family meet every year.
The Kolnadu Pade House belongs to a distinct Bunt family of Dakshina Kannada. Bunts are a distinct race of South Kanara, originally landlords. In the early past they were warriors (Yodharu). It is probably this strong gene that has been inherited by all the generations of the Pademane family and today they are able to face the toughest challenges in life. The acquisition of exemplary leadership traits has boosted their spirit of forging ahead.
First Pade Meet
The concept of a family association was mooted way back in 1963 and the first family get together of the Pademane family was held on May 17, 1964 at Kubevoor Doddamane. One hundred members of this family congregated under one roof on that day and they vowed to meet each other at least once a year. And the tradition continues.
The Need for this Meet
The family members say they "felt the need for each other to know the other family stalwarts in the family." From here, there evinced a need of having a close knit bond among themselves so that there was a binding force among the rapidly expanding Family Tree'. They realized that it was possible only if each one met the other at least once in a year at a common place, particularly in the ancient family house.
The family members have a reason for looking forward to their family meet every year. They say "These events help the younger generation, who are otherwise confined to their mechanical lifestyles in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Dubai, New York etc, to rediscover and inherit their ancient traditions and customs, imbibe rich and noble human values and understand the families rituals and beliefs."
Apart from the ancestral home in Mulki, the Pademane Meets have also been held in other places in order to suit the convenience of the family members. One meet was held in a resort in Mumbai, once at an estate in Madikeri and three times in Bangalore.
It is said that many Bunt families have been so impressed with the yearly family meets of the Pademane family that they have also held similar family meets but have been unable to keep them going.
The Oldest Couple in the family - Nagaveni and Mohandas Malli
The Meet in 1998
The year 1998 marked a special year in the calendar of the Pademane family. The 70th Wedding Anniversary of their nonagenarian Yejamana and the President of the Family Association, 90 year old Shri Shankar Shetty. A flashback into the life of this couple shows that on May 4th, 1928, a young lad Shankar Shetty of Pademane family was wedded to Bhavani of Kakwa Guthu family, while his niece Shanta of Pademane family tied the marital knot with Sanjeeva Bhandary, Bhavani's uncle.
The members of Pademane Association thought it befitting to celebrate the 70th Wedding Anniversary of Shankar Shetty and Bhavani Shetty. Around 350 family members who attended were transported to a different world, reenacting the wedding ceremony of the couple. It had all the traditional flavours like Dibbana, exchange of varmalas etc.
The Oldest Member of the family - Mrs. Sarojini Shetty, wife of the first President of the Family Association
Shining Stars of the Pademane Family
The Pademane family are rightfully proud to possess a battalion of high successful industrialists, professionals and public servants in their mother country and abroad. Amongst these distinguished persons are:
Dr. N. Shridhar Shetty - President of the All India Dental Association and winner of Dr. B.C. Roy Award for teaching. He is presently the Principal of A.B. Shetty Dental College, Mangalore.
Mrs. Usha Hegde - an entrepreneur who has specialized in landscaping and floriculture.
Reshma Shetty - an upcoming star in the Ad world who mooted the idea of the Model's Training Institute in India.
Pallavi Shetty - a swimming prodigy who represented India at the Seoul Olympics at the age of 13 and won the coveted Shivaji Chatrapathi Award for swimming.
Group Captain Dinesh Chandra Bhandary (Retd) - an IAF officer who won the gallantry award of 'Virachakra' during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
Dr. Tharanath Shetty An erudite scholar who is a Professor at the Boston University.
Mr. Jayantha Rai of Hubli and Mr. Ajith Rai of Mumbai renowned social workers.
Kiri Rai is a State Junior Tennis Champ at hardly 11 years of age.
Added to this, they also have an accomplished dancer who now runs an ethnic eatery and provides the foreign tourists a feast of India food and local culture.
The Family Directory
Yes, strange as it may sound, the family has its own directory. In fact, the Pademane Family had a directory long before the Bunts Sangha compiled theirs. The family members say there is a healthy competition even for sponsorships and the directory is shaping better and better. Every member of this family is registered in the directory and they each have their contact numbers, addresses, email ids and an unique code number, which when deciphered explains the lineage of that member.
The 2007 Family Meet
The Mulki Kolnadu Pademane Family covering four generations had their 45th annual meet this year on May 4th and May 5th 2007 at their ancestral home, Kubevoor Doddanemane, Mulki. An official invitation went out to all the family members. The slogan for the 2007 meet was "We will attend." The beating of the drums and blowing of Kombus symbolized this vibrant communities search for its roots. They came not only in cars but also in carts, but they came studded with golden hearts, meeting the new additions and renewing the existing contacts of all the members. As one of the senior members of the family said "It is the past that has shaped the present and it is the present which shapes our future."
An account of the two days program is given below by Natasha, one of the younger members of this unique family.
Our Family Meet By Natasha
The 45th annual Mulky Kolnadu Pade family meet was held on the 4th and the 5th of May this year at Kubevoor Doddamane in Mulky. The reunion had an enthusiastic turnout with 260 people in attendance a record number for the meet which our family has maintained annually for the last 44 consecutive years. (And one which the attending members have vowed to break in 2008.)
As per tradition, there was a costume theme for the first day Vamps and Villains everyone was encouraged to dress up in their villainous best but only a handful sportingly did so. After brief introductions on stage by every member of the family, entertainment by the Mumbai members commenced. Some of the highlights of the evening were the slokas recited by two of the youngest members of our family, dance performances by some very talented children and a very entertaining skit put up by the Mumbai chapter. Rayna Shetty put all the older kids to shame with her impressive knowledge of the family tree. The evening ended with a delicious Mangalorean dinner and everyone left soon after to wake up early the next day.
The 2nd day of the family meet started with breakfast first, followed by a group photo of all the attending members and shortly afterwards by games for all ages. The games were extremely innovative and everyone willy nilly got involved. The prospect of winning a large lottery ensured that even those who didn't actively participate came forward to cheer for their team members. Games were followed by lunch, which was vegetarian as per tradition.
Post lunch, as usual was a game of Tambola. And the annual general body meeting (along with tea) woke up everyone who were used to their afternoon siestas. Entertainment for the second day was provided by the Bangalore and Mangalore chapters. The response was very enthusiastic and the creativity deserves special mention. There were dances, songs and skits performed by a bunch of very talented people (from hula hoop dancers to older but equally dynamic actors) and considering how little time everyone had to practice, they deserved that much more appreciation. As our compere for the evening, Pratham Bhandary aptly said, the Pade family would never have to worry about running short of entertainment. Drinks and dinner brought the event to a close.
As the two days of fun and togetherness came to an end there was a feeling of satisfaction as the purpose of the reunion was achieved. It is always a bit of a revelation, especially for the uninitiated because there is so much bonding, love and warmth. Speaking for the younger generation, we have certainly learnt something valuable and will proudly keep the tradition alive for years to come.
The Invitation for the 2007 Family Meet
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