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Last Updated Sunday August 20 2017 07:51 AM IST

Name says it all: when a sweet peddler, tired postman and historian meet up

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Mohan Kumar

Kochi: Mohan Kumar does not find bus rides amusing anymore. If he wants to buy a ticket to Chakkaraparambu, the ticket collector is perplexed. And he does not want to describe his destination as “Holiday Inn” after the popular hotel that has come to lend its name to the locality.

P P Mohan Kumar aka Vennala Mohan has taken it as a mission to pass on the original names of the localities to the next generation though a book. “It’s a shame that establishments’ names are replacing the original names that bear history within them,” he said.

Chakkaraparambu, for instance, owes its sweet-sounding name to a woman who sold ‘chakkara’ (jaggery) in the area. Mohan wants to record the interesting tales behind the place names to encourage people to use them more often.

The historian in Mohan was pained when the original names of places started vanishing even from the name boards of buses. The book he is working on will record the anecdotes related to the origin of names.

“This book will tell the reader the origin of all place names in Kochi. If we do not tell the next generation of these names, we will lose them forever,” Mohan said.

Mohan is inspired by explorers of place names. “This college student was the butt of jokes because of the village he came from, Vallavante Nadu. Fed up with the taunts, he dug up a little and found out that the village was originally called the more agreeable Sree Vallabhante Nadu.”

He recounts the history of a curious name called Anjalpuraveli near his home at Vennala. “Post offices were called ‘Anjal pura’ earlier. The postman, called ‘anjalottakaran’ would rest at a place after his daily run. That place came to be called Anjalpuraveli,” he said.

He knows he will have to do a lot of explaining to convey the name’s meaning to the present generation.

Mohan has been rifling through historical records and talking to elders in his quest to explain the tales behind the names of places. Mohan has written 23 books, worked for several dailies in Kerala and Lakshadweep and dubbed for a slew of movies, including Bahubali 2.

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