I happened to see Shif's latest post in her blog about her visit to calicut. Never before has the pang of nostalgia struck me such a force.
Do i hear a why?
Well, here's why...
In this big new era of 'nuclearisation' and independent living, the one factor conveniently forgotten by everyone is 'The joy of togetherness,of being one big family'.
These days,for me,being homesick means missing my home and folks at Trivandrum. But, until around 3 years ago, homesick meant, missing the big cool home "Jaya" at Kalliaserry,Kannur. The one lovingly built and nurtured by my grandfather, with the large courtyard around it, the uncountable varieties of trees and plants around. I always used to claim, that even in a famine, the only thing which we might miss at this house is probably milk [since we never had any cows in the house!].But with a garden rich in mangoes, coconuts, pepper, pineapples, chikku,jackfruits,curry leaves, varieties of spinach and chillies, bittergourd, pappaya..and god knows what else, the place was a heaven for living! As kids, our entire summer holidays were spent under the mango tree, waiting to catch every ripe mango falling off it.But this very rarely happened, since we would have already clambered up the tree and pulled off any fruit which looked edible. Nothing beats the fun of climbing up a mango tree,arms laden with salt, red chilli powder mixed with a little coconut oil and picking out the first mango in your reach and enjoying the delicious combination ! [Damn..i wish i never grew up !].
But no,this is not the house which first came into my mind when i saw the pictures in shif's blog. It was my ancesteral house,Tharavadu, which came rushing into my memory. The house where my great grandmother was born and bought up. The place where my grandmother and her siblings grew up. The house was witness to my mother and her sibling's growing years too. Sad to say, my generation was just passing visitors to the house.
A lovely old house,more than 90 years old, built in the traditional kerala style, with not even water connections.A big huge 'kolam' [pond] and the crackling old well was the only means of water supply here.The ladies of the house kept themselves fit by drawing water day in and day out.As kids, we always used to run away and hide since we dint want to do that tedious chore! The 'Chikku' tree in the front of the house had been such a source of joy in the blazing summer heat. The sacred 'Tulsi' always looked so pious in the evenings when the lamps were lit.One could not even see any house anywhere in the vicinity [though, this changed with the effect of 'development'!].It was pitch dark once twilight set in. That is the only time when we kids sit around the elders (scared by tales of ghosts and spirits roaming in and around the house!).Electricity had been a luxury there and it was always one small yellow bulb giving out a tiny bit of glow around the house.
Dusk was the time when old tales sprang up and everyone used to go into peels of laughter,struck with the memories of an era which had gone by. We used to enjoy listening to tales of the heroic and romantic [;)] deeds of our grand-uncles and aunts and our parents! They all had memories attached to each and every day of their growing years and the house was a witness to all of them. The house had stood by to see the cycle of life go by, generations after generations.
In my eyes, my mother had always been the calm,loving,gentle lady i see everyday.But these dusk time stories reminded me that she had once been a little girl too..a little girl who used to do more antics than i did [And i always used these stories as references for my defence in the later days ;)!]
The weirdest thing about the house was that every single room had a particular name - 'Kottalakam','vadakemuri' and so forth.Till date i have no clue which room is which. I always fumbled my way around the house!The puja room was an assortment of pictures of gods and godesses and ancestors and huge lamps and 'basmam'(holy ash).My great-great-grandfather had been a renowed astrologer in those days and the puja room also had his books and 'Ezhuthu ola' [Palm leaves] and other artifacts from his era.The entire house had a musty smell.The old creaking wooden steps leading to the top floor always spooked me out every time. The house was always abuzz with the voices of the people and the rattling of vessels and the screams of the little ones. There was no television or phone to eat away into the precious time, which was used for catching up on the one year that had gone by.
The house had been a witness to a golden era in the history of our family.
That day had been the last day anyone in our family would be stepping foot in that house again.After the house had been ripped away of each and every bit of memory of the MK family, i turned to have one last glance at the house which had given me so many fond memories and i could hear the winds whisper
Remember to forget me …………………………………………...