The topics veer around to the war in Europe or the feasibility of exploration of moon, Every body has a go at it. The Karanam garu is itching, with a sneer around his lips, to have his last word.And the Lord Raya not to be outdone , would declare pompously that if only one of the knights that populated his ancestors were to be alive today, all these skirmishes would have been won in no time, by him. The Priest would then interject elaborately about the way the ancestors used to apply the green extract of the magical leaves of a certain exotic plant, to their feet in the morning .Then they would stand with their hands outstretched and, “swoosh ! ” , they would fly off to the Himalayas and from there, on to the moon and around it and, ‘woosh’ they would swoop down to the earth before it was dusk.
On the second porch on the other side of the steps, there is an earnest game of rummy underway.. At other exciting times, there would be a fierce battle between the trained cockerel sent in by a prince from the east, and the one rased by The Raya, which people from all across would jostle around to watch. And then the fight of the kauzu cocks ( wild fowls) . The Raya was an expert connoisseur of good kauzus. And when it was time for the Kauzu fight, the entire populace would swarms avidly there to watch. Some urchins make bold and climb the steps and try to grab a vantage location to watch, but the elders drive them away..
When it is night at last, it is the turn of the porch of Big Sastry garu to grab the lime light. On the yard in front of the porch, there is recounting of the inspiring tales from mythology.
While the porches of the Karanam and munsif served the mundane daily life of the villagers, The Fort Street Porch devoted itself as a club and venue for festivities . Sastriji’s porch provided a venue for discourses on issues of right and wrong conduct as also for contemplation about the other far off world.
There were minor porches like that of Danaiah the Tailor, where his machine used to make busy noises.
Then there was the porch of the priest. The-hard-of-hearing Subbaiah used to frequent it to get the news paper read to him by the priest, it’s debatable whether he could grasp it or not. There were a few other porches, famous or notorious in their own way.
But in the recent road widening effort most of them, alas, have got shrivelled.
A few of them metamorphosed into rooms. For instance the one at the priest’s, — the sewing machine of Danaiah inhabits the room now.
Times have worsened for The Raya . His Highness had to leave for distant pastures and his son managed to secure a job in the city and he lives there now.. The roof of the mansion has caved in. But beautifully sculpted columns remain still. Not just The Big Bullock, but every Dick and Harry talks noisily while going that way these days.
The Karanam has grown old. but there are other reasons too for his stoop. He squats these days on his porch like a huge tent that has collapsed. No official business gets transacted there, these days.
Big Sastry garu having expired and his son having gone away on getting a job somewhere , the Board has acquired the house.The porch is rebuilt now into a few class rooms.
The Munsif’s front porch is still busy, but now it is election hustle and party bustle, there.