Champazendy is a village twelve miles to
the northeast of Tiruvanantapura. Coconut palms grow there in plenty. Palm leaves are used
to cover the roofs of houses. The place is rich in vegetation. The jack and the mango
trees grow in a undance. There was a farmer's family called 'Vyallvaram' in the village.
The family belonged to the Ezhava sect. Madan Asan was the head of the family. Kutti Amma
was his wife. To this couple a male child was born on the twentieth of August in 1854. It
was named 'Nanu' (which means Narayana).
Madan was not only a farmer. He was an Asan too. Asan means 'Acharyan' a
teacher. He knew Samskrita (Sanskrit), and had studied Astrology and Ayurveda. The people
of the village highly respected him. He used to help the rustics by advising them on many
matters. His dress was simple. He wore a piece to wrap round the waist, and a piece to
cover the upper part of the body. He carried with him a palm- leaf umbrella, whenever he
left home. That was the custom in those days in Kerala.
As Madan was learned in Samskrita, he knew well the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, our
great epics. He used to give talks on them in simple language once a week, sitting in the
verandah of his house. The people of the village used to gather and listen to him with
great interest. Nanu too would listen with interest. Some times when Madan was not
present, he had to give the talks himself.
Nanu's mother was true to her name 'Kutti' - i.e., a child without a blemish. She was
intelligent and full of kindness. She was ever calm in her work.