Vennela is a Telugu word, which means ‘moonlight’ in English. Raatri is a borrowed word from Sanskrit, which means ‘night’ in English. Raatrulu is its plural form in Telugu. Both these words put together, Vennela raatrulu means ‘moonlight nights’.
Few years ago, in a village, on a full moon night, a grand old woman of 80 years or so, was talking to her grand daughter of 8 years or so.
“My little child, these moonlight nights are nothing but an arrangement, the Gods and Goddesses have made for themselves, to come down to earth once in a month, roam for a while looking at the beauty of the earth and go back to the Heavens above again!”
“Oh, really!” exclaimed the child and said “but, grandmother, why once in a month? Can’t they come down every night so that we have moon light every night?”
Grandmother felt happy for the innocent enquiry, smiled and said, “No child, it can not be like that, there should be darkness also.”
“I am afraid of darkness, grandmother,” said the child.
“It’s not only you, dear one, each one of us, for that matter. When we are afraid we pray so that Gods listen to our prayers and save us,” said the grandmother.
“Is it really so?” enquired the child.
“Yes, my dear one, haven’t they listened to my prayers and sent you, my little goddess, to save us!” said the grandmother. The metaphor worked. The child felt as if the entire moonlight on that night was showering on her. She flung her little hands around the neck of her grandmother, hugged and swung playfully.
Years passed. The little child grew up, married to a handsome man and had a son.
On a full moon night, showing the feebly looking moon in the city sky through the empty space between their apartment and the other one standing beside theirs, the mother tried the same metaphor on her son.
The son retorted saying, “No, you are telling lies. The moonlight is nothing but the sunlight reflected from the moon onto earth. Mom, you too should know that.”
The mother found herself dumbstruck. The realization came to her later that a slice of innocence was needed for old metaphors to work and that her little son had lost it very soon.