This is a new series where I will try and ‘recollect’ some images from my childhood… This one is of the soothsayer, whom we called the ‘kudu-kudu-paandi man’. One look at him and children were never the same again… They happily drank their milk, ate their food, finished their homework and most important of all, listened to their parents. They were travelling fortune-tellers from Tamil Nadu who used to look at your face and read your fortune or say what’s in store. They entered the street with their little hand-drum singing in their hoarse and frightening voices, ‘Nalla Kaalam Varagirudhu… (The good times are coming!). We used to say that these nomadic people crossed into Kerala from Tamil Nadu just to terrorise little children. But jokes apart, I remember my grandmother treating a few of them with respect. At the end of the fortune-telling, they were given some rice or a 50-paise coin…

Thanks to my friend Sivaram, a brilliant photographer who sent me this picture of the ‘kudu-kudu-paandi-man’. Sivaram freelances for Reuters and other major publications in India. You can check out his work at


4 thoughts on “Images from my childhood – 1

  1. My mom afraid of Kudu-Kudu-Paandi, i still remember whenever he comes my mom used lock and key the front door ha ha. Hey thanks for using my picture and for the photo credit.


  2. hopped over from sindhu’s, and this one caught my eye. cos the guy who does the round in my colony in madras, has been doing so for decades… tho i cursed him at every opportunity for his bad timing (2pm on a Sunday when I am trying to nap), this pic brought back all those memories. almost miss him… my guy also had a cow in tow.

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