I knew that my great grandfather had come from the coast of Kerala, but Kerala is a long state with almost 600km of shoreline, that’s like the distance from England’s south coast to the Scottish border, so I needed to narrow down the possibilities a bit.
I turned to Google.
I tapped in the words Rayiru Kerala.
To follow this story from the beginning, click here to start at part 1. The parts are short so it will take you no time at all to catch up.
The Google search four years ago only brought up a couple of pages.
The first hit detailed an inner-family land dispute that existed over many decades and involved rent on a property being paid in 50 coconut leaves to a Rayiru Kurup (remember that Kurup was the occupational title of my great grandfather). The text was full of legal jargon specific to India and also the era in which the dispute began, so I was unable to clearly understand the ins and outs. Also, it failed to mention a specific location in Kerala. I moved on.
The only other search results told of the sad death by car accident of three male students from a school of technology in Calicut, one of whom bore the family name Rayiru.
That search was four years ago and coincided with a time of transition in my life. Not long after, I left England for Spain for a work opportunity and then life took over, as it tends to do, and all thoughts of my India search were put on the back burner. Occasionally I would lie in bed and do a late night Google search but it was never deep and never resulted in any revelations.
Then one night last year (and now living and working in France, having left Spain) I found myself once again tapping the words ‘Rayiru Kerala’ into Google.
There were now a few more hits.
The first new one was a police document showing all of the arrests on a particular day in August 2015. I’m not going to post it here out of respect to the people named on it, but one of those arrested was a 30-year old with the family name Rayiru. Could we be related? His home was listed as Muthavana, a tiny village or hamlet that along with a few other tiny villages forms part of a ‘taluk’ called Thodannur.
Thodannur forms part of Kozhikode District. Kozhikode itself, which is also commonly known as Calicut, is the largest city in Kerala and sits in the north of the state. Kozhikode District includes the city as well as the area of towns and villages surrounding it.
Next up I found a list of deceased people who were to be removed from the 2016 electoral roll in the Kannur District. The list is seven pages long and includes on the fourth page a 92-year old man with the name Rayiru.
Kannur is the next district up from Kozhikode.
At first I wasn’t exactly sure what ‘expired voters’ meant, but then I noticed the web address of the document – http://www.ceo.kerala.gov.in/pdf/duplielectors/AC009_DEAD.pdf
Not very subtle, is it?
Next I came across a list of people who had been assigned land in a village called Kallar, in the taluk of Hosdurg. Hosdurg is in the Kasaragod District, the next one up from Kannur District.
The document is 16 pages long, and on the very last one a K. Rayiru Nair is listed. Remember from part 4 of this story that Nair was my great grandfather’s caste, so this makes sense.
Is this man a distant relative of mine? And does the K stand for Krishna, just like my grandfather after whom I am named?
Finally I came across a pension claim for a lady with either a father or a husband named Rayiru, in a village called Valayam. Valayam is in the Kozhikode District.
It now seems pretty safe to assume that my great grandfather Rama Rayiru came from the north of Kerala. A quick look at the map of the state shows the three districts that this search has brought up – Kozhikode District, Kannur District and Kasaragod District – all sitting in a line up on the northern coastline.
No search results have brought up any connection to anywhere south of Kozhikode.
Next I would have to go deeper into the search, checking all of the villages and taluks mentioned, as well as the surrounding areas. I would also try to get in touch with people living in those areas, with the help of social media, to see if anyone could help me in my quest for information.
There are now only two weeks until I fly to India. Will I be able to find and meet any distant relatives whilst there? Subscribe to this blog to be kept up to date with all developments on this story.