Nandan Chacha- the brother of Nanda Baba
The youngest Chacha, Nandanji, is known as Malla chacha (wrestler Uncle).
Both the Taujis and Nanda Baba call him “Chote” or little one. However, both Tai ji(s), Yashoda Maiya, Rohini Ma and other Gopa- gopi(s) including Choti Chachi (his wife) call him Malla (Wrestler).
Everyone says “Bhadra is the eldest son of Malla.”
Don’t know why they say it.
Yashoda Maiya even says – “Bhadra is Mine. But as he learnt to stand, the Mahars (respected men) kept him close to them and since then he has become theirs.”
Malla Chacha, an expert wrestler
I once touched Malla Chacha and saw.
Indeed, you cannot tunnel a finger into his stomach.
His entire body, like a tightened rope, is tough and robust.
His arms and thighs seem to have been stuffed with stone balls.
Only his stomach is flat and compressed, but that too is stiff.
His hands and fingers are also tough.
Malla chacha is the commander-in-chief of all the Gopas.
Not only does he train wrestlers but he is also an expert archer.
His club and bow, both, are heavy.
I can lift his club, for that matter even his heavy dagger, but I can’t swirl it around.
Even other elderly Gopas cannot whirl his club.
I hear that it is made up of 8 metals (अष्ट धातु).
Besides, Malla chacha practices sit-ups for long hours in his wrestling arena.
To speak the truth, I am least interested in his exercises.
His apprentices keep massaging his body with oil for long hours, applying such vigor and force, that they drench themselves in their own sweat.
If he were not Malla Chacha, then that poor man would have got minced to pieces.
Malla chacha has his private barn.
His students who aspire to learn archery and wrestling keep hovering around him.
Malla Chacha- Physical Characteristics
Wheatish in complexion, of an average size with short curly hair and moustache, Malla chacha’s hair is as black as a bumble bee (Bhramar).
But he rarely gets himself massaged in oil, otherwise he is always smeared in dust and mud. His large eyes are slightly rosy-red in color, but Chacha is not the least hot-tempered or of the irritable type.
All the family members, both the Taus, Nanda Baba, Badi Chachi, all the Aunts (ताई), Yashoda Maiya and Rohini Ma address Malla Chacha with great love in their hearts, as if he were a child.
No one allows him to do any work.
Malla Chacha fears carrying Krishna
Rohini Ma says- “Malla Laalji, Atleast be merciful on your Sukumar (tender) Neelamani (A name of Krishna). Do not drag him to your wrestling arena. If Balaram wants to go, make him your disciple.”
Malla chacha says-
“Rani Bhabhi, Neelamani is so frail and tender that I fear lifting him on my lap.
Sometimes, when he sits on my shoulders, it feels as if a rose-flower were placed there.
But Balaram, right from his very birth, is the king of the mightiest wrestlers. How can I make him my disciple? Even in humor when he lays down on my wrestling ground, I am unable to separate him from the ground.”
Then I thought- “I have never seen Balaram practice sit-ups. Then, how did he become the king of wrestlers. I will inquire whether you can become a wrestler without this exercise.’
Malla Chacha says- “All of Neelamani’s brothers and friends are lean and tender like him. If there are some children of a decent body like Vishal and Varuthupa, they do not show interest in wrestling. If from now on, these kids, instead of going to graze cows, start coming to my wrestling ground for a few days, they may develop into strong wrestlers.”
Children hate wrestling
None of us wants to become a wrestler.
Indeed, we have our Balaram who is an expert wrestler already. We will all learn some wrestling tips from him. Who would like to leave Krishna’s company and go to Chacha’s arena instead?
Atula Chachi- Krishna’s favorite
Just opposite to Chacha’s tough and hard body, Atula chachi is extremely tender and delicate. She is like a blooming rose. Don’t know why people call her my mother.
But I call her Chachi.
It is Krishna who calls her ‘Ma’.
In fact, Krishna’s Chachi keeps lifting Him on her lap and holding him tight in her embrace. Then she says- “Neelamani is Mine.”
At this, Maiya laughs and says- “Somehow, he has become yours today. Well, He is yours any day. When he spoke for the very first time he called you “Ma”. Can’t tell how much milk he has feasted from your affectionate hold.
Immediately Chachi says- “Bhadra and tok drink your milk. I will keep Neelamani to myself.”
Choti Chachi- The favorite of Yashoda Maiya
Don’t know when Chachi leaves for home. From morning to evening she keeps hovering around Maiya. I have heard from gopis that during the day, even if she goes to her place for some while and stays back, Maiya would call for her by sending a maid.
Then Yashoda Maiya would start complaining-
“Atula, what did you do after going there?” Are your hands fit for hard-labor? If your elder brother-in-law (Jeth) learns that you were exerting yourself, he will say so many things to me. Do you want to see me getting scolded?”
Now, Chachi’s reply was also not inappropriate- “Jiji (Sister), you do not allow me to serve you in any manner. If I serve your Malla Devar a little, then too you scold me. Finally, Gopa women are not supposed to sit like idols for worship.
Maiya laughs- “If not for worship, then they are certainly made for love. My celestial goddess is meant to receive lots of love and affection. She is not made for labour. Indeed, you should obey me.”
Maiya endears Choti chachi so greatly. Even her daughters-in-law do not receive such a degree of affection.
In fact, our Maiya keeps Choti Chachi adorned like a newly-wedded bride. She cannot see the mehandi of her hands and the red beauty paste of her feet fade off.
Choti Chachi’s embarrassment
When Yashoda Maiya, placing her in front of her, starts braiding her hair with decorations, Chachi many a times entreats her- “Jiji (sister), our daughters-in-law have arrived now.”
On seeing Maiya tie flowers in Chachi’s hair, we laugh and clap in excitement.
At such times, Chachi’s face turns red in shame. Her pink lotus-like face was worth a look, at that time.
Nevertheless, Maiya would affectionately nudge her and say-
“The daughters-in-law are all now sheer innocent baby girls.
Even babies are adorned, but if they must be beatified, it should be as my Devarani has now been adorned.
Certainly, I won’t let you become an old woman at such a young age.
Besides, we all have wonderfully played the role of a mother-in-law.”
Maiya neither allows Choti Chachi to churn butter, nor heat the milk.
However, if Choti Chachi becomes very restless, she may adorn Maiya’s hair.
In fact, her art of flower braiding is so unparalleled that her daughters-in-law learn this art from her with great eagerness.
Thanks for reading!